Sarah Lian etches a scintillating impression on everyone who knows her. Popularly acclaimed in various platforms of film, television, radio, and new media, her high energy and dedication to work has yielded an unprecedented growth in the Malaysian entertainment industry. Sarah shot to fame as FHM’s Most Wanted Woman in Malaysia. A celebrated host and a real pro in front of the camera, Sarah’s last project involved the shooting of ‘MYeG Xtra Time‘ on ESPN. The program highlights sports, entertainment, and news along with a bevy of hosts being put through challenging antics. I had an opportunity to sit down with her and discuss everything under the sun, from her venture into kung fu films, her love of Asian cinema, and her own projects. Oh! And she also gives our website a little design critique! Read below for the full interview…
Why did you choose Canada as the big move from Malaysia to hone your skills as an actor?
Sarah: I started my career in Canada actually. My first paying job started in commercial work and later on hosting and acting. I think Canada, specifically Toronto has been the perfect place to learn and grow without jumping into the big LA pond. There are many Canadian productions as well as American productions that film out here. It is a great place to grow and learn while still maintaining a sense of “home”.
We caught up with Byron Mann last year who hinted at a film that wasn’t titled yet. It ended up being Jasmine and you are attached to the project! What can you tell us about it and your character of Anna?
Sarah: Yes, Byron and I met a few years ago to shoot Jasmine in Hong Kong. It was one of my first foray back into acting after being a celebrated host in Malaysia. I was so thankful for this opportunity and I’m glad to have met everyone. Anna is the catalyst for much of the drama that ensues. That’s all I’ll say :).
You’ve done a lot of television work in the past. Is this a calculated move in your career or do you view it as a stepping stone to do more films?
Sarah: I think I’m very grateful for any experience in front of the camera. Whether it may be for hosting or acting, each experience brings me closer to my goals. Ideally I’d love to do more films but I’m still early in my career and I hope that I’ll be in a position to be more selective in my roles.
I’m aware you always wanted to be a doctor growing up. How would you react to the irony of playing one on screen?
Sarah: I guess I’ll have to ask you how you found that out! I wanted to be a lot of things growing up but I think actors are incredibly lucky in that sense. We get to suss out and explore so many things and play different characters without the years of schooling and commitment. Either way, I’d embrace it!
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
Sarah: I love comedies, especially from Stephen Chow. His timing and slapstick humor brings me back old memories. I love a lot of the Hong Kong cinema in the 80s. I also love the Young and Dangerous series from the late 90s. When the recent remake came out, I had a marathon of all six and still loved it! I’m a huge sucker for Korean romantic comedies and My Sassy Girl was the one to kick it all off. Last but not least, Red Cliff with Chang Chen and Takeshi Kaneshiro was probably the ultimate for me!
You stated that you are a bit guarded but learning to venture outside of your comfort zone. How are you working on this and do you think this will lend itself to you becoming more comfortable behind screen?
Sarah: I’ve been taking different courses that are a different aspect of the industry. It is foreign to me but I believe that everything is difficult first before it becomes easy so that’s why I do it. I never want to be complacent and I always want to learn. Understanding the process behind the screen helps if I ever start producing my own work but for now, I let the producers do their job and as an actor I’ll do mine.
You’ve been attached to comedic roles, horror films, and dramas…as an actress how do you get into the mindset of all these genre’s and escape being pigeonholed into one type of role?
Sarah: I understand genres can pigeonhole actors, but so can characters. Mixing it up keeps it interesting, I get a chance to take a walk in someone else’s shoes, and if I’m gonna do that, then I’m going to do my best.
What additional projects should we keep out eyes out on through late 2013/2014?
Sarah: I have a horror film coming out next year and had a chance to look at some of the footage recently. I’m extremely excited because it is a completely different kind of genre. Also shot in the Hong Kong landscape and also an English-speaking movie, I’ve got a bigger role in the film which was a good challenge. Everything is still pretty hush-hush but when it comes out, I’m sure horror fans will be very happy!
We love Kung-Fu here at Japan Cinema. How are your moves coming along? Will we be seeing you alongside Jet Li sometime soon?
Sarah: I would love to do some action in the near future. I managed to do some basic martial arts training while I was in Toronto but my hectic filming schedule last year sort of put a halt to it. I think I’m gonna get back into it and add kickboxing soon!
Lastly, what do you think of our site? I know you’re a big enthusiast of web design and typography. Don’t be shy!
Sarah: I think you guys have very dynamic header images and the website layout is clean and easy to navigate! Good job!
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