updated 28 Jul 2012, 09:46
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Sat, Jun 02, 2012
The New Paper
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It's hard to be bad
by Kwok Kar Peng

Singing, dancing and joking have never been a problem for Taiwanese star Ella Chen, one third of popular pop girl group S.H.E.

Now fans can see those talents on the big screen in the new rom com Bad Girls, which opened here on Thursday.

In it, she plays gutsy high-school tomboy Ah Dan, who is skilled in gongfu, and her confrontations with bullies often result in fights.

But preparing for the action scenes nearly broke Chen's spirit.

She got a martial arts instructor to train her before filming began, and the lessons got so gruelling that she had a breakdown and cried.

In an e-mail interview with FiRST, the 30-year-old star said she performed all the action scenes herself, except for one stunt on the gymnastics vaulting horse, which was done by a national gymnast.

"Filming the fighting scenes was really difficult. It's not like dancing, where you can follow the tempo in the music. You have to time the action moves yourself," said Chen, who married Malaysian businessman Alvin Lai earlier this month.

"I also had to work closely with my sparring co-stars or there would have been injuries.

"I remember I had many NGs (no-good takes) in the scene where Ah Dan runs into the school gymnasium and crashes into a movie filming there.

"I tumbled onto a table, and after every take, the crew had to adjust the props back to the way they were. It was tough."

Chen told the Taiwanese media she insisted on not having a body double because she wanted the scenes to look realistic.

Bad Girls also stars Taiwanese actor Mike He as heart-throb Justin, who comes to Ah Dan's school to film a period romantic movie called Good Day, My Love.

Ah Dan accidentally injures the female lead and unwillingly takes over the role.

Justin and Ah Dan fall in love, but their budding romance is tested when Justin leaves suddenly.

He told FiRST in a separate e-mail interview that he had great chemistry with Chen although this is their first collaboration.

"Even though it's a comedy, both of us didn't laugh during our takes, which I think is very professional," he said.

"Before the camera rolled, the two of us joked around with each other, but when the director said 'action', we jumped into character right away."

He, 28, also told the Hong Kong media that he often "bullied" Chen off-camera.

"When I saw her having a tough time filming her scenes, I pretended to give her a leg massage, but I was actually pinching her."

In Bad Girls, Chen also breaks into an impromptu song and dance, replete with passers-by joining in.

She also got a chance to be funny, especially in the scene where Ah Dan films a scene for Good Day, My Love stealing coy glances at Justin.

Chen said that's her favourite part of the movie because everyone on set had to stifle their laughter until the camera stopped rolling.

Another scene she likes is the one filmed at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf, where Justin and Ah Dan are dressed in retro outfits for a Good Day, My Love dating scene.

Chen thought it looked like something from a Chiung Yao (a popular Taiwanese romance novelist) movie.

Kissing scene

It was also at the wharf that the two kissed in one of three kissing scenes in Bad Girls.

This is her first big screen kiss. Chen had previously declared He to be an expert at kissing.

She told FiRST: "I still feel shy when I do kissing scenes, but because the kiss is Ah Dan's first, the goal is to just go ahead and smooch."

On whether her husband is bothered by her filming intimate scenes, Chen said: "He respects my work a lot. I'm willing to take on different challenges in my performances if the requirements aren't overboard."

Chen told Hong Kong reporters she and her husband plan to start a family in two years, but if she gets pregnant before that, they would be thrilled too.

During a recent trip to Guangzhou, she told the media there life hasn't changed much after marriage.

"My husband still goes to work. We still talk on the phone every day and when there's Wi-Fi, we still FaceTime (an iPhone application that allows video calls) each other every day," said Chen.

"We still tell each other 'I love you' and 'good night' every night before we sleep. I just got married so I don't know how life will be like later. But I'm very happy and comfortable with my life now and I'm enjoying it."

Chen also said her husband usually goes along with what she wants because he knows she's an emotional person.

He rarely loses his temper and does so only when she's overly fussy.

"No matter how unhappy we are, he will always come over to soothe me. I will apologise if I'm in the wrong, but I'm too proud. I won't apologise immediately."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

Read also:

>>Joyful bride Ella Chen tears up on her big day

>>Ella Chen weds in lavish Malaysian wedding ceremony

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