By Chaz Lipp

For those of you who haven’t yet seen the mind-bending sci-fi thriller Looper, we enthusiastically suggest you do so as soon as possible. Check out our rave review here, which manages to avoid spoilers. Looper is definitely the kind of movie that plays better the less you know about it.

Summer Qing and Bruce Willis in Looper (Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

We had a chance to check in with Summer Qing, who makes the most of her limited screen time with a graceful, heartfelt performance as Old Joe’s (Bruce Willis) wife. Qing has been a film and television mainstay in China for the past 20 years. Loopermarks her debut in a U.S. production.

How did you first become involved with Looper?
First of all, Rian Johnson [Looper’s writer-director] had seen some of my past work and he thought I would be perfect. That’s basically how I was cast. This was my first Hollywood movie and I feel really glad and lucky to work with such an amazingly creative and professional crew and cast.
On the set of Looper (Photo: Summer Qing)

What was your initial reaction to the script?

I was like, “Wow, Rian is such a great storyteller!” I was really intrigued by the story. At the same time, I loved the fact that this female figure in the story is believable and represents China and Chinese women. That made me really like the script.
On the set of Looper (Photo: Summer Qing)

Did you know already that your husband would be portrayed by Bruce Willis?

Yes, I knew that Bruce Willis would be playing Old Joe when I read the script.
What was it like working with Bruce Willis?
I had a great experience working with Bruce. Every scene that I worked with him in, I felt loved and welcomed. Bruce is not just the tough guy we see on the big screen. In reality, he’s a tender and gentle person who even speaks slowly and softly. He’s full of love and care for the people he works with.
When you met for the first time, were you nervous at all?
The first time I arrived on set, I hadn’t officially met him yet. We didn’t know each other. It was not easy to work on this emotionally intense scene, [which was] the first scene we were shooting. What Bruce did was come to me, pulled me into his arms, and held me for almost a minute. That really warmed me up and got me into my character. From that day, every time I worked with him, I felt loved and cared about. That’s how I felt about Bruce the whole time I worked with him.
Were your scenes filmed in China or the U.S.?
The large majority of my scenes were shot in New Orleans. Only a few scenes of mine were shot in Shanghai, China.
Did you notice any differences or similarities between the Chinese and U.S. film industries?
I cannot say that Hollywood is better than the Chinese industry, or that the Chinese industry is better than Hollywood. I can say that there are good teams and bad teams, but I was glad and lucky that I worked with such a great team for my first time working in Hollywood. I didn’t feel like I was in a strange, unknown environment because the people were professional. I was in a great environment and didn’t feel left out. It almost felt more like a homecoming.
With director Rian Johnson (Photo: Summer Qing)

What was it like working with director Rian Johnson?

When I was reading his script, I was really touched. The first time we met was actually on Skype, a video conference call. I noticed that this academician director always had a beaming smile. When I met him on the set, I found out he wasn’t just an academician director. He’s also very passionate on the set. He gives compliments to people, but at the same time he’s in complete control of what’s going on. I think he’s a great director because he has both love and vision for what he wants. I’m confident that Rian is going to win an Oscar sooner or later.
Even though you don’t have scenes with them, did you meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Emily Blunt?
I spent a lot of fun times with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on set, both in the U.S. and in China. The first time we met, it was a scene where Bruce and I were shooting a night scene, and had to wait for the bar to close. So it was really late. Joseph didn’t have any work that day, but he came to say “hi” to me because we hadn’t officially met. We started talking to each other and Joseph showed a great interest in Chinese culture. He also mentioned that he and his father had an interest in China and was looking forward to working here. I even taught him some Chinese. He picked it up really fast. In terms of Emily, I didn’t meet her on the set. I have seen her past work and think very highly of her.
Summer Qing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Photo: Summer Qing)

Do you have plans to continue working on U.S. productions in the future?

I’m really glad to have Looperas my first Hollywood film. It was such an amazing crew and cast, such a great script. Everything was so perfect about Looper. I really cherished this opportunity, this beginning, to work in Hollywood. I also hope I’ll be working in Hollywood more in the future. As a matter of fact, there are a few projects in early development as we speak. There are some productions in early development in our own production company. This kind of co-production that really fused Western and Eastern culture perfectly together, I think that’s a trend for the next era in the film industry.
We thank Summer Qing for her time and look forward to seeing her in more films. Looper is currently in theaters, for more information visit the official website.
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Chaz Lipp

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