Eleanor Lee lands drama lead role opposite Leon Lai

Chinese drama 'Overseas Security Officer' marks the Hong Kong heavenly king’s return to the small screen after 23 years

Eleanor Lee and Leon Lai at Overseas Security Officer's press conference
Eleanor Lee and Leon Lai are the male and female leads of Overseas Security Officer

Photos: Summer Star

There’s no stopping Eleanor Lee. The 17-year-old (she will be turning 18 in October) who just wrapped up filming for a high school drama series is going to star in the biggest project of her acting career so far – she will be acting alongside Hong Kong singer-actor Leon Lai, 50, in an upcoming 40 episodes Chinese TV drama called Overseas Security Officer.

This show marks Leon’s return to the small screen after a 23-year hiatus. He last starred in a Hong Kong drama in 1994.

Both Leon and Eleanor were formally introduced as the male and female leads in a press meet in China last Saturday where it was revealed that they will play a pair of Chinese national security officers, Wei Tian (Leon) and An Da (Eleanor), whose various missions include protecting their fellow countrymen and ensuring the safety of various national projects taking place overseas.

Overseas Security Officer is said to be the first of its kind produced in China, given its scale and subject matter of the show. Filming began in end-May and is set to take place in China, Dubai and Morocco. The show will be directed by Liu Shun An with martial arts choreography by Bai Hongjiang.

We caught up briefly with Eleanor via an e-mail interview in between her busy filming schedule to find out what it's like to be working opposite one of the most iconic personalities from Hong Kong.

Eleanor Lee and Leon Lai at Overseas Security Officer's press conference
Eleanor Lee and Leon Lai at Overseas Security Officer's press conference

Toggle: Tell us how did this acting opportunity for Overseas Security Officer come about? Why do you think you were picked to play the female lead?
Eleanor: The company arranged for me to meet with the creator of this drama series and to show them pictures and show reels of my previous works. I didn’t ask the director why he chose me, I will just do my part and cherish every chance [that comes my way] so that I can live up to everyone’s expectations.

Tell us more about your character, what kind of a relationship does she have with Leon’s character?
We have a superior-subordinate relationship [in the show]. This is an occupational drama series and the story talks about how we’d execute overseas missions together; it’s more about the lives and relationships between colleagues.

Sounds like this will be an action-laden role, will you be undergoing any training for this show? Will you have any fighting scenes?
I’ve been training – the production team is very professional and enlisted the help of several Chinese national security officers to helm our training sessions and help us understand our roles better and easily. My character is someone who is well-versed in fighting, so, naturally, there will be a fair bit of action scenes.

How does it feel to be acting with a superstar like Leon?
We’re all professional actors on set, when filming begins we’re all interacting as our characters, but of course, I feel excited too.

How did your first meeting with Leon go and what is your first impression of him?
I was really excited and very grateful. He is a very amiable and approachable person.

Eleanor Lee at Overseas Security Officer's press conference
Eleanor Lee at Overseas Security Officer's press conference

You’ve been acting for two years and Leon should be the biggest star you’ve worked with thus far. How will you prepare for this role?
I have to work even harder and treat this show and role seriously. I hope that I won’t disappoint everyone – much less drag him (Leon) down [with my performance].

What was your mum, Quan Yi Fong’s reaction when she heard that you’d be working with Leon Lai?
My mum has always been very supportive of my work. She hopes that I can live up to people’s faith in me and hopes that I can improve further at work. She hopes that I’d cherish every role I get… She told me to do a good job and be a good actor.

You’ve been taking on projects, one after another, and just recently wrapped up Fantastic Baby. How are you coping with all these?
Acting is something I love doing and when you’re doing something you like, you won’t find it tiring. 

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