Kelly Hu opens up about breast cancer and the “List of a Lifetime”
For Kelly Hu, the actress behind tough characters in action movies like X2: X-Men United and The Scorpion King and televisions Arrow, depicting a breast cancer patient, in the upcoming Lifetime movie List of a life, was a chance to play against the guy and dive into a world that is part of his real life.
“I unfortunately have a lot of experience with breast cancer in my family. My mother, my grandmother – I have an aunt who died of breast cancer – and so, yes, it was in. sort of cathartic, ”Hu told Yahoo Entertainment. . “I feel like, you know, going through this movie sort of like having a little bit of control over getting the message across, getting women to get checked out and do something, because I think a lot of women, when they are diagnosed, are afraid, afraid to move, to do anything. “
Hu, 53, had his own contact with the illness just before filming began.
“After I found out I had this role, I had a mammogram and had – in all these years of mammograms – my first irregular mammogram,” she says. “And that led to me having more mammograms and doing a biopsy. I had a biopsy done two days before filming started. So in preparation for this movie, I was experiencing my own fear of breast cancer. . Thank god it came back negative, and I’m fine, but it was really traumatic to go through this in real life and, you know, doing all that research for this character, it was such a strange coincidence. “
It took me weeks to finally get rid of this character. I have never had such a profound experience.
This only added to the intense preparation process for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month film in which she stars alongside a real breast cancer patient and, in Hu’s words, the global “goddess”, Shannen Doherty. (“You would never think she was living with stage 4 breast cancer,” Hu says. “When she walks into a room, she just fills the room. She’s amazing, amazing and so generous and truly a part of Brotherhood.”)
As for Hu, the subject’s weight definitely affected her.
“I had so many emotions… doing this research, I was in tears almost every day. Also while filming, I mean, not just during the scenes where I felt like I had to cry so much… All these scenes! ” Hu shares. “I did not have to [cry]. But just, like, it was there. I was so exhausted. And then at the end of the day, feeling so guilty for having such a great life given to me when there are so many other people suffering. It was so emotional for me. It took me weeks to finally get rid of this character. I have never had such a profound experience. “
The story of breast cancer is only part of the film, which stars Hu as a wise woman diagnosed with the disease. Her doctor tells her that any children she has had could have inherited a genetic mutation that increases their risk of ending up with a similar fate. So she reaches out to the unknown girl she abandoned for adoption – and whom the character of Doherty and her husband chose her to be their baby – decades ago. Mom and her daughter (Sylvia Kwan) end up bonding by writing down a list of things Brenda de Hu must accomplish before she dies.
Hu, a native of Honolulu whose origins include Chinese ancestors, notes that Kwan and many others involved in the film are Asian Americans, a group she desperately wants to remind to stay on top of their screenings. There is a myth, she says, that they don’t get the disease.
“I didn’t know that until a few years ago, when I was asked to do a public service announcement about this,” Hu explains. “And that’s why I think it was so great that they picked Asian women in those roles. It was also directed by an Asian woman, Roxy Shih; and our [cinematographer], Daphne Wu, was also Asian; our gaffer, Haneul Kim, is also Asian. It is important that we spread the word. Asian women can get breast cancer, obviously, my own mother, my grandmother, my aunt…. I don’t know where this myth started. “
The Susan G. Komen Foundation confirmed the statistics too real, while the Asian American Health Initiative reported in 2018 that Asian American women were the segment of the population with the lowest rate of cancer screening. breast, which often leads to later and more advanced diagnoses. case.
“You know, having a mother diagnosed at such a young age, it made me realize that it could happen to me. I’ve been having mammograms since I was 18,” Hu said. “Getting checked regularly and making sure, you know, that I stay on top. Plus, I was tested for the BRCA gene, and I came out negative, thank goodness. But that didn’t stop me from doing it. having mammograms and doing It’s become like a daily ritual for me, just part of what we do when we take a shower. I think if you treat it like that, like brushing your teeth, then you can stay on top. It’s not intimidating. “
Hu says that while she enjoyed playing a more vulnerable character, she’s ready for another comic book movie, especially in the wake of Shang-Chi and the legend of the 10 rings, Marvel’s first film with a predominantly Asian cast.
“I would love to have the opportunity to do it,” she said. “It’s such a fun genre, because you can play these characters, just these fantastic characters that are a lot bigger than real life. And, you know, of course I fight guys all the time with my guys. Martial Arts. “
“I wish I could see more Asian characters, you know, comic book characters come out,” Hu adds. “And feminine too. I wish I could see an Asian comic book character on screen.”
List of a life premieres Sunday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.