|A studio publicity still of Kathy Uyen Nguyen with Binh Minh on the set of Chuyen Tinh Xa Xu (Passport to Love).|
Ambition and determination drive Vietnamese-American actress Kathy Uyen Nguyen, who won Best Supporting Actress at the National Golden Kite FilmFest on Sunday.
Up-and-coming Vietnamese-American actress Kathy Uyen Nguyen, who is currently visiting her ancestral homeland, is as committed and enthusiastic as they get when it comes to her chosen profession.
Her latest success is playing Tiffany in Victor Vuâs Chuyen tinh xa xu (Passport to Love), which hit local cinemas last month and won the Audienceâs Most Favorite Feature at the Golden Kite Film Festival held in Hanoi on Sunday.
The story begins in Vietnam and centers around playboy Khang and his sober best friend Hieu, who is getting ready to settle down with his longtime girlfriend while Khang is bringing home a different girl, or two, every night.
A studio publicity still of Kathy Uyen Nguyen
When they get a chance to study in Los Angeles, all bets are off. Little do they know that they will each meet a woman who will turn their lives, and their understanding of love, upside down.
Khang falls for Tiffany, a beautiful police woman who is divorced and lives with her daughter. Though their love is forbidden by his family, it makes Khang want to lead a moral life.
Hieu, meanwhile, is torn between a Vietnamese-American beauty queen and his fiancÃ©e back home.
Unlike many people, Nguyen is optimistic about the local movie industry.
âI see people shake their heads at the state of the Vietnamese film industry. But after watching three films during Tet, I think the gap between local and foreign films is not so wide,â she said.
âI wonder why we donât get together and work out how to improve the local industry instead of blasting away at each other. Young people like Victor Vu and I really want to contribute and develop the industry so that Vietnamese cinema can gain respect abroad and be on a par with other countries someday.â
Nguyen acknowledges that for now the fledgling industry is handicapped by amateurism, a small market, and poor distribution, and thinks it would help if foreign-trained actors and directors could be enticed to work over here.
âWith proper training in the US, we could adapt the Hollywood style to produce blockbusters rich in Vietnamâs traditional elements,â she said.
âI get so much out of the films I do, at times I even take on a bit of the characters. Acting has broadened my mind and made me a stronger person,â Nguyen said.
Director and fellow Vietnamese-American Vu is one of her biggest fans. âNguyen works as hard as anybody in Hollywood. She gives her best in every scene, and never complains or thinks too much of herself,â Vu said.
âItâs difficult for an actor of Asian origin to land a role in a major Hollywood film, but she has managed it thanks to her determination and ambition. Sheâll go a long way.â
Born in California, Nguyen discovered acting when she was in fifth grade but it wasnât until the age of 16 that she began auditioning for roles, with her father taking days off work to drive her around San Francisco.
After several fruitless attempts, her parents urged her to reconsider but she had her heart set on acting.
Nguyen went on to the University of California at Irvine, where she studied drama, economics and Vietnamese, and did a lot of acting on the side.
Nguyenâs long list of credits also includes appearances in âAsian Stories,â âOn the Rocks,â âFinishing the Game,â âThe Bracket,â âEverything Must Goâ and the US television series âHow I Met Your Mother.â
Her small role in the upcoming drama âCrossing Overâ gave her the chance to work with two of Hollywoodâs biggest names: Harrison Ford and Ray Liotta.
âFord is a gentle, friendly yet quiet, solitary man. On the set he concentrates fiercely and keeps mostly to himself. He taught me about professionalism and taking the work seriously,â Nguyen said.
Besides film acting, Nguyen does commercials and hosts talk shows. In her free time she likes reading newspapers in Vietnamese and going out dancing.
She certainly is committed: no smoking, no alcohol, no all-night parties; the 26-year-old waxing star steers clear of all vices.
Reported by Do Tuan