After a four-year hiatus from the silver screen, singer and actress Lee Sinje’s comeback to film in 2019 sparked a buzz amongst fans of Asian cinema.
When news of a film adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s critically-acclaimed novel, The Garden Of Evening Mists, broke, fans were delighted to learn that Lee Sinje was cast as the lead actress, taking on the role of Teoh Yun Ling, a woman who seeks solace in the hills of Cameron Highlands to recover from the atrocities she witnessed during World War II in Malaya.
Fast forward to the end of 2019, and the film has already garnered 9 nominations (including Best Leading Actress for Sinje) at the 56th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei.
Produced by Astro Shaw and HBO Asia, The Garden Of Evening Mists premiered at the 24th Busan International Film Festival in October; the film will make its debut in Malaysian cinemas in January 2020.
We recently caught up with this talented actress and mother of two before the Golden Horse Awards for a chat on the movie as well as she finds happiness and fulfilment in helping others.
This is your first film in 4 years. What inspired your return to acting?
When I was pregnant with my twin boys 4 years ago, I realised I wanted to spend time with them when they were still young and needed me most. Today, as I step into my 40s, it is a really important new stage in my life. I had taken the opportunity to wait for a really good script and role to come along, good enough for me to return to acting. When I received the script for The Garden Of Evening Mists, I knew instantly it was the right project for me.
How did it feel to play the leading role in The Garden Of Evening Mists?
Although I’m Malaysian, I started my career in Taiwan and have subsequently acted in mostly Hong Kong and Taiwanese films. Throughout the 20 years of my career, I worked mostly with foreign film productions all the while longing for an opportunity to be part of a Malaysian production. I was so excited to be able to head back to my homeland to work on this film.