A scene in Hai Phuong (Furie), a new action thriller produced and starring Ngo Thanh Van, scheduled to be in cinemas worldwide later this year, distributed by Arclight Films. (Photo VAA Studio)
The film is being distributed worldwide by leading international sales company Arclight Films, which also has the rights for a sci-fi thriller by director John Murlowski.
Hai Phuong is directed by Le Van Kiet of Ho Chi Minh City. It stars Van, known as Veronica Ngo, who was recently seen in the blockbuster Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Tico’s sister, Paige, and Netflix’s original feature film Bright starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.
Van plays Hai Phuong, a gangster who retired from a life of crime after the birth of her daughter.
She is not able to escape her violent past after her daughter is kidnapped. She is forced back into the underworld which she wants to leave behind to rescue her daughter from an infamous organ-trafficking ring.
Hai Phuong includes action scenes by acclaimed action director Kefi Abrikh, who worked for the Hollywood hits Jacson Bourne and Lucy.
The film’s producer Van hopes that Hai Phuong will have a chance in the international marketplace in Cannes 2018.
Van began her catwalk and singing career in 2000 after returning home from Norway.
In 2005, she began acting by first playing a leading role in Rouge, a 13-part TV series by renowned Singaporean director Jonathan Foo, in 2004. She was selected from 400 candidates from Asian countries.
Rouge was broadcast on MTV Asia, a cable television channel broadcasting international music. It opened a door for her to become a movie star in the region.
In 2006, she played a leading role in Dong Mau Anh Hung (The Rebel), a kung fu film directed by Vietnamese-American Charlie Nguyen.
The film won the Grand Jury Award at 2007 Sharing Visions, a biennial international film festival for Vietnamese filmmakers held in Los Angeles.
In 2015, she developed her career as a movie producer in the comedy Ngay Nay Ngay Nay (Once Upon A Time), a co-production between Van and her partner, Canadian-Vietnamese director Cuong Ngo.
In 2016, Van directed her first film, Tam Cam – Chuyen Chua Ke (Tam Cam - The Untold Story), a fantasy work based on a fairy tale best know as the Vietnamese version of Cinderella.
The film was released in 37 cinema complexes nationwide and earned more than VND70 billion (US$3.1 million) in ticket sales.
Last year, her romantic comedy, Co Ba Sai Gon (The Tailor), was screened and honoured at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival in Busan, the Republic of Korea.
The work is about Vietnamese women living in Sai Gon (now HCM City) in the 1960s.
Producer Van used young directors Loc Tran and Kay Nguyen, who both studied film in the US.
The film’s leading character, young actress Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc of HCM City, was named Face of Asia at in the category Asia Star Awards 2017.
Van and her studio, VAA, recently launched a new film project on Vietnamese myths and folk stories.
The project, Than Dong Dat Viet (Vietnamese Prodigies), will use a comic series based on Vietnamese folk stories by young artists of Phan Thi Company.
The project’s first film is expected to start in December.
“I will bring all I’ve learned in Hollywood to develop my career at home,” said 40-year-old Van.