Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Sen Shao – if looks could kill…

Actor Sen Shao plays ZHI, a cold-blooded professional killer in crime-comedy short film ‘Jacks’. Sen is tall and lean; kit him up in black and he’s the quintessential assassin. ‘Jacks’ is written and directed by Joel Stephen Fleming, and is a collaboration between 13th Street Films and Visul production company.

Sen Shao as ZHI
Above: From JACKS [2020] a Visul and 13th Street Films production. Cinematography: Trimedium

ZHI is my character YANG’s most trusted soldier. He’s my proficient killing machine, having served me for years and is believed to be from a long line of underground criminal families. Get that folks! Off-screen, Sen has been teaching me to pronounce Mandarin words. Despite his sangfroid appearance, he’s mercifully patient.

I first met Sen at a small meeting of Asian creatives in Brisbane, and a few months later we went to the Australian Independent Film Festival 2019 to see their selection of the year’s best short films. It was my first time at a film festival, and the first time I met a writer of a film and the composer of a film score! People kept asking Sen if they’d seen him in a movie. Nobody asked me. Ho hum.

First teaser image for ‘Jacks’

I believe it’s good to work with everyone, especially film students, because students are the future. Some day, one may become a successful film director or producer. I try to see if their work ethic is really there. That’s very important to me.

Sen Shao

Sen is a very positive guy. No way is a Covid lockdown gonna bring him down.

The epitome of cool. Sen Shao @mrsenshao. 📷 Pierre Barras @pierre.barras. Sen is represented by Natalie Hall Management

“Everyone knows that I’ve officially become a dad, so isolation was a good thing in that I had time to spend with the family,” Sen said.

“My baby boy is 11 months old now, so life has been super, super busy! After the lockdown, all the work came back at the same time, and I feel like I haven’t ever been this busy before!”

Sen is currently working in four projects, and he’s on hold for an international film which has paused due to the current pandemic. Apart from ‘Jacks’, here’s what he’s working on.

“The first film I did after the lockdown was a comedy short called ‘Mobster Lobsters 2’. The writer/director/producer is Kody Bramhall who is from Griffith Film School. He’s really passionate and doing very consistent work. This is actually the second project that I’ve collaborated with him. He’s done a lot and I really like to work with him. Mobster Lobsters 2 is an action comedy. It’s a pretty fun project.”

“The second film I’m shooting at the moment is called ‘Crooks’. This is by independent film maker Austinn Harris, who graduated from the New York Film Academy on the Gold Coast. Over the next two days we are doing a gun shooting scene which will be really fun.”


Sen will appear in a full-length film, a local production by Afrotanium Film Productions and directed by Andrew Ravuna, called The Extractor.

“My role is going to be a Yakuza crime boss. I’ve been doing Japanese sword-training which is a lot of fun! Gun training, sword training, other weaponry training. All really fun to work with.”

Sen is originally from Xi’an, Shaanxi, China, the place famous for its terracotta warrior historical site. When he was young his parents moved to Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, a huge technology hub regarded as China’s Silicon Valley. Sen came to Brisbane in 2010 and was a model for five years before joining the books of Agency 888. Within a week he was on the set of tv series Reef Break as a stand-in and as a double, followed swiftly by a role in Godzilla vs. Kong, and Australian horror comedy, Bloody Hell.

I look forward to being quite the ruthless boss with him, on the set of ‘Jacks’.

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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. Her early career was in financial news in London. That ended in 2008. Joanna moved to Sabah, her parents’ birthplace, where she wrote a blog about musicians, which became a book. Joanna came to Australia in 2012 and started this blog — her second. These days, she writes mostly about music, her garden, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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