Crystal Liu can be emotionless

Chinese actress Crystal Liu.

In Hong Kong director Gordon Chan's latest wuxia flick The Four, she plays a woman named Emotionless, who has telepathic and telekinetic powers.

Her character is one of four martial arts masters, who possess superpowers and form a team working for a special forces department backed by the Emperor.

Their initial job is to solve a mystery involving the circulation of fake currency, but it seems an even larger conspiracy is unfolding.

The film also stars Anthony Wong, Deng Chao, Ronald Cheng and Collin Chou.

The 24-year-old is polite but detached and reserved over the phone from China, telling FiRST how she can also block out emotions in real life.

But she does so to act well.

"While I'm acting, I listen to no one," she said. "At that moment, there is only me. I block out everything else."

That's a considerable skill, considering how Liu had her fair share of pressures in life.

She grew up in a strict environment, in which her mother, dancer Liu Xiao Li, was reportedly overprotective and over-controlling.

Liu said: "My parents love me... But I still have to separate my personal feelings from work."

Her mother also apparently didn't have much to say about The Four - which opens here today - after watching it.

Liu admitted: "She didn't really have anything good to say about my acting.

"But she seldom praises me. She only likes classical things."

The media has also tried to get an emotional response from Liu with reports about her close relationship with her godfather, tycoon Chen Jinfei.

She brushed it aside, saying: "People have been reporting this for 10 years. It gives me no stress at all.

"I just do my own thing."

Indeed, Liu's reputation has been squeaky clean, although she has enjoyed reel romances with popular actors like Wang Lee Hom, Louis Koo and Deng Chao.

But for the young starlet, it's all work.

"To me, these handsome guys are characters, representations. I have to think they are the best men, or I can't act well in the films.

"My impression of them has always been formed through the character I'm playing."

So who does she prefer personally?

"Oh, my personal preference is very different from my characters'."

She may be tight-lipped, but she lets slip that her dream guy should be positive and tolerant.

"I don't have any fixed preferences," she said. "He doesn't even have to be in the entertainment scene."

But for now, work is her life. Despite her tender age, she's already played leading roles - most recently in last year's A Chinese Ghost Story - and acted in Hollywood films like 2008's The Forbidden Kingdom.

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