Local actress Joanne Yew makes her big-screen debut in 'The Journey'. - CHAN TAK KONG/The Star
The lead actress in The Journey talks about her role.
Joanne Yew is a lovely girl, that’s what you’d have felt after watching Malaysia’s highest grossing movie of all time, The Journey. In person, she is no different; the same sweet and sentimental lass, with less of a British accent, of course.
“You might see me all pretty and prim, with makeup and heels, but when I’m alone, I still love my ‘boyfriend t-shirts’ and sneakers,” said the local actress.
The 27-year-old played the lead role of Ah Bee, a girl who doesn’t see eye to eye with her conservative father, Uncle Chuan, since she was sent off to Britain as a young child after her mother died.
After returning to Malaysia, Ah Bee announces her plans to marry her Caucasian boyfriend, Benji. Her father reluctantly agrees, with the condition that Benji accompanies him around Malaysia to deliver the wedding invitations to his primary schoolmates.
The movie achieved box-office sales of nearly RM13mil as of late last month and its success has catapulted its cast and crew to fame.
Yew, who is no stranger to the entertainment industry, was Miss Astro Chinese International in 2007 and has been modelling since. However, The Journey was her movie debut.
“I guess it all depends on luck. I first thought that this was a normal movie and didn’t expect it to be so successful. You could get called up a hundred times and only get one job,” she said.
Yew left the country three years ago to go to South Korea, where she studied the language and finished her degree in marketing. Upon returning last year, she joined a property company as a sales and marketing manager, with no intention of rejoining the entertainment industry full-time.
“I just wanted to go with the flow and it so happened I was called for the audition,” said the lanky lass, who grew up in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Although Yew emphasises she was lucky, success always comes with a high price. “People see this industry as a glamorous one, but behind it, there’s a lot of hard work, so what you put in is what you get.”
Yew revealed that one of the most difficult scenes in the movie was when she had to jump into the sea. Practising in a swimming pool aside, Yew had to shoot the scene numerous times, cutting her knees on the corals.
“You can sit and enjoy the movie, but for a six- to seven-second scene and to get the perfect jump, it was an entire day’s work for me, and I still have the scars to show for it,” Yew exclaimed as she pointed out the damage on her porcelain white legs.
With her towering height (1.76m) and the hype surrounding her, Yew admits that she is easily recognised on the streets these days.
“I won’t judge how famous I am because this is my job. All I know is, I try my best in every opportunity I get so that I don’t regret anything,” said Yew.
Having returned to showbiz with a strong foothold, we can expect more of Yew in the coming years. However, there’s a catch to the type of movies she will be taking on.
“I can act in all kinds of movies, except for ghost movies. I just can’t imagine myself being possessed,” she said.