Summer Qing Speaks with Us About About Filming Looper

Posted by at 8:15 am on September 27, 2012

Many of you already know the core plot of Looper.  In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.  Young Joe is played by Joesph Gordon Levitt, while the future Joe AKA “Old Joe” is played by Bruce Willis.  The cast also includes stars most of us in the west are familiar with such as Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, and Piper Perabo.

But one star of the film westerns may not familiar with is Summer Qing (Qing Xu). This is Summer’s first major Hollywood feature release, but she is an established star in Asia. Summer Qing is a native of Beijing, and graduated from Beijing Film Academy. She made her film debut as the female lead in Chen Kaige’s 1990 Cannes Film Festival-competing Life on a String, about a pair of blind musicians in a rural village. This role lead to her rocketing raise to the top of Asian cinema. Her most memorable role in China is that of Soong Ching-ling, wife of Sun Yat-sen and an honored historical figure for the Chinese in the hugely successful 2009 film The Founding of a Republic.

All of this lead to Looper’s director Rian Johnson acclaiming her as the perfect figure for Chinese women and casting her in the role of Old Joe’s Wife.

When we asked her how she got the role, Summer said, “Her past work including Laughing Away and The Founding of a Republic grab the eye of Rian, which lead to a conference call, which in turn lead to her being cast in the the part.”

“My character as Joe’s wife is a major clue in the story and provides a motivation for Bruce’s character (telling more about this would be considered a spoiler) and the director’s story is amazingly well developed,” Summer added.

When asked about how the action in Looper is different from some her past roles; “In terms of building the character it was not different or hard from my past work, I have been playing this type of character for a long time.  I learned a lot working with Rian and Bruce, they gave her much warmth and did not make me feel like an outsider.”

When comes to what Hollywood can learn from Hong Kong and Chinese Cinema. “Hollywood has learned a great team is essential for making great films. China has many cultural elements and stories that Hollywood could learn from. Telling the Chinese stories from an American perspective would lean to great fan interest in both China and in the US.”

Summer was gracious enough to share a few stories from the set. On the first day she was on set there was a fight scene between her and Bruce. During a point in the filming, Bruce held her in his arms and she knew “he was a great actor who was going to create the synergy to give gave her something beautiful to work with it during the film.”

Another high point during the shooting was when Joesph Gordon Levitt came to the set early especially to meet with her and get to know her and opinions before shooting a night night scene.

There is another great moment, but we will share that with all of you at later date, after the film has been out for a time.  It is a great story but contains a big spoiler.

Summer was very excited to work with Rian Johnsonton.  “I find him to be academic and humble as a director. On set he is very passionate about his work and he was always complimentary about Summer and others work.”

Outside of film, Summer is known to be very keen about fashion. – She has been invited to see many runway shows, including BCBG and Chanel to name a few. “What is important for women in terms of fashion is that women should always be comfortable in what they wear but bring their own style, the woman should wear the clothes.  The woman should own the clothes and not the other way around.”  Summer remained one of the very few Chinese mainland actresses who has been invited to the Haute couture Chanel show.

When asked after seeing Looper, what other of her films should Americans go out to rent she recommend people watch The Founding of a Republic and Life on a String. She also recommends a Chinese TV show called a Laugh in The Wind, the book she and Bruce read in the hammock is the epic novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, written by Louis Cha which the TV show is based on.  The cover of the book is so well know, the title charters don’t need to be in focus for Chinese viewers of Looper to know what they are reading

Summer hopes that people will remember her after they watch Looper and that it will be the beginning of many opportunities with Hollywood.  “People will get to see my elegant and graceful side in Looper, in the future I hope to be able to play some bad girls and show my other side.”

Looper opens nationwide on Friday, September 28.

We here at Takes On Tech would like to thank Summer for taking the time to speak with us. We would also like to thank her manager Mr. Zhang for being a gracious and excellent interpreter during the interview.

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