Pole-dancer Rebecca Chen and YouTuber Melody Low make film debuts in erotic thriller Siew Lup

First-time actress Rebecca Chen, who stars in local erotic thriller Siew Lup, says her dance and modelling background have helped her feel comfortable in her own skin

Both Rebecca Chen (far left) and Melody Low are making their film debuts in Siew Lup. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The script of local erotic thriller Siew Lup - rated R21 for "frequent depiction of simulated sexual scenes coupled with nudity", according to the Films Classification Database - would have been enough to scare off most women, but not first-time actress Rebecca Chen.

Speaking at a press conference at Hotel Vagabond on Monday, she says: "I've always been comfortable in my skin as I'm a dancer and I do a lot of modelling as well."

Chen, 26, plays the lead character, former prostitute Mia, who falls for a caring funeral director Wu (Louis Wu) while stuck in a soured relationship with roast pork seller Quan (Sunny Pang).

After selling out quickly at the Singapore International Film Festival last year, the movie, whose title means "roast meats" in Cantonese, opens in cinemas tomorrow.

Chen says that her "very open-minded" mother, 50, and 25-yearold sister will watch it, but not her father, 52 - "he's not very happy about it, but he's willing to accept" the situation.

She started out doing Malay cultural dance at the age of 16 as a cocurricular activity and later picked up salsa and pole-dancing. She has performed at clubs such as The Butter Factory and Attica Singapore.

Despite her inexperience in acting, her ability to move won over director Sam Loh, 50. He says: "I see that as a strength for the film, that athleticism and body language."

He had first approached model and YouTuber Melody Low, 24, for the role of Mia, but was rejected by her. She had appeared in figureflaunting outfits for the local music video Lingo Lingo, but drew the line at appearing topless.

Still, she accepted the role of Xuan, a young woman with a terminal illness, which called for lovemaking scenes with Wu. She says: "I was a little nervous so I drank some alcohol that day to ease my nerves."

While her parents are "okay" with the film, she does not plan to let her more conservative 84-year-old grandmother know.

Lest you think that the nude scenes were a cinch for Chen, she says that she was not very comfortable with them. "I thought it through a lot and prepared myself emotionally."

It helped that she had a competitive streak. After watching Loh's previous erotic thriller Lang Tong (2014), she had decided: "I want to do better of course, I want to make it look as natural as possible."

As for the inevitable online remarks about the actors' bodies, their acting and even their characters, she says: "My dad has advised me to not look at comments so I don't feel hurt or in any way make myself feel inferior."

Low says she would take on board constructive criticism, but would just "ignore unreasonable people".

They both want to continue acting in movies; Low can be seen next in a supporting role in the local comedy, Lucky Boy.

Chen - who calls the sizzling Sharon Stone thriller Basic Instinct (1992) one of her favourite films - is wary of getting stereotyped as "the girl who strips". But she would be up for a Charlie's Angels type of role - "fighting but still sexy".

• Siew Lup opens in cinemas tomorrow.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline Pole-dancer Rebecca Chen and YouTuber Melody Low make film debuts in erotic thriller Siew Lup. Subscribe