The Old Guard Ngô Thanh Vân

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Van Veronica Ngo as Quynh in "The Old Guard." Netflix

It"s certainly a concept that Ngo is very excited to explore. After 500 years of being trapped in an iron maiden, we find out at the end of the movie that Quynh has escaped. And she"s likely out for revenge.

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But Ngo admits it"s still unknown to her what the future holds for Quynh or the possibility of a sequel.

"Everyone"s so curious about her," Ngo said about the Quynh character to vinaanh.com over the phone from Vietnam. "When she meets Booker, there"s so much pain and anger in her. There"s a lot more we want to know about her, but you have to ask Netflix what will happen next."


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Van Veronica Ngo as Paige Tico in "The Last Jedi." Disney

"I remember being nervous and scared going into the project because they are so strict," Ngo said. "It"s understandable, because it"s so big, but I couldn"t see anything, read the script, take any pictures. Thankfully I had just one line."

She had no clue of the significance of the scene she was in until finally seeing the movie at the London world premiere.

"I saw the explosion on the screen and I was like, "Holy s---, I did that!"" Ngo said. "When I shot it I had no idea how big the ship was or the ship I was bombing, I just acted the way Rian told me. The way it turned out, it was a great feeling."


Ngo returned to Vietnam and continued to be a huge star. She starred in the action movie, "Furie," which would become the highest-grossing movie ever in Vietnam.

It led to another call from Hollywood again. This time it was Spike Lee.

Becoming Spike Lee"s Hanoi Hannah

"A casting agency here in Vietnam called me and said they wanted me to meet Spike Lee, I didn"t quite know who he was," said Ngo, who met the Oscar-winner in a Saigon coffee shop as he was scouting for "Da 5 Bloods." "After I met him I learned how big a deal he is."

The meeting went well because she was offered to play the Hanoi Hannah role in the movie. A radio personality during the Vietnam War, Hannah became legendary for her English-language broadcasts directed specifically to US troops to shame and intimidate them.


Lee used her in the same way he used Samuel L. Jackson"s DJ Mister Señor Love Daddy in "Do the Right Thing," a character that appears on occasion in the movie and speaks directly into the camera.


Van Veronica Ngo as Hanoi Hannah in "Da 5 Bloods." Netflix

Ngo said she spent months working on the Hanoi Hannah accent so her delivery would be perfect. It led to a one-day shoot of her part in the movie.

"The day before the shoot I spoke to Spike just about the tone he wanted and how he wanted me to sound," she said. "I tried different voices and he told me which one was right. How to deliver the line. I"m from Southern Vietnam and Hannoi Hanna was from the north so those are different accents. And Hanna also had a British accent. I just really wanted to get into it and get the tone right."

Ngo"s performance would heighten the authenticity of Lee"s movie about American Vietnam veterans who return to the country to find gold and bring back the remains of their fallen squad leader.

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It wasn"t before long that her phone rang again. This time it was the director of a Charlize Theron action movie that was about to start production.

Representing Vietnam in "The Old Guard"

Looking back on her first conversation with Gina Prince-Bythewood, Ngo said she could sense that "The Old Guard" director was feeling her out.

"We talked about filmmaking and I think she wanted to see how my English speaking was," Ngo said.

A week later she was told that Charlize Theron wanted to talk to her.


"I was nervous, I didn"t know what to expect," she said. "It was supposed to be a 15-minute phone call and we ended up talking for 45 minutes."

What made that even more remarkable was that Theron gave her that much time though she was already shooting "The Old Guard."

A few days later, Ngo got a text from Theron that she had just watched Ngo in "Furie" and wanted her to come on and play the role of fellow immortal warrior, Noriko, in "The Old Guard."

Most actors would be ecstatic by the opportunity and do whatever Theron and Prince-Bythewood said. But having already been in music, TV, and movies for years, Ngo was not a newbie and wanted to use the opportunity to represent her heritage.


Andy & Quynh.
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A post shared by Charlize Theron (
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"I read the script and I told Charlize about wanting to really relate to the character by acknowledging me as a Vietnamese actress," Ngo said. "China cinema is so dominant over all the Asian countries. For Western audiences, we all have black hair and brown eyes and we"re all Chinese and I don"t like that. I"m proud of my country, my nation, my people. We have a long history in cinema so it should be embraced. Every character I play in Hollywood I would love to show that pride of my nation."

Ngo said Theron was taken by that and suggested that the Noriko character be changed to a Vietnamese name. Though Ngo gave a list of names to consider, she said it was Prince-Bythewood who came up with Quynh.

"I don"t know where she found it, but I loved it," Ngo said.

As Ngo patiently awaits her next big Hollywood project, right now she said she"s enjoying the fruits of her labor. Like most of the world, "The Old Guard" is currently the top Netflix title in Vietnam, and sometimes she has to remind herself that she"s in a movie where she"s acting opposite Charlize Theron.