Katie Leung was recently profiled in the Daily Mail
, discussing her years as portraying Cho Chang in the Harry Potter
series, her near-decision to leave acting once her work in Potter completed, and her new role in the upcoming miniseries, Run
, set to debut this March on UK network Channel 4. Highlights from the interview, as well as a new shoot by Rachell Smith and promo from Run
, can be read below
Your part in Run couldn’t really be more different from Harry Potter.
Katie Leung: Ying’s experiences in those 45 minutes get worse and worse. There’s nudity, there’s a rape – and there are a few scenes which have been cut, such as when Ying sleeps on the street for a night and two teenagers who have been out drinking urinate all over her. It was not very nice.
Did you know much about Britain’s illegal immigrants beforehand?
Katie: It’s a subject that has fascinated me for quite a while. Coincidentally, I did a photography project in my final year at the Edinburgh College of Art, while I was in Wild Swans, and I photographed a few immigrants. It really saddened me because they’re completely ignored by society and yet they’re such an integral part of it. They get a lot of bad press – with the economy today they’re blamed for everything. There should be more compassion for what they’re going through, because, at the end of the day, they’re just trying to pay their bills.
After Harry Potter you could have gone straight on to another film. Yet you chose to do a play and then go back to drama school. Why?
Katie: I was kind of lost and wanted to try different things. After Potter, I wasn’t sure if I could be an actor. I questioned whether they chose me because I fitted the part physically, rather than because of my acting skills.
Were you put off by the mad fans and all the Hollywood hullaballoo?
Katie: It was nice to be a part of the premieres and publicity, but it was also a relief to leave it behind. I’m not the type of person who enjoys the limelight. But I’m not ungrateful; I took a lot from the experience. Touring so many countries publicising the films, I was given an opportunity to see the world, encounter different cultures and meet so many amazing, interesting people.
How were you received in China when you went to launch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?
Katie: I don’t think they were very pleased. I didn’t speak Chinese when I was there and I think they were expecting me to. I was born in Scotland and have lived there all my life. I speak conversational Cantonese with my dad when I’m at home, and very basic Mandarin. But I was afraid to speak – I was only 17 at the time. So I stuck to English and I think they were quite disappointed.
What did Harry Potter give you?
Katie: It has definitely helped me decide what I want to do with my life. Before getting the part I had absolutely no idea. From doing Run, I’ve learnt that actors are afraid to tell people what they do because most of the time they’re out of a job. But at this point in time, I’m proud to say that I am an actor.
So where do you feel you belong now?
Katie: I enjoy being where I am in Scotland – I have a place in Edinburgh. London is very fast and aggressive, although I feel more motivated to work when I’m here.
Are you still in touch with the Potter mob?
Katie: I don’t have any contact with Dan [Radcliffe], but I see Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave and Anna Shaffer. Anna’s off to Los Angeles and Jessie has her own website and blog. Everyone’s doing their own thing, but at the same time continuing with acting. And that goes for me too.