Though published more than 20 years ago, with 13 million copies sold in 36 languages, Jung Chang’s memoir is outlawed in her home country.
“Wild Swans,” about three generations of women living through China’s Cultural Revolution, is an important one to tell.
“It’s also an inspiring story of courage, ambition and defiance that is epitomized by the fact that the book was written by a female author and remains banned in China to this day,” says Katie Leung, who plays Jung Chang-based character Er Hong in the first stage version of the memoir.
The role is quite different from Leung’s best-known one: Cho Chang in the “Harry Potter” movies. Er Hong comes of age during the Mao Zedong-led period known for horrific violence and oppression.
“Through her politically active parents, she is constantly exposed to the sacrifices and suffering which they are forced to endure to comply with the party’s ever-changing policies,” Leung says.
The actor’s grandparents were born in China and grew up in impoverished conditions before moving to Hong Kong to start a family.
Leung, however, is from Scotland. She’s never been to Boston before.
“I will be exploring as much of the city as possible and taking pictures obsessively since I am a culture vulture currently studying photography,” she says of her stay.
Leung says playing Cho Chang solidified her desire to pursue acting.
“Being able to work with so many talented professionals in the film industry has inspired me to follow in their footsteps and strive for a career that I enjoy rather than settling for second-best,” she says.