Hong Kong born award winning actress and musician Josie Ho discusses her newest film Mother Tongue. A film revolving around a troubled woman trying to reconnect with her daughter after losing her following financial instability. Set to be released in 2022, and directed by Mike Figgis, Josie Ho opens up about her connection to her character, and all things working under Covid.
In your new film Mother Tongue, you play a woman trying to reconnect with her daughter who she had to give away due to financial instability, this film revolves around the themes of family and loss. What was it that attracted you to this role in particular?
Troubled women! I love films about them and their family! In Mother Tongue everyone is troubled. I’m a big advocate of wabi wabi, a traditional Japanese aesthetics with a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. In the film I play a mother who is trying to reconnect with her baby, which she was forced to give away by her mother when she was young.
How did you prepare for the character of Wao, and did you find any connection between yourself and this character?
I really empathise with the character of Wao, always trying to design a life that in her mind can impress her mother. As all characters, all she wants is love from her mother. I draw from personal experience to develop this character.
Mother Tongue is directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Mike Figgis, what was it like working with him?
Working with Mike was an unforgettable experience. He is real actor's director. He brings a unique perspective to the film.
Josie Ho Metalmagazine 3.jpg
How has working in this post-pandemic world been? With this movie coming out coming out, has this been an odd working experience following Covid? And did you find any aspect of movie-making has been lost through this pandemic due to restrictions/the ‘new normal’?
Extremely tough! Everything went out of whack! Things are trying to balance out but there is a process to experience. It has definitely has hampered everything. But when where there is a will, there is a way.
Could you tell us a bit about how you navigated the role of Wao, a lesbian mother who is in search of her daughter?
The character of Wao makes it easy to navigate through the role. Her single mindedness for her dream life and dream family gives hers a uber focused path. But as in reality the more you are uber focused, you can also miss what you really should be focusing on.
You obviously produced and starred in Habit, how was producing a film that you also star in, and do you think it changes your perception/attitude as an actress? Do you have any more producing work lined up?
It is a tough balancing act of acting and producing in the same film. I need to learn to switch my hats a bit better. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a control freak.
You are not just an actress, but you’re also in a successful band, what was it that attracted you to music? And how would you describe your music to someone who has never listened to it before?
When I was young I was fortunate enough to be hanging out with legendary singers of Hong Kong at that time. It was the biggest introduction to the music scene.
Josie Ho Metalmagazine 4.jpg
You obviously combined these two major passions in Finding Bliss, through music and film. Was the documentary something you had wanted to work on for a while?
The documentary came at the perfect time. It was during the time when my husband was going through some health issues, they were life or death. We’ve always wanted to explore our passions more and when my husband came out of the hospital alive, it was the perfect opportunity to go further this path.
The Icelandic media at the time called you the “Bjork of the East”? How was that as a compliment? Do you see the similarities?
It's definitely a compliment, I guess it is the spirit of doing something different, something outside of the box is the similarities we have.
Following the recent success of Squid Game, and the success of Parasite a few years ago, do you think this will change future projects for your film company which produces Asian movies which catered also for the Western world?
Our whole film company 852 Films was formed based on the amalgamation of east and west. My husband and I embody both. It is great to see the fruits of this east and west frontier blossom with films like Parasite and Squid Game. We were fortunate enough to be on this frontier with our film Dream Home in 2010, a slasher film about soaring property prices in Hong Kong. It was the early stages of this, Before you only gained notoriety, now the business has caught up with that.
Josie Ho Metalmagazine 2.jpg