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15th October 2013
Exclusive Interview: Kathy Tong
(Actor Portraying Mona Sax, Max Payne 2)

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne! To celebrate the lovely Kathy Tong has kindly answered some questions about portraying Mona Sax in the game; her experiences on set and her views on the character. Read the interview below:
(You can also follow her on Twitter @kathyatong to hear more news about her current projects!)

[WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR MAX PAYNE 2]

1. How did you get the role? 
Rockstar games held a casting at Donna DeSetta's casting agency in NYC for the role of Mona Sax and Max Payne. Tim and I were paired together. Please find attached the original photo from the casting session.

Photo from casting. Supplied by Kathy. (See full image HERE)
 
2. How much of an idea of the character did you have before shooting, either through preparation material or your own personal ideas on the character?
I had read a copy of the script before we started shooting and I knew Mona was a contract killer but I felt there was a softness underneath her rock hard exterior that she a never able to explore because she was led down a dark path. I had my own idea of this woman struggling with conflicting emotions and the challenges it presented in her everyday existence.

3. What was the most challenging aspect of portraying the character of Mona Sax?
The most difficult thing for me was the physicality of the shoot. The guns were unimaginably heavy. I had never held a gun before. My arms were literally shaking after two minutes.

4. How was your typical day in the studio?
Gosh , it was so long ago. I can't even remember the name of the studio but I do remember the catering was exceptional and we were listening to Tiesto while we were shooting. We started at 8am in hair and makeup and finished at 6. The vibe was really relaxed. The director John Zurhellen is a cool guy.

5. Do you have any favourite scenes from the game?
I like Chapter 5 when Mona arrives at the Funhouse and Chapter 7 when Mona asks Max to walk away.

6. From some of the raw unedited photographs, the filming location looked very much like a blank canvas. How challenging was acting, reacting and interacting with events or objects that would only be seen after the images were edited?
It was pretty bizarre and my first experience working in that environment. You really needed to be centered and focused to capture those moments and and make them believable so they would translate later in the editing process.


Unedited photographs, images from Max Payne Wiki.


7. The game had quite an emotional ending; playing through it you weren’t quite sure if anyone actually won. With Mona especially her demise was shocking! There was a special ending where she survived for fans who played through the game on a harder level. If the character did survive, what would you have liked to have happened next?
I am a sucker for a good love story. Bad girl goes straight but stays bad ass and rides off into the sunset with Max.

8. Did they let you keep the red jacket?
No they did not but lots of people have asked me that.

9. What projects are you currently working on?
I play the part of 'Raylene' in Woody Allen's new film 'BlueJasmine'. My modeling career keeps me pretty busy . My main focus is my writing. I am currently editing my first novel and I am super excited about it.

10. Tell us a little about your interests! Do you have any favourite books, films, or bands that you particularly enjoy?
I love electronic music. I don't know a lot of the artist's names but the sound really speaks to me. I am really loving Bloc Party and a band from Vancouver called Cinderpop. True confession... A sappy pop song can make me cry. I just finished reading the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, it's like Harry potter for grown ups. My very favourite book of all time is Charles Dicken's Great Expectations.

Thanks for the interview Kathy!

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