Practically whispering to a Chinese translator, young Scottish actress Katie Leung faced the media in China's capital with poise and a bit of wonder this week.
Leung, who plays Harry's crush, Cho Chang, in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," stopped in Beijing and was headed for Hong Kong with Warner Bros. executives eager to build on what has already become the studio's biggest film premiere in China.
Though she speaks no Chinese, Leung, 18, said she was excited to meet "Harry" fans at a multiplex cinema near Beijing University.
"I think everybody here is proud of me. I'm Chinese and I think my trip here will be good for the film," said Leung, whose parents left Hong Kong before she was born.
In its opening weekend in China, "Goblet" took in the equivalent of $4.1 million. By Tuesday it had amassed $5.1 million, surpassing the $4.7 million racked up in China last fall by "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
"China is not a market that is used to frequent talent visits, so having Katie Leung there during our second week of release will contribute to maintaining the momentum on the movie," Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of Warner Bros. International, said in an e-mail.
Chinese reporters gathered around Leung in a luxury Western hotel meeting room, fired questions and snapped pictures as she sat by posters of "Harry" star Daniel Radcliffe.
"Your role is not so big. Are you depressed?" one reporter asked, and another queried, "How do you deal with the envy of Harry fans who have said nasty things about you on the Web?"
Wearing a magenta sweater with a swooping neckline over black pants, Leung smiled from under her long raven bangs and said she was happy simply to be in such a major film.
"Because Cho's character is so much about her image, because that's what Harry's attracted to, her beauty, I know I just can't satisfy everybody," Leung said.
Chinese reporters wanted to know if Leung, as Cho, was excited about giving Radcliffe's Harry his first kiss in the next film based on the best-selling novels by J.K. Rowling. That movie is due to begin shooting in England early next year.
"Yes," she said, blushing.
Ellen Eliasoph, Warner Bros. Pictures managing director for China, who was traveling with Leung, said: "Chinese really want to connect to something extra in the films they see. In this case, Katie's it."
Even with kisses getting past China's government censors more often than they used to, drawing Chinese to the movies at all is a challenge because tickets start at $4.32 and pirated discs costing $1 are easy to find.
A random sampling of pirated DVD copies of "Goblet" bought on the street for prices ranging from 74 cents to $1.10 showed that counterfeiters had not yet secured a good "Goblet" print a week after its premiere. The picture and sound on each of three daoban DVDs was murky at best, and the subtitles added by the pirates were poorly translated.