Photos: Eleanor Lee's social media
Eleanor Lee has been featured in a commercial for Apple and an ad for a global ice cream brand. And when her December school holidays begin she will head to China and Japan to start filming the period fantasy drama series Tribes and Empires, touted to be the most expensive Chinese fantasy production ever, with a budget of 300 million yuan (approximately S$67 million). But Eleanor can’t yet legally drive in Singapore.
The 16-year-old daughter of local host Quan Yi Fong and former actor Peter Yu made her first foray into showbiz and has big goals on her mind: Besides performing and singing, the teen hopes to collaborate with Taiwanese–American pop star Wang Lee Hom.
In an interview with Toggle, Yi Fong, an entertainment veteran herself, says she had her reservations about letting Eleanor take a crack at acting. But after discussing the details with the Tribes and Empires production team many times, the doting mother decided to let Eleanor take up the offer.
“It’s such a massive production, and the team behind it was persistent. Such opportunities don’t come by often,” Yi Fong said. “Eleanor isn’t too young or too old right now, and that’s the type of girl they wanted to cast for this role.”
According to her manager, Eleanor will play the younger version of one of the lead characters but declined to reveal other details.
This isn’t the first time the young star was handpicked for acting roles. Acclaimed Hong Kong filmmakers Ann Hui, William Chang and Christopher Doyle selected Eleanor for the lead role in “Old Record,” the Apple commercial meant for the Chinese market. And after the ad aired on Chinese television and online this year, the teen gained significant recognition in the Middle Kingdom.
School’s not out
But for a newbie actress who still has to do complete her homework, Eleanor has to put school first, says Yi Fong. The host adds that her daughter has received invitations to act in a number of television drama series and movies but Yi Fong turned down one particular movie on Eleanor’s behalf because filming was scheduled to take 45 days and she didn’t want it to disrupt her schooling.
Eleanor is still in secondary school, and after her year-end final examinations, she will take the next eight months to prepare for university entrance exams, though the choice of university will be entirely up to her.
However, China viewers will not have to wait long to see Eleanor grace the TV screens again. The actress is the new face of an international ice cream brand and recently flew to Barcelona to film a commercial which will air in China next year.
Asked how much ice cream she had to eat during the three-day shoot, Eleanor said, “Maybe six bars. They melted rather quickly, so the crew would keep replacing them. But I love ice cream, so I would eat everything. The team thought it was hilarious.”
This story first appeared on toggle.sg/ch
Story by Dion Tang