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25 November 2008, 12.30pm at Orchard Cineleisure KBox

Honoured: This is the adjective Japanese actress Chie Tanaka used when movieXclusive.com asks her how she feels being compared to Taiwanese model actress Li Chi-ling.

After all, while pundits betted that Lin would score a nomination in the Best New Performer category at the upcoming 45th Taiwan Golden Horse Awards for her performance in John Woo’s Red Cliff, it was Tanaka who surprised everyone by edging out the competition, leaving Lin empty handed.

The 27 year old actress smiles and says in Mandarin: "It’s an honour that you’d compare me with Lin Chi-ling. She is a talented person and well liked by everyone, and I think that’s a very admirable trait."

Tanaka was in Singapore to promote Cape No. 7, Taiwan's entry to compete in the 81st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It has also been nominated in nine categories at the upcoming 45th Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. From the looks of it, the prim and proper actress looks totally unlike her fiesty character in the film.

"This movie has allowed many people to know me," states the actress who has had bit roles in Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Initial D (2005) and Felix Chong and Alan Mak’s Moonlight in Tokyo (2005).

"I didn’t think I’d become popular so fast."

She adds: "I’ve also achieved a level of performance which I never knew I could achieve."

In her home country, Tanaka has always played quiet and reserved characters. In Cape No. 7, she undergoes a transformation and plays the role of a heated and outspoken Mandarin-speaking Japanese fashion model dispatched to Hengchun in Taiwan, and is assigned the difficult task of managing a hastily assembled band led by Aga (played by Van Fan). Sparks fly between the two and results in a romantic love story set against the picturesque backdrop of the small town.

This film has definitely opened doors for the pretty actress, who can expect more offers to star in movies to come knocking at her door. However, the best blessings come from her family back in Japan.

"I’m especially pleased that my parents are happy with what I’ve achieved."

Tanaka remembers how her parents initially objected her to enter showbiz because it would be tiring and difficult for someone young like her. But she pursued her dreams and eventually convinced her parents that she could take care of herself.

Without any assistance in translation, she says: "I know how parents want the best for their children so they can lead an easy life, but I’m also very thankful that they believed that I could make it in showbiz."

Her subsequent efforts in learning Mandarin also paid off, considering how popular she is after Cape No. 7 has charmed worldwide audiences.

So having tackled both introvert and extrovert roles, what would the fast rising star wish to play in her next feature film?

"Someone who can’t see or someone who has a weird personality. As long as it’s something I haven’t played before, I’d like to take up the challenge."

Click links below for more: 

"Cape No. 7" opens on 27 November and is reviewed here

Review of "Cape No. 7" Official Soundtrack

Report & Photos: John Li & Linus Tee
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