< The Cairo Declaration > coming soon next month Visit the movie of Mary Churchill
10 Jul 2015
Search the original photo of Mary Churchill to play real Mary
British young actress Isabella Charlton has been dynamically uncovered in China’s movie and TV scenes following her playing roles in Dragon Train, a TV series directed by Ying Da, and The Cairo Declaration movie directed by Hu Minggang. Reporter has learned yesterday the movie The Cairo Declaration is due to go online across China from August onwards. Isabella also reviewed her role in the movie yesterday. She played the youngest daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, Mary Churchill. She feels this is a great challenge for her. In order to perfect her play, she searches photographs of the real Mary Churchill.
Studied carefully at the original photos
Isabella speaks fluent Mandarin which she learned when she was growing up in Hong Kong. “It was an exciting challenge to play the daughter of one of Britain’s greatest wartime leaders at a time when China and Britain fought a common enemy, and I wanted to portray her as accurately as possible” said Isabella. She started by seeking out photographs of the real Mary Churchill, and built her character from there. “I must make sure my appearance is as close to Mary Churchill as possible, which is essential to sustain my acting.”
Becomes a busy actress in China
Besides her acting skills, Isabella is indeed also very knowledgeable. She graduated from the world’s well-known, Oxford University in England. After this, she moved to Beijing to develop her acting career in China. She started performing stand-up comedy and xiangsheng , then moved on to play in China movies.
Later this year, Isabella will be seen in a new Ying Da TV series, Dragon Train, alongside popular stars including Cao Yun Jin, Jiang Chao, Liu Jinshan, Liu YaJin, and Li Jianhua. It tells the true story of a Scottish entrepreneur who travelled to Qing Dynasty Beijing trying to build the first railway through China.
Early this summer, Isabella successfully played in a Chinese theatre adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth. She was on stage in Beijing’s Grand National Theatre and also toured Taiwan to perform the same production during late June. She was also featured in another historical TV drama, “Begonia still” drama which is in the process of post production.
She is very lucky to perform with famous Chinese actress Carina Lau
In her role as Mary Churchill, Isabella is seen having tea during a historic World War II meeting with Soong May-ling, the wife of Chiang Kai shek, played by Carina Lau. They are discussing the British presence in Hong Kong in the wake of Japanese occupation. Later, Isabella’s character Mary is seen in a restaurant with Stalin, who asks for signatures on the menu as an undertaking to meet again in Japan after the war is ended.
Isabella is fabulous
“When I was filming with Isabella, I could feel that she is very dedicated”, says Cao Yun Jin, who played alongside Isabella in Dragon Train. “Acting in Chinese means she has to prepare well in advance. She is always eager to learn and always open to advice and new ideas. I believe she has a great future.
Reporter Zhang Yue
3 Jul 2015
Graduated in Oxford University, stage and screen in China
Briton Isabella Charlton became favorite actress of leading Chinese director
Speed newspapers (Reporter Zhao Xiaoyan) Despite the challenges of performing in a foreign language, young British actor Isabella Charlton is proving that she can fill a wide range of roles on stage and screen in China. With her striking European looks and acting talent, she has already won exciting roles on TV, in the movies, and in theatre, and has worked with some of China’s leading directors and actors.
Compliment by leading directors
Isabella’s favorite performance to date was a lead role in a forth coming TV comedy series, Dragon Train, directed by Ying Da. The 30-part Dragon Train series will be seen later this year, and Isabella plays a tough young woman who helps her uncle as he strives to build a railway in Qing Dynasty China.
Before that, from August onwards, viewers can see Isabella in The Cairo Declaration, an online movie directed by Hu Minggang. The movie background is from World War II. She plays the part of Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter, Mary. Apart from this, Isabella was performing a lead role in a Chinese stage adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy, Macbeth. This is directed by Huang Ying, also performed with the tour in Taiwan and at the Grand National Theatre in Beijing.
“I have been lucky enough to work not just with great directors in China, but also some great actors”, says Isabella. In Dragon Train, she plays alongside Cao Yun Jin, Jiang Chao, Liu Jinshan, Liu Ya Jin, and Li Jianhua. And in the movie The Cairo Declaration, she performs with Carina Lau and Hu Jun.
