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Stephen Chow asked Cecilia Cheung to pretend to smoke in an audition

The Independent logo The Independent 14/6/2021 Lydia Koh
Cecilia Cheung, Stephen Chow are posing for a picture © The Independent Singapore

Hong Kong — It is a known fact that Stephen Chow, 58 was responsible for launching Cecilia Cheung, 41, to stardom. Cheung made her film debut in the 1999 classic King of Comedy and the then-18-year-old propelled to fame in Hong Kong. She was nominated for Best New Performer at the Hong Kong Film Awards although she ended up taking home the prize for her role in Fly Me to Polaris instead.

Cheung recently appeared on the Chinese talk show The Super Sisters where she reminisced about the first time she met Chow at the audition for King of Comedy in 1998. Cheung said that she was given two scripts by the staff when she arrived at the location and was told to study them, according to 8days.sg. The actress said she never bothered memorising the lines ‘cos “there was too much”. Cheung went into a room to meet Chow, who had his back turned on her. According to Cheung, he looked like, “the god of gamblers”.

Cecilia Cheung, Stephen Chow standing next to a person: Stephen Chow asked Cecilia Cheung to pretend to smoke during an audition. Picture: Instagram © The Independent Singapore Stephen Chow asked Cecilia Cheung to pretend to smoke during an audition. Picture: Instagram

“He then turned around very slowly, like he was in slow motion, and in my heart I was like, ‘Is it necessary for a celebrity to do that? Does he need to be so over the top?’” Cheung laughed.

To Cheung’s surprise, Chow then passed her another script that was completely different from the ones she got from the staff earlier.

“I thought, ‘It’s a good thing I didn’t memorise [the previous ones]!’” she chuckled.

The new script required Cheung to act like a woman who knows how to smoke. Chow then gave her a pen and told her to pretend to smoke so he could see if she gave off the right vibe.

The director certainly wasn’t expecting Cheung’s response. “At that time, I was still very simple and innocent, and I asked him, ‘Why do I need to pretend to smoke? I can smoke [a real cigarette] once for you to see!’”

In 2010, on the Chinese talk show A Date with Luyu, Chow shared the same story when both he and Cheung were guests on the show.

“Who would’ve thought that she would… (Mimics smoking action) She’s so straightforward!” he said back then, as Cheung quickly added a disclaimer that she definitely wasn’t encouraging young people to smoke./TISG

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