Having retired from the adult industry since 2013, Céline Tran has since appeared in several mainstream productions. In 2014, she played a recurring character in the French web fiction Le Visiteur du futur. Also in 2014, she wrote the script for Heart Breaker, the sixth volume of the French comic book horror series DoggyBags. In 2016, she started working as a DJ, and writing a blog focusing on cultural and sexual themes. She also underwent three years of martial arts training in order to secure roles in action films. In 2017, she hosted on Facebook Live, for the French community website NextPLZ, a show about sexuality aimed at youngsters, published a second graphic novel in the DoggyBags collection, and created a YouTube channel dedicated to sports.

On the occasion of her film, “Jailbreak”, that screened at Fantasia International Film Festival 2017, we speak with her about her training, the difficulties of the role, her cooperation with Jimmy Henderson, her life, and many other topics.

Why did you decide to participate in a martial arts film and what training did you have for the action part of the role? 

In fact I was already looking for participating in a martial arts/action movie when I met the team of Kongchak Pictures. I love cinema and I don’t limit myself, there are great movies to do in each genre. But I like physical performances. I was already training with a crew of French stunt performers for almost 3 years and had performed in a few action short videos. As a fan of martial arts movies, it’s a dream coming true to be in a movie like “Jailbreak”. I met the producers in Hong Kong at Filmart as I was there to create some new opportunities and we soon realized we had some good reasons to work together!

We didn’t have much time to get prepared. I had two weeks to train in Cambodia in order to learn the choreographies. Initially, I had two fights and the last one was really long and intense. I knew the basics to fight on camera (timing, distance…) so the goal was more to learn new combinations of moves from different styles (with our choreographer Jean-Paul Ly), to practice with Tharoth and my other partners, without and then, with the camera…And most of all I had to learn to fight in the heat! The weather was super hot and humid. It’s been, probably, the most difficult part of my training.

Did you enjoy the experience overall, and what kind of difficulties did the role present?

Yes I did and I’m very happy about the movie. Honestly, I had so many doubts. We all had to face last minutes issues and I got myself injured while training. So I can’t say it was easy and always fun. The heat, the stress, the lack of time… But each of us wanted so much to accomplish something good. This movie is really ambitious for the market in Cambodia, we had to give our best. It’s been a frustrating experience as I wish I could do more and better, but frustration is good. I’m willing to perform even more! The role itself was easy. I’m playing Madame, the gang leader, I’m always upset lol And I’m surrounded with beautiful girls, that’s pretty cool! The fight part was definitely for me the most interesting part.

How was your cooperation with Jimmy Henderson? How did he guide you for the role, and how did you interpret your part?    

Jimmy is the definition of “being cool” lol I’ve never seen a director so relaxed. It’s nice as he’s never upset, always quiet. But sometimes it made me nervous, as I need to feel a strong connection with the director and know what he has in mind. I like having someone telling me to push my limits so I can give a better performance. Jean-Paul was like that for example. Jimmy seemed to trust me, he guided me a little bit but was not difficult. I was always wondering: “Did he say Ok because I’m so bad, there’s no way I can do better, or is he really happy about what I did?!” And I was confused sometimes as my dialogue could be in English or in Khmer (and I don’t speak Khmer).

Currently, you are working as a dj, blogger, host and you have published a second graphic novel. How do you manage all that and what do you prefer doing? Do you feel tired occasionally? 

Yes, besides being an actress I write comics, a blog and I’m currently working on my book. I also work as a DJ and launched my Youtube channel. As I said, I don’t limit myself. My schedule is quite busy. I always keep training, it’s a part of my balance, and these months I’m more focused on writing. In order to do everything I need to chose some priorities, it’s all about focusing on the right things at the right moment in order to reach specific goals. I don’t have any preference, I love having all this diversity in my life, I love it. I invest myself in everything I do, so everything to me is special. Tired? Yes, all the time and I love it. I need to feel tired at the end of the day. If not, it means I didn’t do enough!

What is your opinion of the Cambodian movie industry at the moment?

Regarding the Cambodian movie industry, I had no idea of the situation before I worked there. There so many things to do. The country is just starting over, there’s so much space for ambition but it’s still difficult because of the lack of money and professional people with enough experience in this industry. It’s very motivating, and it’s also very brave from Kongchak Pictures to produce a movie like “Jailbreak”. I’m sure it’s a great step for the Cambodian cinema industry.

Which are your favorite movies, actors?

Favorite movies? The list is really long. But if I must say a few representative titles: Conan the Barbarian, The Way of the Dragon, the saga Rocky, Back to the Future, Requiem for a dream, The Wrestler, Sympathy for Mister Vengeance, The Host, The Raid… I’m more a big fan of directors and scriptwriters rather than actors but I like to follow Matthew Mac Conaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phenix , Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Christian Bale, Julian Moore, Sigourney Weaver, Eva Green…and of course Stallone and Schwarzy.

What are your plans for the future? 

My projects: More movies in development. By then I need to publish my 1st book, which will be a kind of autobiography. I’m working on new comics and I want to produce more content for my Youtube Channel. And probably directing a short movie that I’ll write. Oh and I’m training to create an aerial silks act. That’s a personal dream…Voilà!

Find more about Céline Tran at  www.iamcelinetran.com

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My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.