Eager to step on international stage
Isabella was raised in Hong Kong, and started learning Mandarin at a very young age. She completed her education at Oxford University in England. But after she graduated, she felt it was a natural decision for her to move to Beijing to develop her acting career. Her childhood background makes it easy for her to work alongside Chinese actors and directors, and she fits in easily.
“As an actor, I think working as part of a production team is probably the same anywhere in the world. I’m also a huge fan of Chinese movies. I think they are beautiful, and I’m not surprised they are beginning to win attention from international audiences.” Says Isabella.
Ahead of future roles, Isabella is now also writing and filming a documentary on stand-up comedy, which is what she did first after she arrived in Beijing, along with xiangsheng. “I enjoyed starting my career when I was a student at Oxford, and I understand that success as an actor requires constant hard work and building relationships with others in the acting world”, says Isabella. “I have made a lot of friends through my work in Beijing, and even though I would obviously like to work internationally, I will be coming back here.”
25 Jun 2015
A reporter from Urban news went to visit <Cairo Declaration> “Churchill’s daughter”
This young British actress works busily and happily in China
Recently, a British actress to fame in the Chinese entertainment industry, the micro-blog on her topic of discussion is high. Reporter learned yesterday, the actress is Isabella Charlton. She is a 28-year-old. She plays the role of the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill, Mary Churchill in the film “Cairo Declaration” that is directed by Minggang. The Cairo Declaration premieres online for Chongqing viewers in mid-August, they will have a chance to watch a remarkable young British actress who is rapidly making a name for herself in China.
Luckily can be on same stage with Carina Lau and Hu Jun
Film “Cairo Declaration” is a movie which used World War II as background. In the film , Carina plays the role of Madam Song Mei Ling who is the wife of Chiang Kai Shek . Hu Jun plays the role of Shi Jianfeng, who is a codebreaker. Joan Chen, Tang Guoqiang, Han Xue, Yao Di are all played in the film too. Isabella who is the actor of Mary Churchill‘s with her western looks and striking blue eyes, she is ideally suited to the role. But it is only one of several in which her acting talents and Mandarin language abilities have started to impress some of China’s leading directors and producers.
Luck follows her everywhere in China
Isabella is 28 years old, blond, with a pretty western face. She is going to appear more on the screen and the stage. Today, she continues to play in China. After the “Cairo Declaration” was released, in the TV series “Dragon locomotive” that she starred is also about to launch. Dragon locomotive” is a 30-episode comedy series that takes place in the Qing Dynasty in China. This play is directed by famous director Ying Da, and Isabella has played with a lot of well-known comedian, including Cao Yun Jin, Jiang Chao, Liu Ya Jin in it. She’s also performed in another production about World War II “Begonia still ” while the launch of The Cairo Declaration will be followed later this year by a TV screening of Dragon Train. She will also appear on drama stage in the Chinese adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth.
Dialogue with Isabella
Fascination with the Chinese culture since she was young
Yesterday the reporter contacted Isabella Charlton who was still working in the scene. She said she grew up in Hong Kong. She began to learn Mandarin since primary school, and started to be interested in the Chinese culture. She graduated from Oxford University, the most well-known University in the world. She started to pursue her interest in acting while she was still at Oxford. She worked her way up from the bottom, selling theatre tickets. After that, she came to Beijing. “The reason I moved to Beijing to seek my career, because Beijing is undergoing an exciting period of development of the arts, I think here I can have a lot of opportunities to participate,“ Isabella spoke in fluent Mandarin.
Wish to be screen writer and director in future
“With the experience in China, I realize that my colleagues are both smart and work hard to pursue their dreams, that all impress me very much. Whether directors or actors, and other people of the team had given me lots of help. I feel that I was so lucky to acquire cooperation with all these people.” For the future, not only in acting. She wishes the chance to enter the editing and directing career on screen.
