Singapore-born rising film actor Chin Han was thrilled to join an all-star cast including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard for Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” thriller that opens today (9/9). But with the exception of Cotillard, “I met them for the first time at the Venice Film Festival last week. I felt more grateful than anything – to be seen alongside them,” adds the actor, who plays a Hong Kong-based scientist in the film about a fast-spreading killer virus.
“To be told by someone like Laurence Fishburne that he enjoyed my performance was icing on the cake. To have a speed boat taking you through the canals Venice to the Lido for your movie premiere? That’s not something that happens every day.”
As if all that wasn’t heady enough, Chin Han is also featured in Gus Van Sant’s “Restless” drama of a terminally ill teenage girl (he plays her physician) and the young man who loves her – who come into contact with the ghost of a WWII kamikaze pilot. That film is soon to be shown at the Toronto Film Festival.
With his roles in “The Dark Knight” and “2012,” “it’s been an amazing four years,” Chin Han points out. So, how does he size up the quartet of Super Directors with whom he’s worked in that time?
“With Christopher Nolan, you feel you’re in the hands of a master with a labyrinthine imagination, who can keep track of all these complex ideas in his mind. You want to go wherever he takes you for that ride,” the actor says. “Gus Van Sant is like The Poet Filmmaker, for me, in his representation of life.
“Roland Emmerich is like a big boy with a huge imagination. Working with him, I got to indulge childhood fantasies like outrunning a giant tidal wave.
“And Steven Soderbergh – I’d say he’s the closest I’ve come to working with a cinema verite director. Everything is so authentic, no fuss, spare and realistic.”