We speak to Hannah Quinlivan, currently starring in Skyscraper, about being a heroine, her love of fashion, and how she nailed a casting three days after a C-section
Hannah Quinlivan is busy. Actress, model, campaigner, mother-of-two – it’s hard to believe that she is just 24.
After making her debut in various TV shows, the Taiwanese-Australian actress is now starring in Skyscraper, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell. This isn’t her first foray into working with the Hollywood big leagues: in 2017, she starred in action thriller S.M.A.R.T Chase, alongside Orlando Bloom.
We caught up with Hannah to discuss her new movie, how she met her husband (Mandopop megastar Jay Chou) and what it’s been like working with some of the biggest names in the game.
Tell us about Skyscraper…
‘I actually did the casting three days after my C-section – my agent told me about the role and the team asked when I could give them the casting tape. I was going into hospital to have a C-section, but three days later, I turned up and showed them my casting tape. [When we filmed it] I couldn’t stand up, but my husband suggested that I sit in a wheelchair and we zoom in on me. We even got fake guns into the hospital – we were so worried that someone might see us!’
What was it like fighting Orlando Bloom in S.M.A.R.T Chase?
‘I learned how to do fighting sets – a coach will teach you a set and then I did it with Orlando. It felt like a dance to me sometimes, as you get into the flow of things and put your emotions into it. Orlando was a good person to work with and a real gentleman, he used to ask, “Did I hurt you?” [when we were doing the scenes]. We shot the movie in Shanghai, so I would take Orlando out when we were finished filming and he would try Asian food with us.’
What was it like growing up with your time split between Australia and Taiwan?
‘It was very special when I was younger, as I found that in Asia, you have to listen to what your parents say and can’t talk back, whereas [in Australia] my dad was more like, “You can talk back, I want to listen to your opinion.” They were two very different cultures, and it was fun because you can take the good aspects out of each.’
How did you meet your husband, Jay Chou?
‘I went to a casting for his music video – he was the director so we met each other then. I had just got back to Taiwan and asked him for recommendations on nice places to go and he offered to show me around!’
Is it hard to achieve a balance between work and family life?
‘I think I’m quite lucky because my mum is around and she helps me. I didn’t think I would get married and have kids at a young age, but it turned out this way and I’m happy! My husband is really helpful too!’
Can we talk about your dog café?
‘I used to want to be a vet, because when I was younger, I had a rabbit that died in front of me after a dog tried to attack him. It really hurt me that I couldn’t save him, so I wanted to learn how to help animals. Now, I also have a brand called WOOF which focusses on the world and animals – one of our t-shirts has a picture of a shark on with the words “I need them more than you do” referring to their fins, which we eat in Asia. My café is in Taiwan, and people can bring their pets, drink coffee and have a great day out!’
Let’s talk fashion…
‘I think fashion is really important. People can wear the same clothes, but have a different vibe, and I think that’s really special. I’m a big fan of Alexander Wang – his clothes are fun, young, cool and they’re unisex. For more special occasions, I like Miu Miu because it’s cute and girly.’
What have you learnt from the big names you’ve worked with?
‘Dwayne [Johnson] is a really nice guy. After we finished the movie, he saw it before I did and sent me a message saying that I did a good job: he just gives people positive vibes. It’s really touching and has really encouraged me, because I know that he respects and cares about me. It means a lot.’
Skyscraper is in cinemas now