Reporter : Zhang Yue
18 Jun 2015
City newspaper (Reporter Zhao Xiaoyan) in 2015, an Eye-catching western actress impresses the China entertainment industry. Her non-stop schedule has seen her playing the role of Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter, Mary, in the movie The Cairo Declaration. She now appears as Miaoli, one of the leading characters in a recently-completed TV comedy series, Dragon Train. Rising young actor Isabella Charlton is starting to make a name for herself on the Chinese stage and screen. Reporter notices that Isabella certainly is a British talented actress, graduated from the Oxford University. She has multiple entertaining styles. She started stand-up comedy in Beijing, and now she is heavily involved in movies, TV series and drama play. One day she would even like to play the director role herself.
Talented in stand-up comedy/ movies/TV /drama play
28-year-old Isabella Charlton has a pretty western face. This year she will appear in movies and TV series. This August, she played the role of Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter, Mary in a Hu Minggang movie about China’s role in the Second World War called The Cairo Declaration. At the same time, she appears as one of the leading characters in a recently-completed 30-part comedy series, Dragon Train. This is directed by the highly-respected Ying Da and this drama will go on air later this year. For her drama performance, she recently appeared on the Taiwan stage in a Chinese adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth, produced by the globally-acclaimed Tadashi Suzuki, and directed by leading Chinese director Huang Ying.
Isabella’s performance styles are wide and board. She started out in Beijing by doing stand-up routines in English before moving on to use her Mandarin in xiang sheng performances. There is a lot of slap-stick in Dragon Train, and it gave Isabella the chance to work with Cao Yun Jin. Isabella is equally fantastic in drama play, Macbeth Chinese director Huang Ying praise her performance “You’re so good, you show very special and personal characteristics”.
Studied in various privilege drama schools for high level of performance
It isn’t altogether surprising that rising young actor Isabella is starting to make a name for herself on the Chinese stage and screen. She began learning Mandarin while she was still at primary school, she always felt deeply engaged for Chinese culture. Her acting interest began to blossom during her student years at Oxford University in England. Last summer she studied at France’s famous Ecole Philippe Gaulier just outside of Paris, studying courses that have also attracted some of the West’s leading comic actors, such as Sacha Baron Cohen. Although she enjoys comedy a lot, her recently-completed roles away from Dragon Train demonstrate that she has not abandoned her interest in serious acting.
From here, Isabella aims to continue driving her career forward by spending time writing her own scripts . She has already filmed her own short documentary about stand-up comedy, and is now editing it. She hopes that one day, she may even move into editing and directing. “I just want to continue growing into my professional career, and I would like to get experience in the US”, says Isabella. “But I shall always be drawn by China and what is happening here as the industry develops. So I’ll always be coming back.”
Dragon Train will be arriving soon
11 Jun 2015
UK talented woman actress recruited by Ying Da for important role
“Dragon Train”, a new TV series directed by Ying Da, who previously directed “Wo Ai Wo Jia”, will launch on national TV in China soon. It casts a galaxy of popular stars including Cao Yun Jin, Jiang Chao, Liu Jinshan, among others. There will also be a remarkable British actress who graduated from Oxford University named Isabella Charlton. Isabella admitted that acting in this comedy let her feel exceptionally easy.
A Scottish lady “Miaoli” in a Qing Dynasty costume TV series
Dragon Train is based on the true story of a Scottish entrepreneur who travelled to Qing Dynasty Beijing in the hopes of building the first railway through China. Isabella plays the entrepreneur’s niece, Miaoli. “Miaoli’s uncle brings over the idea of building a train…he comes to Beijing with all these great ideas and raises all this money, but then it never really gets done,” Isabella says. “And that’s because the Qing Empress Dowager has a court that’s much divided, including very conservative courtiers who truly believe the train is evil and try to sabotage the project.”
Isabella speaks fluent Mandarin that she learned when she was at primary school in Hong Kong. Isabella’s performing experience in Beijing started with stand-up comedy and xiangsheng, so she felt completely at home working on a comedy with Ying Da. “There are some really funny scenes, such as one where the courtiers are claiming a rabbit told them the train is evil”, she says.
First interview with Ying Da was tested Chinese.
According to Cao Yun Jin, another up and coming actor who plays another lead role alongside Isabella in Dragon Train, “When I was filming with Isabella, I could feel that she is very dedicated, especially since Chinese is not her native language, acting in Chinese in a Chinese movie means she has to prepare for filming well in advance, and when she arrives on set she’s always very diligent about exploring more appropriate ways to deal with the movie and the script. She is always eager to learn and always open to advice and new ideas. I believe she has a great future.”
