Adventurous Josie Ho draws the line at on-screen nudity

Josie Ho plays a mute woman (above) in American indie zombie flick Open Grave. -- PHOTO: THRILL
Josie Ho plays a mute woman (above) in American indie zombie flick Open Grave. -- PHOTO: THRILL
Josie Ho (above) plays a mute woman in American indie zombie flick Open Grave. -- PHOTO: THRILL
Josie Ho (above) plays a mute woman in American indie zombie flick Open Grave. -- PHOTO: THRILL

Josie Ho, who plays a mute in Open Grave, will take on any role but won't strip

The adventurous Josie Ho has acted as a Khmer Rouge militant in Purple Storm (1999), a prostitute in Naked Ambition (2003), a closeted lesbian in Butterfly (2004) and a homicidal maniac in Dream Home (2010).

She has played a wide variety of roles but there is one no-go area for her.

"Nudity is forever a no for me. I can't imagine there's anything else off-limits," she says over the telephone from Hong Kong.

Ho, 39, is the daughter of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho and is known as both an actress and a singer. She won a Hong Kong Film Award in 2004 for Best Supporting Actress for Naked Ambition.

She recently took part in Eric Khoo's erotic drama, In The Room, as a mama-san and says her role was "all covered up". She adds: "I've never done a period piece. I find it a really fun and interesting story."

Her eclectic choices include the part of a mute woman, Brown Eyes, in the American indie zombie flick, Open Grave (2013). It premieres on Thrill (StarHub Cable TV Channel 618 and SingTel mioTV Channel 415) tomorrow at 11pm.

This is her first time playing a mute and it was "very challenging". She says: "I spent a lot of time thinking about my body language. When you don't get to say lines, people are watching your rhythm."

In a way, this was stripping acting to the fundamentals.

"Sometimes saying lines can cover up a lot of things but when it's such a pure character, it's back to the basics," she adds.

Filming for Open Grave, she was amused by the moniker Brown Eyes. She says laughing: "I like the name, it sounds kind of funny in Cantonese. It's like your back eyes or anal eyes."

As an actress, she comes across as fearless but she is not exactly a fan of the zombie genre.

Ho, who is married to musician-actor Conroy Chan, says: "I watch such films when someone's around. I get really scared and end up having nightmares."

Asked if she is keen to break into Hollywood, she says: "I'm hoping for an opportunity to work there one day."

Then almost immediately, she adds with a chuckle: "I don't know, I'm not sure."

She also says she might want to slow down after this year. She averages two to three movies a year on top of making music and the pace is taking its toll. "It drains a lot from a person and I think I'm just too tired. It's about time to to relax and just pick one or two projects to work on," she says.

Her ideal time off is spent at home, she says, adding: "With no make-up, no hairspray, no products, no manicure, no pedicure, no nail polish, no any kind of plastic gel on my hands - all clean - stay at home with the air-conditioning on, that's the best thing you can ask for."

She used to enjoy the glamour of show business but not anymore. She says: "You have to keep putting products on your body, it's really bad for your skin actually. A person needs to breathe."

bchan@sph.com.sg

Open Grave premieres tomorrow at 11pm on Thrill (StarHub Cable TV Channel 618; SingTel mioTV Channel 415).