She may only be 11 years old, but The Kid From The Big Apple’s Tan Qin Lin is well on her way to becoming a star.
The young actress was voted Best Newcomer at the 7th Macau International Movie Festival last December, one of four awards The Kid From The Big Apple won at the event.
According to a report in China Press in December, Qin Lin has also been given a role in an undisclosed Hollywood film, making her potentially one of the first Malaysian child actors to appear in a Hollywood movie.
Asked during a recent press conference about her feelings when she won the Macau award, the young lass said she had never expected to win. “When I saw my name on the paper, I was thinking, ‘Is that really me?’,” she recalled. “Then when they called my name, I became weak! And when I went on stage, I was still shocked, so when they asked me if I thought I acted well, I could only reply, ‘Yes, very very well!’”
In The Kid From The Big Apple, Qin Lin plays a young girl named Sarah who grew up in New York, but is forced to move to Malaysia to live with her grandfather (Ti Lung) while her mother (Jessica Hester Hsuan) goes to China for work.
When we first meet Sarah, she is a rude little brat who only speaks in English and keeps making fun of her grandfather. But over time, the two form a tight bond and learn the value of family and traditions.
“These days, many homes are quiet because the kids are busy looking at their phones and not talking to their grandparents. This is a movie about a girl who is like that, but learns to get along with her grandfather. I think after watching this, you will think of home as well,” Qin Lin said about the movie.
Influenced by her brother Tan Hao Yen (who started acting when he was young too), Qin Lin began her own acting career two years ago, in a small role in an Astro Xiao Tai Yang children’s series.
Although The Kid From The Big Apple is her first feature film, the actress found it a great experience, especially working with director Jess Teong. “The director was very caring! She always took care of us,” she said.
Teong had taken almost two years to find the right actress to play the role of Sarah, but as soon as she met Qin Lin, she knew she was the one.
The actress fulfilled all of Teong’s criteria (including being independent, not too technical with her acting and having a perfect smile), and also had the perfect personality for the role.
Being a bilingual role (Sarah starts off speaking only in English before switching to Mandarin halfway through), Teong had to coach and train Qin Lin for almost two months before she was ready to start filming.
Working with Ti Lung was also a good experience for Qin Lin, though she said she was initially nervous around him because he always had a very stern expression on his face.
In one scene, Sarah accidentally breaks one of her grandfather’s priced medicinal jars and gets a terrible scolding. Qin Lin said the director told her specifically to only act scared, and not to cry.
“But at the time, before she could cut (the scene), I wanted to start crying, because he was scolding me so fiercely!” she remembered.
The Kid From The Big Apple is currently showing.