updated 11 Nov 2010, 09:46
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Thu, Nov 11, 2010
The New Paper
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Hot summer Barbie
by Kwok Kar Peng

Actress Barbie Hsu had to strip in front of a gawking public and then confront her fear of swimming.

On 6 Oct, the 33-year-old Taiwanese actress-host filmed her new romantic movie, Hot Summer Days, on a Hong Kong beach with actor Nicholas Tse.

In front of many curious beachgoers and the prying eyes of the paparazzi, Barbie – more commonly known as Da S (or Big S) – stripped down to her pants and cropped halterneck top.

“I was very nervous because there were many people and I was wearing very little. I didn’t dare to leave the restroom at first,” she told FiRST.

“But I realised that if I didn’t die that day, I’d ‘die’ the next day, so I gritted my teeth and left the restroom. The people outside snapped away, but I consoled myself that that’s the life of an actress, doing things that I wouldn’t get to do normally.”

Barbie was not exaggerating when she used the word “die” to describe the filming for that scene.

In it, she had to swim out to sea after removing her clothes. The problem was, she’s hydrophobic after nearly drowning when she was 16.

The actress recalled: “It was almost winter then. I jumped into the water and it was so cold that my legs cramped up. I struggled but my friends thought I was pulling a prank and ignored me. They only realised something was wrong after I went under for too long.”

Barbie has never swum since – until she filmed the scene. The fear that she might almost drown again was also one reason why she was reluctant to leave the restroom.

Nevertheless, after her recent uneventful watery escapade, she said she might pluck up courage and consider swimming again come summer.


Barbie was in Hong Kong with directors Tony Chan and Wing Shya as well as cast members Rene Liu, Vivian Hsu, Jing Boran and Fu Xinbo last week to plug Hot Summer Days, which features five love stories that bloom under the sweltering summer heat.

In her story, she plays a mysterious and terminally-ill biker goth chick who captures the attention of an air-con repairman (Nicholas).

Debunking talk that she had snipped off her trademark long silky locks for the role,Barbie revealed that she was wearing a wig.

The movie, which opens here on 25 Feb, was filmed in last August – the hottest summer for Beijing, Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

It also stars Jacky Cheung, Daniel Wu, Duan Yihong, Angelababy and Michelle. It also features cameo appearances by Charlene Choi, Calvin Choy, Shawn Yue, Conroy Chan and Maggie Cheung (credited as only Miss Cheung in the end credits), and the voices of Joey Yung and Blackie.

The movie marks the first time Barbie is acting with Nicholas despite knowing him for 10 years. She had previously only interviewed him when he went to Taiwan to promote his music.

Her initial reservations about their compatibility disappeared because she soon realised that they had chemistry.

Though Nicholas enjoyed improvising when acting, she said that she never had to worry that he might come up with something too challenging for her.

She also admitted that she initially felt awkward about their love scenes since she’s good friends with his actress-wife, Cecilia Cheung.

But the feeling dissipated once the cameras started rolling and they were immersed in their characters.


However, it could be because of this awkwardness that Nicholas asked for a kissing scene to be removed from the script.

In an interview in Shanghai, Nicholas clarified that it was his decision, not Cecilia’s, and that it was done out of respect for her. “The director said that day that his request could have been due to his wife,” Barbie explained.

“I feel that he’s very (manly) because he gives his wife what she wants.”

Their love story ends on a bitter-sweet note and Barbie said that she loved the ending scene the most.

In it, Nicholas’ character, Ah Wei, pulls her character, Ding Dang, from the hospital and onto a motorbike to fulfil her dream of a life without an end, where she can keep riding her bike to do the things she loves.

In an interview with Hong Kong magazine Milk, Barbie said: “In the movie, the world miraculously listened to Ding Dang’s desire and the traffic lights die one by one, allowing the couple to ride on without any stops. This scene touched me deeply.”

Meanwhile, the star’s love life is riding on a happier note. She has been romantically linked to Hong Kong actor Louis Koo, her co-star in movies Connected and Forbidden City Cop: Smart Dog, since last August.

Her heart’s desire is to have a child. She believes this dream will materialise – just not now.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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