A FORMER Edinburgh lawyer who went to sign on at the job centre, was soon acting on screen in Paris alongside famous stars such as Harvey Keitel and Toni Collette.

Shuiken Chan, also known as Sue Cann, spent a month filming “Madame” in the French capital after securing a breakthrough role in the industry.

However, her journey has been a strange affair as in 2009 she swapped the world of litigation to go travelling before later studying acting in New York City.

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She said: “I didn’t want to be lying on my deathbed one day regretting that I didn’t do the things I wish I had done. I just knew I never would have forgiven myself if I didn’t at least try.”

Ms Chan, an avid cook, returned home to Edinburgh at the end of last year with a view to launching her own brand of jam and applied for JobSeeker’s Allowance to help get her started.

She said: “I’m so thankful to my adviser at the Job Centre, because had it not been for him I never would have gotten this opportunity.

“When I attended my first interview with my adviser, my focus was on setting up a jam business. But he encouraged me to give priority to my acting and to go out and find an agent immediately.

“And so I did. At our next fortnightly meeting I told him I had now found an agent and he said: ‘Great. So I expect to see you in a big movie by the time I see you next’.”

And within a few days, the 38-year-old had her first audition, while at the same time launching her My Jam brand.

After winning the role, she decided to take a few jars over to Paris and was even able to sneak the product into one of the scenes.

Ms Chan said: “During filming there was a breakfast table set up every morning outside where people could just help themselves to some breakfast.
“On one of the mornings I put my jams on the table and let the cast and crew try it. They all loved it, and everyone was saying how amazing the jam was. Then several weeks later, I saw a tray on the kitchen table with tea and toast to be used in a particular scene. 

“I decided to be bold at the last moment and asked the director if I could put my jams out on the tray for the scene.

“Usually, the set designer plans this some time ahead of the scene, so I thought that the chances of the director agreeing would be slim. But I thought that it wouldn’t do any harm to just ask and the director said yes.”