Filming on Dragon Train started in Tangshan, Hebei Province, last December and ran until this spring, with four similar series on the development of Tangshan’s industrial history now planned to follow. Dragon Train has won favorable early reviews already. The result is a vivid and memorable portrayal of a real historical event viewed through the eyes of ordinary people.
Isabella completed her degree at England’s world-famous Oxford University, and began sharpening her acting skills while she was still an undergraduate. But even her successes as a student at Oxford could not prepare her for the nerve-wracking experience of her initial meeting with Ying Da during her audition for Dragon Train. “He spoke to me at first entirely in Mandarin, of course”, says Isabella. “But then suddenly he switched into perfect English. I was astonished. Obviously, he was testing my Chinese!”
Introducing the multi talented Isabella Charlton, who is working on quite a few exciting projects!
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
My name is Isabella Charlton and I started performing in theatre while I was a student at Oxford University. I performed in numerous productions there and was in the Oxford University Showcase, where twelve students are chosen to perform in in one of London’s West End theatres for an audience of acting agents. I took the Shakespeare and his Contemporaries course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and attended the Actor’s Summer Conservatory at Yale Drama School.
I grew up in Hong Kong and that is where my family is based and I learned Mandarin Chinese at primary school. I started acting in film, TV productions and adverts when I moved to China after Oxford, and now . I work mainly in Beijing. I started by doing Stand up comedy in English in Beijing, and then switched to doing ‘Cross talk’ (a similar equivalent in Chinese but with two people on stage). From there, I got to know a lot acting and industry people, and began working in TV and film. I managed to win numerous smaller and medium sized roles in TV and film before I got my big role for in a 30-episode comedic TV series called ‘Dragon Train’ set in the Qing dynasty and directed by Ying da, a well known director in China. I act in both Mandarin and English.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations?
I love comedy writers and performers like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Back in Asia, I love the comedic work of Stephen Chow. It was amazing when I got to audition for one of his films, even though I didn’t get the part. I love the use of physical comedy and its unexpected twists. I loved the film “Flirting Scholar”, particularly the cockroach scene. It’s a scene in which one of the main characters is trying to outdo a love rival in terms of the bad things that happen so he can get sympathy and love from a girl, and he pretends a cockroach that was accidentally stepped on is his beloved pet. I also love films like ‘House of Flying Daggers’ directed by Zhang Yimou – it’s visually stunning and your eyes are always stimulated color pallets that remind me of paintings.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I took the course Shakespeare and his contemporaries at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and the Actor’s Summer Conservatory at Yale Drama School. At Oxford University, I also got to work with voice expert Margo Annett while I was preparing for the Showcase. She gave me mentoring and training sessions. I spent last summer at Ecole Philippe Gaulier just outside Paris studying courses in ‘Clown’ and ‘Le Jeu’. It’s not circus clown, but rather French theatre Clown, derived from Lecoq school of theatre. It’s all about finding your inner idiot, and is actually where Sacha Baron Cohen trained. I recently took Solo Improv and Improv 1 at Second City in LA and Chicago, respectively. I love Improv, and plan to take more classes whenever I am in the US.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
I really enjoyed playing the part of Miaoli in ‘Dragon Train’, the Ying da TV series I mentioned, because I got to work with a well known comedian in China, called Cao Yin Jin. He’s very funny and fun to work with. The TV series was set in the Qing dynasty and our characters are both working together trying to bring the first railway to China. It’s a physical, slap-stick comedy. There are a lot of funny scenes where my character kisses him or hugs him, and his character is very conservative so he reacts like I’ve done something terrible in a very physical way. It was also a great chance to work with the director, Ying da, who’s also very well known in China. He’s a veteran of directing sitcoms in China so I learned a lot from him.
What has been one of your biggest achievements in your career so far?
Again, it was landing the part of Miaoli in ‘Dragon Train’. As well as getting to work with some great people, it gave me the opportunity to establish myself on Chinese TV.
What projects do you have coming up?
