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'Harry Potter' starlet a hit in China
Updated: 2005-11-25 14:57

Practically whispering her shy brogue to a Chinese translator, young Scottish actress Katie Leung faced the press in China's capital with poise and a bit of wonder on Thursday.

Katie Leung at the world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' in London, November 6, 2005. Leung, who plays Harry's crush Cho Chang stopped in Beijing on Thursday and was headed for Hong Kong with Warner Bros. executives eager to build on what has already become the studio's biggest film premiere in China. [Reuters]

Leung, who plays Harry's crush Cho Chang in " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," stopped in Beijing and was headed for Hong Kong with Warner Bros. executives eager to build on what has already become the studio's biggest film premiere in China.

Though she speaks no Chinese, Leung, 18, said she was excited to meet "Harry" fans at a multiplex cinema near Beijing University.

"I think everybody here is proud of me. I'm Chinese and I think my trip here will be good for the film," said Leung, whose parents left Hong Kong before she was born.

"Goblet" was the first of the four "Harry" films to open in China day-and-date with the United States, Nov 18.

In its opening weekend in China, "Goblet" earned $4.1 million. By November 22 it had amassed $5.1 million, surpassing the $4.7 million racked up in China last fall by "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

"China is not a market that is used to frequent talent visits, so having Katie Leung there during our second week of release will contribute to maintaining the momentum on the movie," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of Warner Bros International in an e-mail.

Chinese reporters gathered around Leung in a luxury Western hotel meeting room, fired questions and snapped pictures as she sat by posters of "Harry" star Daniel Radcliffe.

"Your role is not so big, are you depressed?" asked one reporter, and another queried, "How do you deal with the envy of Harry fans who have said nasty things about you on the Web?"

Wearing a magenta sweater with a swooping neckline over black pants, Leung smiled from under her long raven bangs and said she was happy simply to be in so big a film.

"Because Cho's character is so much about her image, because that's what Harry's attracted to, her beauty, I know I just can't satisfy everybody," Leung said.

Chinese reporters wanted to know if Leung, as Cho, was excited about giving Radcliffe, as Harry, his first kiss in the next film based on the best-selling novels by J.K. Rowling, which is due to begin shooting in England early in 2006.

"Yes," she said, blushing.

Ellen Eliasoph, Warner Bros. Pictures managing director for China, who was traveling with Leung, said, "Chinese really want to connect to something extra in the films they see. In this case, Katie's it."

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