Sammi Cheng back with new film after fighting depression

By Xu Fan(China Daily)
Updated: 2017-02-16 07:57:19

Love Contractually stars Sammi Cheng and Chang Hsiao-chuan. [Photo provided to China Daily]

After a brief hiatus, Sammi Cheng returns to her familiar zone-Hong Kong-style romantic movies-with Love Contractually.

The movie, which debuted on the mainland on Tuesday, pairs her with Chang Hsiao-chuan, who's among Taipei's finest actors.

Cheng stars as a company executive who refuses to trust men because she sees them as cheats but draws up a crazy plan that includes paying a large sum of money for the right sperm donor so she can have a baby.

Cheng, 44, started out as a Cantonese pop singer and moved to acting in the early 1990s.

"Having a child through sperm donation has become an open topic of discussion (in China) in recent years, but the movie develops it more dramatically, in an interesting and funny way," she says.

Unlike her previous hits, such as Love on a Diet and Everlasting Regret, the new movie features the megastar in a more highhanded role.

"As I haven't acted in a romantic comedy for two or three years, most people see this movie as my return (to the genre), but I took it up more as a new challenge," Cheng says.

With millions of copies of her music albums sold, and nearly 30 movies and dozens of awards later, Cheng has become a symbol of the golden era of Hong Kong's entertainment industry. She is among the most popular celebrities in China and her influence extends to countries in Southeast Asia.

Cheng and Chang attend a promotional event in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

She says her selection of cinematic projects has mostly depended on instinct.

But in the past, Cheng's struggle with depression made her lose focus on her work.

"I spent a terrible period of about three years battling depression. Every morning I would wake up in desperation," she says.

But during that phase she also discovered she wasn't alone in her fight. Her friends and family helped her through it.

"The situation allowed me to understand the significance of opening up your heart. I was lucky to have someone who would always listen to what I had to say," she adds.

While Cheng's stardom is an attraction for the audience, her new movie provides more, such as exotic locations that are frequently seen in romantic Chinese movies these days.

Shot in six cities in China and France, Love Contractually has a vital plot twist set in the World War II landmark of Normandy.

Liu Nan, the director, says a colorful house in Normandy gives the movie's last part a unique touch of romance.

Toward the end of the movie, the lead pair take a paraglider over northwestern France, offering a picturesque view of more medieval buildings as well as the natural scenery. But the rainy season in France was a big challenge while filming, he adds.

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