Act one

Mak­ing the leap from modelling to the sil­ver screen, 24-year-old HANNA CHAN is on the brink of star­dom. Fresh off her nom­i­na­tion for Best New Per­former at the 2018 Hong Kong Film Awards, she bares her in­ner­most thoughts and dreams

#Legend - - ICON - Pho­tog­ra­phy / Karl Lam Styling / Kieran Ho

FRESH ON THE act­ing scene and with a nom­i­na­tion for Best New Per­former at the 2018 Hong Kong Film Awards, Hanna Chan is cer­tainly mak­ing waves in the lo­cal film in­dus­try. With her quiet de­meanour and unique look, she stars in the Wil­son Yipdi­rected movie Para­dox as the 16-year-old daugh­ter of a Hong Kong po­lice­man

( played by Louis Koo). She’s im­preg­nated by her boyfriend, much to her fa­ther’s cha­grin – and he then forces her to have an abor­tion. The grief-stricken girl trav­els to Thai­land in an at­tempt to clear her head, only to be kid­napped – and it’s ul­ti­mately up to the fa­ther to try and save her. It’s un­doubt­edly a break­out role for Chan, not only for show­cas­ing her act­ing abil­i­ties, but also for build­ing her con­fi­dence and self-es­teem. Our shoot un­veils Chan as she tears back the lay­ers of her pub­lic per­sona to ex­pose the dif­fer­ent faces she wears and to re­veal what goes through her mind when she’s in char­ac­ter.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on your re­cent nom­i­na­tion at the 2018 Hong Kong Film Awards. Can you tell us a lit­tle bit about how you got the role?

Dur­ing the year of my grad­u­a­tion, there was a cast­ing call for this movie, Para­dox. I re­mem­ber very clearly that I was on a hol­i­day trip across Europe; I was in Swe­den when I got the call from the direc­tor. He had seen my pho­tos through my modelling agency. I did the au­di­tion through FaceTime and I ended up get­ting the role! To be hon­est, I wasn’t quite sure why he had an in­ter­est in me, be­cause I had no act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It wasn’t even what I was study­ing in school. But once I saw the movie come to fruition on the screen, I in­stantly fell in love with act­ing.

How do you get into char­ac­ter? Once you’re in that place, do you ever go over­board and bring that char­ac­ter home with you?

Ab­so­lutely. It’s not easy for me to sep­a­rate my­self from my char­ac­ter. But luck­ily, at this point, I haven’t had to film sev­eral movies si­mul­ta­ne­ously. If I had to do that, I might de­velop mul­ti­ple per­son­al­ity disorder. Even when the film­ing is com­plete, I still feel like that per­son is there with me. But it’s re­ally up to you whether or not you want to dwell on it or move on – just like when you’re hav­ing a bad day, it’s easy to get sucked into a vi­cious cy­cle of de­pres­sion. At that point, I tell my­self to stop think­ing about the char­ac­ter. But it’s in­evitable that a piece of them will al­ways be in­side of you, be­cause you have ex­pe­ri­enced so much to­gether.

So what were you do­ing be­fore you be­came an ac­tress?

I should start from three years ago, when I was still in univer­sity study­ing ad­ver­tis­ing de­sign. A pho­tog­ra­pher friend, Miss Bean, scouted me to be in a photo shoot. Be­fore that point, I had no in­ten­tion of modelling or be­ing in front of a cam­era at all. I was al­ways more in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing, de­sign and art; I’ve been draw­ing, pho­tograph­ing and film­ing from a young age – on an am­a­teur level, of course. But on the shoot, I en­joyed my­self, so I got signed to a modelling agency and started get­ting some work here and there.

Have you changed since you got into act­ing?

This feels so right – at this mo­ment I can’t imag­ine my­self do­ing any­thing else. It sounds ex­is­ten­tial, but if I didn’t act, the per­son you’re speak­ing to might not be here. Act­ing has raised a lot of chal­lenges that have sur­prised me. I was so sur­prised with my­self be­cause I couldn’t be­lieve I was able to push my­self so far out of my com­fort zone. If you had asked me three years ago if I would be the per­son I am now, I would have thought it im­pos­si­ble.

And have your views on the world changed?

The pro­cesses of film­ing and watch­ing it on a screen have brought such clar­ity to who I was, es­pe­cially my weak­nesses. For me, act­ing is kind of a mag­i­cal process that forces you to re­ally grow up and see things from a per­spec­tive you’ve never con­sid­ered be­fore, be­cause when you read the script, you’re peer­ing through a win­dow into another per­son’s life – fic­tion or not. You sud­denly re­alise that there are many more ways to look at the world than just your own. As an ac­tress, your method of re­search­ing for a role is to ex­am­ine ev­ery­thing around you un­der a mi­cro­scope, and ask your­self why things are and how oth­ers feel. You never know what role you might have to play in the fu­ture, so I tend to ob­serve all that I can.

What kind of weak­nesses do you mean?

Be­fore I acted, I was a timid and in­se­cure per­son – well, I still am. I’m al­ways sec­ondguess­ing my­self or sell­ing my abil­i­ties short. I was al­ways re­mind­ing my­self that I’m not a par­tic­u­larly ca­pa­ble per­son, nor am I im­por­tant. But now, I find safety in be­ing an ac­tress, be­cause you’re al­lowed to be a dif­fer­ent per­son and no­body will pass judg­ment onto a fic­tional char­ac­ter, nor say what that char­ac­ter is do­ing is “wrong”. Once I get into the char­ac­ter, I be­come her and she be­comes me, and sud­denly I am no longer in­se­cure or afraid. I feel like I’m in con­trol of ev­ery­thing and that makes me feel a great deal of safety. In the movies, how you act is kind of ex­pected – it’s scripted. If you get kid­napped, you’re go­ing to re­act the way the direc­tor tells you. But in real life, it’s not that sim­ple. Ev­ery word or ac­tion needs to be thought out in great length be­cause, un­like the movies, there is no redo or sec­ond take in life. I of­ten find the re­al­ity within a script to be even more real than life, if that makes any sense. I say that be­cause when you’re act­ing, you put all of your­self out there.

“Once I get into the char­ac­ter, I be­come her and she be­comes me, and sud­denly I am no longer in­se­cure or afraid” HANNA CHAN

On the cover: Jacket, shirt, skirt and sneak­ers _ Black Comme des Garçons, from I.T

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