Taiwan-born Hong Kong-based actress Annie Liu’s role in Hong Kong action flick Invincible Dragon is her most daring yet.
In the movie, she plays the daughter of a Macau tycoon as well as a female traditional medical practitioner. One of her patients, also her love interest, is police detective Kowloon, played by mainland Chinese martial arts star Max Zhang.
Despite her sunny disposition, she harbours a secret about her own mortality. “The young woman I play suffers from hereditary breast cancer and had to have both her breasts surgically removed.”
Her most heart-thumping scene in the movie is the one where she decides to reveal her secret to a dejected Kowloon by baring her chest and telling her story.
Liu, 38, admitted that having to expose her upper body was a very daring act on her part. “My roles generally require me to be quite modestly dressed, usually wearing multiple layers of clothing.
“For that scene, I had to bind my breasts and I had prosthetic skin glued to my chest. Then, I sat there while the makeup artists got to work painting tattoos across my chest. It was a very interesting experience for me,” she recalled the process.
“Initially, the chest binding felt extremely tight, and made it very difficult for me to breathe. So, I felt quite breathless, when I had to say my lines with my chest bound. But later, I got accustomed to it, and discovered that I enjoyed the freedom of going braless,” she added.
Invincible Dragon is a movie of many firsts for Liu.
It was her first time working with Hong Kong indie director Fruit Chan, as well as Zhang and Brazilian MMA fighter Anderson Silva.
In the film’s final scenes, Zhang’s Kowloon has a showdown with the film’s antagonist played by Brazilian UFC Champion Silva.
“Max is very different in real life. In the movie, he is a serious guy who fights a lot. In real life, he is an easygoing fellow with humorous side. He loves telling jokes, but his wry humour is sometimes hard to get. He may look cold but he can be rather funny on the set,” laughed Liu, as she described her co-star.
Liu said she found Silva, one of the top Brazilian fighters in MMA, even more amusing.
“Anderson Silva is very big and tall like a tree.
“He doesn’t understand English. He speaks Portuguese, so there is a translator on the set to bridge the communication gap and help him with his English dialogue.
“Also, he is a hardworking man. He is always seen making notes on his script, translating his own lines of dialogue.
“Just imagine how amusing it is to see a huge guy curled up in a corner with pen and paper in hand, looking very studious like a school-going kid,” she said.
Since Invincible Dragon is an action movie, Liu also has action scenes, albeit non-violent ones. One particular scene sees her performing an aerial hoop solo routine.
Liu says that she hopes to get into proper fight scenes in the future. However that has to wait as her upcoming film is a comedy directed by Hong Kong standup comedian Dayo Wong.
Invincible Dragon is showing at GSC cinemas nationwide.