Sex symbol Chrissie Chau struggled with topless scene in iGirl

Ekin Cheng buys a made-to-order female robot played by Chrissie Chau in iGirl.
Ekin Cheng buys a made-to-order female robot played by Chrissie Chau in iGirl.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Actress Chrissie Chau, who plays a robot in iGirl, initially appeared in a nude scene fully clothed

In the new sci-fi romance movie iGirl, buxom actress Chrissie Chau appears in a nude scene, where her bare back, right down to her waist, is shown on camera, while she faces co-star Ekin Cheng.

But despite her sex symbol status, earned from her choice of movie roles and posing in lingerie in men's magazines FHM and GQ, she says she was initially reluctant to shed her clothes for the scene.

In the movie, she plays a made-to-order female robot that Cheng's character buys.

The original scene that was shot had her fully clothed, but director Kan Jia Wei decided that it would make more sense for Chau's robot character 001 to be naked the first time she meets her "master", who has to remove her from a box and soak her in water to activate her.

Kan's logic convinced the Chinese actress to reshoot the scene.

"At first, I wondered if Ekin Cheng had requested the reshoot," says the 30-year-old Chau in jest over the telephone from Hongkong.

"It wasn't that I didn't want to shoot it. As an actor, I wondered what went wrong with the shoot. But later, I realised that there was a reason for the reshoot."

iGirl opens in cinemas tomorrow.

Chau is quick to highlight that she was not completely naked when shooting the scene and had taken necessary precautions to cover up her front during filming.

Her coyness comes as a surprise, given how she showed off her voluptuous figure in a bikini in beach volleyball movie Beach Spike (2011) and in steamy bed scenes in raunchy flick Marriage With A Liar (2010).

This is her second time acting opposite Cheng. She played his lover in the romantic comedy Break Up 100 (2014). Even then, she says: "Though it's the second time we are working together, I'm still a female and he's a guy. What's more, Ekin Cheng is a 'male god', who is idolised even by my female co-stars."

But Chau says the gentlemanly actor helped put her at ease while filming that scene.

"Ekin didn't make me feel uncomfortable. He made it natural by chit-chatting with me on set."

In a separate interview, Cheng, 48, says: "It was a little awkward when they were preparing the lighting for the scene, but once the shoot started, she was very calm. Both of us have good chemistry."

Though there has been much buzz about the sexy scene, Chau believes that it is the romance that will move the audience.

She says: "I think that audiences will feel for the love between the three iGirl robots in the movie and their human boyfriends.

"But if my half-naked state and back are appealing to audiences, then it isn't too bad either. I didn't waste my efforts dieting before filming the scene."

•iGirl opens in cinemas tomorrow .

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline 'Sex symbol struggles to take off clothes'. Print Edition | Subscribe