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Sun, Jul 04, 2010
The New Paper
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‘Give me chance to start afresh’

I’M JUST an ordinary girl. Please give me the opportunity to start anew.

This is Gillian Chung’s plea to her detractors, as well as anyone who still cannot let go of her infamous sex photo scandal.

After raunchy nude pictures of the 29-year-old Hong Kong singer-actress and male celebrity Edison Chen were leaked online in January 2008, a disgraced Chung had stayed out of the public eye.

She made her comeback to the entertainment scene this year.

In April, she reunited with Charlene Choi, the other half of Cantopop group Twins, and the duo held a series of concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

Now, she’s back with her latest film, the madcap comedy The Fantastic Water Babes.

It’s Chung’s second leading role on the big screen following her scandal. Her first was the romantic drama Ex, which has not been screened here.

The Fantastic Water Babes opens in Singapore on July 15.

Chung told The New Paper in an interview from Hong Kong: “Even if someone is just an ordinary person, you’d give him or her a chance, right?

“I’m just an ordinary girl too. I really hope everyone will give me an opportunity to start anew.”

Her comeback has not been smooth sailing.

Scenes cut

According to Xinhua News, in mid-May, Chung, the movie’s director Jeffrey Lau, co-stars Alex Fong and Stephen Fung had flown to Changsha city in mainland China to appear on Hunan Television’s variety programme Happy Camp.

But when that particular episode was aired last week, all her scenes were cut.
Every mention of her nickname (“Ah Gill”) by Lau and Fong was also removed.

Asked about this, Chung said: “I’m an actress and I know I just want to do my job well. No matter what, I will give it all to promote The Fantastic Water Babes, a film which I hope can make people laugh and lift their spirits.”

Shot in 2007, the movie was initially scheduled for release in theatres in 2008.
But when the scandal made headlines, distributors held back its release date indefinitely.

“My friends and supporters have been waiting for this movie for a long time,” Chung said.

“For a while, I didn’t know if it was going to be screened at all, I’m so glad people can watch it now.”

In The Fantastic Water Babes, she plays a feisty girl determined to beat her arch rival in love at a swimming competition.

Wacky plot

With the aid of three wacky pals, she kidnaps swimming champion Chi (Alex Fong) and demands that he teaches her how to swim.

Fong, 30, is a former national swimmer. At the peak of his sporting career, he represented Hong Kong at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Chung said of her handsome and tanned co-star: “He’s like a fish – whenever he has free time, you can be sure to find him in the sea.”

The film’s main theme of everlasting love is something she could relate to.

“I didn’t use to believe that love could last forever,” said Chung, who is currently single but is rumoured to be dating Hong Kong singer Juno Mak.

“My parents divorced when I was very young and I grew up in a single-parent family (she lived with her mum). I found it impossible to be able to love someone for a lifetime.”

It was director Lau who changed her mindset.

Even though he is extremely busy with work and often has to fly overseas for shoots, he would still make time for his family and loved ones in Canada, said Chung.

“When I walk on the streets, I see elderly couples holding hands affectionately.

It’s touching that they’ve come such a long way together.

“I guess I haven’t given up on love yet.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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