Slender, delicately lovely college student who went to an open casting call in Northern California "because all my friends were doing it for fun" and ended up being cast in the leading role of Oliver...
Made feature film debut in "Heaven and Earth"; also sang in the film
Had lead role in "Bugis Street" (released in 1997)
Emigrated to the United States from Hong Kong on September 24
Put on a boat at age 9 with her younger sister by their mother; traveled for four weeks to Hong Kong, where her father and older brother had previously landed (date approximate)
Lived in refugee camps with her sister for three months before their father and brother found them (date approximate)
Slender, delicately lovely college student who went to an open casting call in Northern California "because all my friends were doing it for fun" and ended up being cast in the leading role of Oliver Stone's third film set amid the turmoil of the Vietnam War, "Heaven and Earth" (1993). Hiep Thi Le had experience as a "boat person" when she was sent at age 9 to Hong Kong from her village in central Vietnam, not far from where the action of the film, based on Le Ly Hayslip's autobiographical books, is set. Although the film required Le to age over 30 years and cast her opposite a number of accomplished American and Asian actors, the untrained actress received excellent reviews citing her sensitivity and actorly grace as Hayslip. Le subsequently appeared as a prostitute in "Bugis Street" (1995, released in the USA in 1997) and co-starred in the little-seen "Dead Man Can't Dance" (1997).