3 Body Problem stars Zine Tseng and Rosalind Chao on playing the series’ most pivotal character

Estimated read time 4 min read

3 Body Problem is out now, though ahead of the show’s release, we got to have a quick chat with Zine Tseng and Rosalind Chao, the two actresses who play Ye Wenjie.

Netflix’s 3 Body Problem has a wide array of memorable characters, though it’s fair to say that Ye Wenjie is the most important. After all, she essentially kickstarted the show’s central plot point.

Aside from being a key character, Ye Wenjie is also a multifaceted character whose pivotal moments happened during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Thus, this is exactly what we asked Tseng and Chao during our recent interview. Of course, we also asked them about their thoughts on Ye Wenjie given that they both play her at different points in her life.

Here is the full transcript of your quick interview with 3 Body Problem stars Zine Tseng and Rosalind Chao (edited for clarity):

You both play a character whose views have been hugely influenced by the events of the Cultural Revolution, which is quite interesting as it’s not a common time period for something like a big-budget Netflix series. Given this, coupled with how complex of a character Ye Wenjie is, what was your approach or what was going through your mind when preparing for the role?

ZT: I did lots of research on the historical backgrounds, because it is a very special period of time, and I have to allow my character to live in that time instead of judging it. So yeah, I grasped knowledge from everywhere I could.

RC: My parents are immigrants, and I’ve heard about it from them back when I was young, them being able to live in that time period. And knowing that my family members went through it, I was able to embody that and have that inform our performance. I say are like we’re one person, like we’re Siamese twins (laughs).

As you both have done a lot of preparation to play Ye Wenjie, you’ve gotten to know her a lot. So, what are your thoughts on her as a character. Do you sympathize with her decisions? Or are her actions something that you can never imagine yourself doing?

RC: I could, I mean she’s in an environment where she is watching everything fall apart, and she’s isolated. So, as far as she knows the entire world is falling apart. And she has this invitation, this opportunity to right the ship in her mind. She’s riding the ship. And hence, her fateful decision.

ZT: This is like an acting question. To me.

I didn’t focus on empathizing with the character. I just do things. While I do empathize with other people, it’s not very helpful for me to think Ye Wenjie is [the same person as me] when I’m approaching her character.

Were you tempted at all to take that VR headset home with you?

RC: I don’t take anything from the set that they leave me because I just, I believe that somebody’s gonna have to pay for that thing that’s missing. So no, I wasn’t tempted. But [Zine], were you tempted to take anything for the set?

ZT: I really want the headset.

RC: Do you? Maybe they’ll give it to us

ZT: With my name tag on it.

RC: Oh, that would have been a good wrap gift. Is it too late?

ZT: No…

RC: Let’s ask them for it.

ZT: Okay!

RC: Thank you for that idea!

3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

Haven’t seen the series yet? You can check out our review here:

3 Body Problem Review | A Unique Sci-Fi Tale

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