Starring in the latest zombie virus outbreak movie Open Grave, Hong Kong actress Josie Ho is back on the silver screen in America. Her most notable gig in the States so far was appearing in the film Contagion; those who aren’t familiar with her acting career may recognize her as one of Forbes' 20 Most Intriguing Billionaire Heiresses. In Asia, Josie Ho is as much a household name as Paris Hilton—she’s a major trendsetter in both her country’s music and fashion scenes. While Josie Ho has just begun to make waves in America, you can bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of her soon. Read about her latest film, Open Grave, which hits select theaters January 3 and is now available on VOD and iTunes.
Playboy.com: I’m sure you can’t tell us much about your role in Open Grave—the trailer is such a tease! But can you talk to us about what drew you to the role?
Ho: I think it’s a very new experience for me. Over the course of my career as an actress I’ve never had the opportunity to play someone who was mute. It takes a lot of projection and body language when you can’t speak lines. [laughs] I think getting myself really clear on the subtext of what needed to be projected to the audience was challenging at times. It was really hard because feelings come in waves, right? So I had to analyze the emotions I was feeling as that character, pick out the most important ones and go from there.
Playboy.com: It must’ve been interesting to have that kind of a role in a horror film!
Ho: Yeah, that was definitely one of the fun parts about Open Grave. But what I loved the most was that I got to run around a forest in a foreign country. I had never been to Hungary before shooting this film. I’m really thankful that films have allowed me to travel as much as I have.
Playboy.com: Do you enjoy acting in horror flicks?
Ho: I do, it’s exciting. I’m pretty cool with all of it, the stories don’t affect me. It’s not like I don’t get into the character—while you’re shooting you’ll maybe get really into the situations and surroundings, but when the movie is done everyone is just packing their bags and it’s over. There are suddenly no scary zombies or monsters. But, in all honesty, I am really afraid of working on ghost stories. Open Grave was fine because it’s a zombie virus film, but I really fear ghosts. You always have to shoot in overly creepy places for ghost films. That can be pretty hard for me!
Playboy.com: In Open Grave you got to work with a great cast, which included Joseph Morgan!
Ho: Working with Joseph was very entertaining. He’s such a smart, fun and talented person. He gave a lot of really great suggestions for acting. I found myself really taking into consideration what he was saying. It was fun to party with everyone. I’m just so happy I got to work with such a great crew of people.
Playboy.com: Coming from the privileged background you do, do you sometimes feel like you need to prove yourself as an artist in the industry?
Ho: I used to think like that when I was younger, but I don’t now. I want to lead a fulfilling life and do things I enjoy. I am very greedy in that sense, I guess. [laughs]
Playboy.com: What’s something that fans in America may not know about you?
Ho: I think they may not know that I sing. Do they know about that? I actually started out wanting to be a singer before I got into acting. I was a pop singer.
Playboy.com: Are you still singing these days?
Ho: I’m finally getting into it after I found my calling, rock ’n’ roll! I realized that I can actually rock out! But I’m very honest, I don’t write my music much, my band does. I just sing it. I’m enjoying both my music and film careers.
Playboy.com: You have your hands in a lot of pots. What’s in store for you in 2014?
Ho: I have a comedy about badminton coming out. We’re going to start shooting it next month. We’re just in the midst of preproduction right now. I’m also producing that project. Then I have a TV series coming up right after I wrap the badminton thing and I’ll probably be releasing an album around October.
Playboy.com: Is this the first time you’re producing?
Ho: I’ve done it once. This is sort of my second time. I enjoy being in front of the camera more...I just did it because I wanted to find really good scripts and characters. You’re very passive as an actor, otherwise.
Playboy.com: What’s your…
Favorite food: Sweet and sour pork. [laughs] It has to be deep fried with the sauce on it.
Favorite drink: I think it’s just juices; I like to drink a lot of juice.
Worst pickup line you’ve heard: I was in a club and some guy walked up to me without asking my name or anything and said, “What’s your number?” It was very forward.
First memory of Playboy: Machoism, the Bunnies and the Mansion.