Where is your favourite place to read a new script?
In bed. I am prone to emotional outburst when reading scripts, whether it be crying or hysterical laughter. I used to take myself to cafes, parks and other quaint public places to make a day of it, but I have learnt that in order for others to not think I am mad, it is best to stay within the privacy of my own walls.
What/who do you think you’ve photographed more than anything else?
My dog Nori. Before Nori, it was food.
You appeared in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, if you were to write a comic book what abilities would your heroine possess?
My heroine would be called Urbangirl. She would have the ability to eat anything without getting fat. She feels brilliant even after 3 hours sleep. She does not mind walking the dog in the rain. In fact she loves it. (Sidenote: Her dog has the superpower of not needing to poo. Ever.) She never has to exercise. She has the patience of a saint during rush hour. She is never late. She can walk in 5” heels with the grace of a swan and even stand comfortably in them all night. Oh, and she can totally handle her drink.
Lucky Man concerns a man who can control luck, other than gambling, how would you use that power?
I am not sure I would use it for anything. I think luck is related to karma or some form of universal energy. I see it as a manifestation of choices made sometime in your past. Therefore I would be scared to manipulate, abuse or drain a resource bigger than me. Interestingly, in Lucky Man, luck is portrayed as a double-edged sword – it has a dark side. If you look at the price Harry Clayton (Jimmy Nesbitt) and those close to him pay throughout the series, it makes you think twice about wanting to control your own wheel of fortune.
Would you rather have a photographic memory or read and write twice as fast?
Definitely read and write twice as fast. I am currently developing a few projects and I am such an awful procrastinator. Which is most unfortunate when my job literally involves reading and writing. I was the same when I was studying law. To make it worse, during my finals, my friends told me about this new website called Facebook. I thought I would have a look. Since then my productivity has flat lined. For this reason I am not on Twitter.
If you could pick any artist from history to be the ‘muse’ of, who would you pick?
Walt Disney. I grew up with his films and they made my childhood. Imagine being immortalised as a Disney princess. That would make my life. I would have some serious mum-cool points with my kids. Actually, people used to call me ‘Pocahontas’ when I was a child. That just goes to show how far we have come since the 90s, when American Indians would be clumped together with East Asians!
What was the last book you read?
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It is extraordinary to learn that we are not in control of the decisions that we make; our habits are. There is a great example of a fish swimming in the water, when another fish swims past and asks how the water is today. The first fish replies, “what is water?”. We can be so oblivious to the currents that carry us through life, thinking somehow we are not responsible for ourselves and that something externally greater is. In reality, our subconscious control our currents, and reading this book I realised I have some serious water purification to commence.
How many times did you move before you were 20?
3 x Shanghai
3 x Hampshire
3 x London
I think so much upheaval in my formative years has meant that I cannot stay in one place for too long. I love moving, and staying in one place frightens the bejesus out of me. I know for most people it is the opposite. But having the same view, same routine and the same floorplan for the rest of your life, how is that not terrifying?
What fictional character that you haven’t played do you relate to the most?
Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The Disney version of course, not the Hans Christian Andersen one where she loses the guy and turns into sea foam. We couldn’t afford videotapes when I was growing up, so on the rare occasions I was treated to a Blockbusters, I would always rent out the same film. I got that her father was king of their world and that he wanted her to be a certain way. But she knew there was something more to life. She wanted something different, and so did I. My parents’ focus was on academia. Mine was not. After I graduated university in a very academic field, I broke away, grew legs, and became an actress. No sea foam in sight, as yet.
You’ve appeared in films produced out of Malaysia, Bollywood, and the UK. Does any one particular category of film-goers recognize you more than others?
I haven’t been to Malaysia since that film was released in 2011 so I would not know how the reception would be if I went back. I definitely do not get recognised for it here, I don’t think British audiences are that familiar with Malaysian blockbusters…! I get recognised the most in the UK, for the work I do here. And that is the best. To be in my own country, working on homegrown shows with actors I admire, to tell the stories of normal everyday people around me, and then to be recognised for it, is one of the greatest things about my job.
If you could commission any remake or adaptation what would you pick? Who would you play?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I would play Estella. It is my favourite book. When I was reading it, I would ration myself to pages per day as I approached the end. I loved every character in it. I thought Estella was fascinating, and also her relationship with Miss Havisham and Pip. To be brought up with the sole purpose in life of breaking another’s heart – Freud would have a field day.
What’s the best way that you turn a bad day into a good one?
I take my dog for a walk. I absolutely think dogs are the best form of therapy. I can easily stress myself out and disappear into my rain cloud as I lose myself in my self-centred dramas. Then I remember I have a dog and he likes to be outside. So I take him for a quick walk to appease him, and we just end up being out for hours. Once the initial ‘inconvenience’ of tearing myself away from my laptop as subsided, it is like a cloud lifts and I become a different person. Nature, fresh air and animals are all very healing. There is something special about my dog too. He makes everyone smile. And that in turn, makes me smile even more.
Have you ever walked out of a film? If so, what was it?
No, but I have been very tempted to on one student project I did when I was first starting out. At that time, I was working full time in the City, giving up all my spare time for the shoot and not being paid for it. What’s more, the director was not only unprofessional, but completely clueless. In the end, the film was so bad they never submitted it for their graduation. But I am glad I had those experiences at the beginning. It really makes me appreciate everything I have now. Today, if I am being paid to work, fed, and led by a director who even knows where he is, then to me, it is a wonderful day at the office.
One of your recent performances is in the detective series Scott & Bailey, if you could spend a year trying to learn about or solve any mystery, what would you pick?
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