Chew Chor Meng, Carrie Wong felt incestuous filming Don’t Worry Be Healthy

Actors used to play father and daughter-in-law in longform drama 118

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Photos: Goh Li Xin, Channel 8, artistes’ social media
Video: Foong Mien Shi, Tan Shi Qi

When your onscreen father-in-law in one drama series gets cast as your love interest in another, it opens up a whole new world of awkwardness.

After appearing together on the 255-part 118, which ended its year-long run in 2015, Chew Chor Meng, 47, and Carrie Wong, 22, will be seen next in Don’t Worry Be Healthy, an eight-episode series presented by the Pioneer Generation Taskforce on the benefits of MediShield Life health insurance.

But filming the half-hour family drama proved difficult for the two actors, not because demanding stunts were involved, but because they had been cast as co-workers with an ambiguous relationship, a world away from their roles in 118 as Zhang Ke’ai and coffee-shop owner Hong Daming.

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“The change in roles is hilarious,” Chew Meng said during the press conference for Don’t Worry Be Healthy on January 27. “There are a few scenes in which I have to imagine that (Carrie is) interested in me!”

The actor said those scenes made him uncomfortable and that they even felt incestuous, so he couldn’t bring himself to look Carrie in the eye; instead he stared at her eyebrows or eyelashes throughout filming.

“At first, we were scripted to shoot a kissing scene too,” he said. “But I protested and it got struck out.”

Carrie reacted with shock when she first found out about that scene, and she too requested that it be left out.

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The actress saw Chor Meng as a father figure and even addressed him so off-camera. “I couldn’t meet his gaze either, and I would burst out laughing on set,” she said. “To be honest, I couldn’t get into character, so those have been some of the most difficult scenes I’ve filmed since my debut.”

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