Fun with ping-pong balls
HK actress Josie Ho plays mamasan in Eric Khoo's new R21 film
Hong Kong actress Josie Ho plays a bold, sexy mamasan in local director Eric Khoo's latest film In The Room but in real life, she is actually quite the opposite.
She confessed to being "a little bit shy sometimes", despite the fact that she appears in her underwear and gartered stockings for most of her scenes.
The 40-year-old was in town for the special presentation of In The Room for the 26th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) at Marina Bay Sands Theatre yesterday.
"I think this is the extent of what I would do for a movie... I wouldn't take off my clothes anymore," joked Ho, the daughter of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, during the film's panel discussion at the ArtScience Museum.
In The Room is an erotic drama, set in the fictional Singapura Hotel, consisting of six short stories taking place in the hotel's Room 27.
Ho's character Orchid trains a group of young, inexperienced striptease artists in the art of seduction, teaching them to embrace the power of their sexuality.
Her character is based on real-life Singapore stripper Rose Chan, who was famous in the 50s and 60s for wrestling pythons and bending metal bars during her shows.
"I did a lot of research on Rose for the role and found out more about her from Eric and (scriptwriter) Jonathan Lim when I came to Singapore," she said.
In a standout scene, Orchid demonstrates her feminine strength using ping-pong balls and goldfish as projectiles.
"When I read that part in the script, I laughed so hard and showed it to my husband, saying, 'Look, this is what I get to do'," Ho told M in a separate interview.
She is married to Hong Kong musician-actor Conroy Chan.
She added: "I remember when we were shooting that scene, I opened up my legs and there was a crew member throwing a ping-pong ball between them for the camera. It was so funny."
Ho admitted it was slightly nerve-wracking to show off her body on the big screen but working on In The Room was "exciting".
"This is definitely my sexiest role to date.
"I had so much fun and there was a lot of laughter on set."
The Media Development Authority (MDA) did not classify In The Room for a commercial release. While it passed the film uncut with an R21 rating for its SGIFF screening, festival films are given more leeway than commercial releases.
An MDA spokesperson said: "In consultation with the Films Consultative Panel, MDA had deemed two scenes in the movie 'In The Room' to have exceeded our classification guidelines for sexual content.
MDA informally advised the distributor that the film could be classified R21 with edits for commercial release. However, the application was subsequently withdrawn. As such, MDA has not officially classified the film for commercial release."
Khoo has said he does not plan to edit the film for commercial release.
Their parents won't be watching
STEAMY: (Above, from left) Director Eric Khoo with Josie Ho, Lawrence Wong and Choi Woo Shik. STEAMY: Lawrence Wong with Show Nishino in In The Room. PHOTOS: SHINTARO TAY , ZHAO WEI FILMS
Working with Eric Khoo definitely pushed their boundaries.
Korean actor Choi Woo Shik and Malaysian actor Lawrence Wong, who star in separate short stories in Khoo's In The Room, said working with the veteran film-maker was full of surprises.
For Choi, 25, it was when he had to film a scene where he pleasures himself.
"I thought it was going to be quite discreet when I read it in the script, but during filming, Eric wanted me to exaggerate the movements more," he told TNP with a laugh.
Wong, who has the steamiest scenes in the movie with Japanese adult film actress Show Nishino, had not expected to bare the most skin.
"Sex scenes are new to me and I didn't realise until minutes before filming I was the only actor who wore barely-there underwear for my scenes," said Wong, 33.
"The rest got to wear boxers."
Choi, who said In The Room is his first English-language film, was grateful for Khoo's relaxed attitude throughout the shoot.
"Communication was always open with Eric. If we had problems on set, we would just talk them out over a beer."
Both Choi and Wong, who are single, said their parents will not be watching them in their erotic roles.
"They haven't seen the film, and I hope it stays that way," Wong added.