Viet Nam News
By Phương Mai
HCM CITY — The year 2017 saw the rise of young actresses on the big screen, proving their talent and impressing audiences.
Kaity Nguyễn, an 18-year-old high school student, quickly rose to fame after playing a leading role in the teenage romantic comedy Em Chưa 18 (Jailbait), a production of Chánh Phương Film released in April.
Directed by Lê Thanh Sơn, the film is a love story between a high school student Linh Đan and a playboy named Hoàng (played by Kiều Minh Tuấn).
“Linh Đan is my first role and my first step into the film industry,” said Kaity, who is famous on the internet as a beauty blogger with nearly 250,000 followers on her Facebook page and over 80,000 followers on Instagram.
“I learned so much from Sơn and my co-actors day by day during the filmmaking,” she said, adding that she and her character shared similar characteristics that helped her in the role.
Last month, Kaity won the Golden Lotus prize for best actress at the 20th Vietnamese Film Festival in Đà Nẵng, while Em Chưa 18 was named best feature film.
Moreover, the film became the highest-grossing Vietnamese movie to date, earning record revenue of VNĐ171 billion (US$7.5 million).
When the movie’s project was announced in March, many people and media thought it was a risky project. They expressed doubts about Kaity because she was too young and has no experience in acting. They called her a “lucky girl”.
But she let her acting do the talking. “I worked so hard for the role. I want to prove that I’m an actress, not a lucky girl,” said Kaity.
Director Sơn said: “Kaity is a big surprise to me. She has acting ability and a professional attitude. She is smart, she listens and is hard-working. These advantages will help her acting career.”
Kaity was nominated for best actress for the 2017 Mai Vàng (Golden Apricot) Awards given annually by Người Lao Động (Labourer) daily newspapers.
Her colleague, 26-year-old singer and actress Miu Lê, was also nominated for the awards.
Lê played a leading role in the film Cô Gái Đến Từ Hôm Qua (The Girl from Yesterday), an adaptation from the novel of the same title by Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, a best-selling author in HCM City.
Directed by Phan Gia Nhật Linh, the film is about school, boys and girls, and their stories of love and compassion. The work earned VNĐ50 billion ($2.2 million) after 10 days of its release.
“I invited young faces, especially Lê, because it’s the best way to ensure my film’s characters strike a chord in teenagers and attract teenage audiences,” said Linh, adding that Lê did the best work in his last film.
Last year, Lê played a leading role in Linh’s film Em Là Bà Nội Của Anh (Sweet 20), a Vietnamese remake of the South Korean movie Miss Granny, which earned more than VNĐ102 billion (US$4.5 million) in ticket sales.
She also sang one of the film’s soundtracks, Còn Tuổi Nào Cho Em (Time for You), a love song composed by the late Trịnh Công Sơn, who was a well-known musician in Việt Nam.
“I am working hard to develop my acting and singing career,” said Lê, who began her career in 2008 as a solo singer.
She performed in 10 movies, including box-office hits Thiên Sứ 99 (The 99th Angel), Nhà Có 5 Nàng Tiên (Five Fairies) and Những Thiên Thần Áo Trắng (Angels in White). She also released more than 12 solo albums.
The Mai Vàng Awards’ nomination also includes Nhã Phương, last year’s winner.
Phương, 28, is a familiar face to audiences with her role in the TV series Tuổi Thanh Xuân (Forever Young) and Tuổi Thanh Xuân 2 (Forever Young 2), co-produced by VTV Film Centre and South Korea’s CJ E&M Pictures.
In 2017, she played in the movie Yêu Đi, Đừng Sợ! (Kiss and Spell) by Los Angeles-based writer-director Stephane Gauger.
Gauger expressed good comments about Phương’s professional attitude and acting skills.
“I must spend more time improving my acting skills. I’m doing my best to prove my talent and passion for film,” said Phương, who has received several local and international prizes for her performances.
Film critic Ngô Ngọc Ngũ Long commented that the “young actresses did best in 2017 and all deserved their awards. But I think Kaity has the best advantage because her role was cute and loved by audiences”.
The Mai Vàng Awards ceremony will be held on January 18 in HCM City. — VNS