Megan Lai and her manly role

Writer: Casey Lee

Megan Lai plays a quiet barista named Abushi in the movie.

Based on the first novel by Gidden Ng, "Cafe Waiting Love" is set to release in Malaysian cinemas on 28 August and in Singapore on 4 September 2014. It stars Taiwanese actress Megan Lai as a quiet barista named Abushi, who mostly stays behind the bar to make that perfect cup of coffee.

Cinema Online managed to catch up with Megan Lai during a press conference to promote "Cafe Waiting Love", as she talks to us about how her role had affected her fan base, her performance and her mistaken identity.

Whose character do you think is the closest to the novel?
Personally I would like to say mine, but it's a little embarrassing to say it even though I appreciate the observations from the other cast who said so. My character was the last one to be revealed, so when I accepted the role and had to cut my hair, it was a well-kept secret. Since we could not let anyone know who was playing as Abushi, I had to stop myself from smiling, stayed behind the bar, and kept making coffee without saying a word. If I opened my mouth or smiled, people might know who I am, but if I kept quiet and they looked at me from a distance, they might think that I'm a man! So I guess under those circumstances, I went into a state as Abushi and kept that state throughout the shoot.

In some promotional events, you had to maintain your cool composure as Abushi, but in this press conference since you have to speak to the press, so I guess you have to break out of character for once?
Yes, that's true. In fact because I haven't smiled for so long during the shoot, when we had to start promoting this movie, I was in a dilemma if I wanted to stay in character as Abushi or present this movie as Megan Lai. I was afraid if there was a big contrast between the two person, it might cause a confusion because Abushi is too cool in person. But if I stayed as Abushi, people might misunderstand that I was unhappy because Abushi always has a sour face.

Megan Lai takes on a complete new look in the film.

So do you now have more female fans than male?
I think so too. All this while I've always had many female supporters, but after taking the role as Abushi, the age range of my female fans has been getting younger. There are now more secondary school girls now.

Since you had to act as a tomboy in this movie, what do you think when some people have said that you looked more masculine?
I think that is an honour because it no one has ever thought that I would be able to act in a male-oriented role, so this means that my performance as Abushi is a success. It never crossed my mind of being more masculine because there have been many who compared photos of me as Abushi with Korean male actors and find many similarities. It was a little unexpected, but I would take it as the best compliment for the role. I even noticed in the close-up shots, I looked like I had grown an Adam's apple. It was just a joke at first, but I slowly felt that the character was starting to grown on me. I think if I leave my hair long again, it might slowly disappear again (laughs).

Cinema Online, 01 September 2014