I am currently doing a Chinese theatre adaptation of Macbeth, directed by a cutting-edge theatre director in China called Huang Ying, and produced by Tadashi Suzuki.
We are taking the show on tour in Taiwan next week, and will perform at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park Theatre in Taiwan to an audience of 800 at our first stop.
Who would be your ideal co-star and why?
Someone is who is respectful and fun. You can be on set for a long time, so it’s always great to work with someone you get on with or who shares the same sense of humor. But also someone who has respect for the work, because you’ve got to take it seriously.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to grow as a performer and spend more time in the US, but I’d always come back to China for projects as well. I hope to write more and hopefully perform what I what write on stage or on screen. I also love directing and editing. I filmed a short documentary about stand up comedy and I’m currently in the process of editing it.
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
Keep doing what you love and don’t try to make sensible choices if they stop you from doing that.
Young Briton finding her feet in new Chinese series
30 April 2015
By Belle Taylor ( China Daily)
Isabella Charlton plays in Longhao Ji Che, a 30-episode series based on a true story in the Qing Dynasty. Provided To China Daily
With her blonde hair and fair complexion, Isabella Charlton may have the Hollywood look, but those blue eyes are set on China.
“I think China is the ideal launching point to get into film and TV, there are opportunities here you might not get elsewhere,” Charlton says. “Beijing is really where all the exciting action is in the film industry right now, and I can only see it getting stronger.”
Charlton, originally from the United Kingdom, is a qualified barrister, but after a few years in the courtroom she decided her real ambition was to be in front of a camera. And the booming Chinese movie industry seemed an obvious choice for the fluent Mandarin-speaker.
The 28-year-old recently finished filming Longhao Ji Che, or Dragon Train, a TV series based on the true story of a Scottish entrepreneur who traveled to a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) court in the hope of bringing a railway project to China. She plays the character Miaoli in the 30-episode series that is set to air in the fall.
“My character is the niece of this British guy who comes over to China and brings over the idea of building a train … He comes here with all these great ideas and raises all this money but then it never really gets made,” Charlton says.
“But the reason it doesn’t get made is because it’s during the Qing Dynasty and the empress dowager has a court that’s very divided and she has some very conservative factions who really believe that the train is evil and they try to sabotage it,” she says.
“There are some really funny scenes where they say that a rabbit told them it was evil.”
The show’s director is Ying Da, who rose to prominence in the 1990s with the show Wo Ai Wo Jia, or I Love My Family. When Charlton was first introduced to Ying he spoke to her in Mandarin before suddenly switching to flawless English. “I was like, ‘what!’” Charlton demonstrates her shock, mouth dropping open with surprise. She laughs.
“He was obviously just testing my Chinese.” She passed the test. Charlton secured the role, but admits she found it difficult at first, her previous acting experience being predominantly theater based.
“It probably shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, but it was very hard work, getting up at 4 am to get hair and makeup done, having to do an hour, sometimes two hours more (of hair and makeup) than the guys,” she says.
Her Chinese co-stars say she took the long hours in her stride.
“When I was filming with Isabella, I could feel that she is very dedicated, especially since Chinese is not her native language”, says Cao Yunjin, a comedian and actor. “She is always eager to learn and always open to advice and new ideas. I believe she has a great future.”
Charlton grew up in Hong Kong, where her British parents were then living, but later moved to the UK to study law. She became involved in theater at university, and the experience convinced her that her heart was in acting – and in Asia, so she packed up and moved to Beijing.
She arrived in the Chinese capital in 2012, securing small roles in two historical TV drama series, Eastern Battlefield and Haitang Yijiu. She also started to develop an interest in xiangsheng, or cross-talk, a kind of Chinese standup comedy in which two people engage in onstage banter back-and-forth using rhyming slang and telling stories for laughs.
“I had done standup comedy before in English, so to do it in Chinese seemed like a natural progression,” Charlton says.
“Beijing’s a great place to get into xiangsheng, there are great teachers, and then comedy brought me more into acting.”
Charlton is currently filming a movie called The Cairo Declaration, about China’s role in World War II. She is playing Mary Churchill, the youngest daughter of late British leader Winston Churchill. After that, she has plans to tour Taiwan with a lead role in a Chinese stage production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.