Cherry Ngan: 'I've never liked handsome guys'
Hong Kong actress says she is attracted to actor boyfriend's unpretentiousness
Go ahead and tell it to Cherry Ngan's face that her boyfriend is "ugly".
The 22-year-old Hong Kong actress is aware that her beau, portly Hong Kong actor Michael Ning, 36, ranks low in the looks department.
But the sweetie pie starlet does not mind it one bit.
When asked if she gets upset by criticism over Ning's physical appearance, Ngan - who was in town yesterday to promote her new coming-of-age romantic comedy At Cafe 6 - replied nonchalantly in Mandarin: "No, it's okay, I've never liked handsome guys anyway."
Last month, Hong Kong paparazzi spotted the couple on a date in Kowloon City.
Ngan, whose breakout role was in street dancing drama The Way We Dance (2013), confirmed the rumours soon after by sharing a photo of them on Instagram.
Local audiences might recognise Ning from crime thriller Port Of Call, which opened in cinemas here in January.
The theatre veteran won critical acclaim for his role as a murderer and even won Best Supporting Actor awards at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards.
In a group interview with local media, Ngan said that although she was drawn to Ning's talent, it was not his biggest appeal.
"Of course I admire his acting, but we wouldn't be together just because of that. We'd just be actors who respect each other," she said.
"I like him because he's very 'organic'. You can tell it by simple gestures... There is nothing artificial about him."
Their 14-year age gap also poses no problem to Ngan.
"It's very natural between us... I think there is a little boy in every man's heart," she said with a grin.
At Cafe 6, which is directed by Taiwanese novelist-turned-director Neal Wu, is about playful high school boys Minlu (Dong Zijian) and Bozhi (Austin Lin), who fall in love with their classmates Xinrui (Ngan) and Xinyi (Ouyang Nini).
IN SCHOOL: Hong Kong actress Cherry Ngan and Chinese actor Dong Zijian are the stars of Taiwanese teenage flick At Cafe 6. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
The movie opens here on Thursday.
At Cafe 6 is the latest Taiwanese teen flick in the vein of box-office hits You Are The Apple Of My Eye (2011) and Our Times (2015).
FIRST-TIMER: Taiwanese novelist-turned-director Neal Wu did not initially intend for the leads of At Cafe 6 to be non-Taiwanese. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
It has a kissing scene between Chinese actor Dong and Ngan, which Ngan said she has "already informed" Ning of.
"If I'm doing any intimate scenes in my movies, I will let him know beforehand," said Ngan.
"Likewise, if he's doing such scenes, he'll inform me too. It's not a must, but I know he will."
When asked if she felt weird playing a schoolgirl in the throes of puppy love - since her real-life romance is of a more mature nature - Ngan laughed.
"Of course not. After all, I was once a teenager. And, hey, I'm still young now," she said.
Lead stars are from Beijing and Hong Kong
Casting non-Taiwanese actors as Taiwanese students in a Taiwanese high school romantic comedy was not first-time film-maker Neal Wu's initial intention.
The 39-year-old Taiwanese adapted At Cafe 6's screenplay from his own 2007 novel of the same name.
He told reporters during an interview yesterday: "At Cafe 6 started out as a 'pure' Taiwanese movie in our planning stage. My co-investor and I are both Taiwanese, but unfortunately, we did not have enough money to do the film."
At Cafe 6 reportedly cost TW$100 million (S$4 million) to make.
"Eventually, we found a Chinese investor to come on board. That meant casting-wise, we had to (cast our net wider). It wasn't a deliberate move to pander to the Chinese market."
He added: "I'm actually very thankful for these practical decisions. If not, I would never have discovered good actors such as Dong Zijian and Cherry Ngan. They carried their roles extremely well."
Ngan is a native Hong Konger while lead actor Dong is from Beijing. They were instructed to speak with their original accents during filming.
"It was only during post-production that we got Zijian and Cherry into the studio to dub over their dialogue," he said.
"During the dubbing, I had them tweak their accents to sound more Taiwanese."