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June 20, 2017

Celine Tran, aka Katsuni, Stars in Cambodian Action Film

LOS ANGELES—Celine Tran, the retired adult performer also known as Katsuni, stars in the martial arts action thriller, Jailbreak, that is making the rounds on the international film festival circuit. Tran plays Madame, the sword-wielding gang leader of “The Butterflies,” in the NC-15 film produced by Kongchak Pictures. Shot in Cambodia, the movie follows a group of four special task force officers who are sent to a maximum security prison to escort a recently arrested mobster named Playboy (Savin Philip). Tran’s Madame Butterfly was betrayed by Playboy, who might give up inside info on her gang, so she goes on a mission to catch and stop him by any means necessary. Chaos ensues as the prisoners take over the grounds.  “Madame is both a warrior and a businesswoman,” Tran tells AVN. “She’s tough, always very serious—she really hasn’t time to lose. Whoever is in her way should die! This is why she also always has her katana with her. I love her of course!” The film premiered in Cambodia in late January before landing at Hong Kong’s Filmart and then the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, in April. Jailbreak next is going to Switzerland to compete in the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival on June 30 before debuting at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in July in South Korea. That showing will be followed by the North American premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. The French-Vietnamese actress says she secured the role in Jailbreak after a meeting at Filmart in Hong Kong more than a year ago when casting director Mike Leeder introduced her to Kongchak Pictures. “They were working on the preparation of a new movie planned in July. We spoke about our respective experiences and goals and I showed them my action demo reels,” Tran says. “They loved it. The movie is a comedy but really focused on fight scenes and martial arts (especially the Khmer national martial art: Bokator). “As I was already training a lot in Paris since about two years with a crew of stunt performers and choreographers, I was ready to work in this kind of project. We got a deal and they wrote a new character for me.” Tran’s character is in the movie from beginning to end; she spent 10 days training and about a week shooting under the direction of Italian filmmaker Jimmy Henderson. “We didn’t have much time. It’s a very humble budget,” Tran says. “Jailbreak is ambitious not for the amount of money but for all the goals it wanted to reach. Most of the actors are first of all real fighters, and the movie industry in Cambodia is just flourishing. But each one brought their own contribution and energy and if the movie is not ‘huge,’ it’s still a success and is really a nice way to promote Bokator. I’m glad I’ve been a part of it. I hope it will stimulate the movie industry in Cambodia.” Tran calls the experience shooting Jailbreak “quite intense and unusual.” “The most difficult thing was probably the heat and humidity. I wasn’t ready for that, Paris is more cold and rainy!” she says. “But it was a good challenge to adapt myself. For me the preparation of the movie has been as important as the movie itself, maybe even more.” Madame Butterfly speaks in French, Englisn and Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. “But I don’t speak Khmer which means I had to learn my dialogues phonetically,” Tran jokes. “We laughed a lot. Khmer is such a different language from French, it’s totally a different music. “I loved training and practicing the choreographies created by French and Cambodian stunt performer Jean-Paul Ly—it was so interesting. My partner, Tharoth Sam, was incredible. She’s a real professional fighter; she’s very impressive. “But unfortunately for different reasons we could shoot only a small part of what we’ve prepared. That’s part of the job to invest yourself 100 percent and still accept to ‘let go.’ The main difference between adult movies and mainstream movies are the level of frustration.” She even overcame a bad ankle sprain during her training for the role. “Which means I did my fight scenes with an injured foot and today I still didn’t recover,” Tran admits. “I can’t wait to be able to train again. But the good thing is that I’m very busy writing these months so it’s OK.” Indeed, Tran also this year launched a blog, Ma Vie de Ninja, where she writes about sport, wellness, culture and sex among other topics. She also answers readers' questions about their relationships and sexual issues. This month she added her first video in which she discusses “porn prevention.” Geared toward a younger audience, the video is designed to explain the differences between what fans see on screen in porn and reality.  Tran started her adult film career in 2002, performing in more than 400 adult films before retiring in 2013 to focus on her mainstream entertainment career. The ex-Digital Playground contract star bowed out as one of the winningest female performers of all time with more than two dozen international awards. She is the only three-time winner of AVN Female Foreign Performer of the Year, capturing the award three consecutive times from 2005-07.

 
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