Photos: Joanna Goh
Before he had to dive into the shoes of Zhang Yan to play a deceptive, cunning gentleman for Ch8’s year-end blockbuster series The Journey: Tumultuous Times (TJTT), Romeo Tan decided to take time off to travel, sightsee and enjoy himself to the fullest. That he did with family and friends and at a city deemed one of the world’s most romantic places – Paris.
When we caught up with the actor at the lensing ceremony for the drama series last Friday, Romeo revealed that his previous attempts to travel with his friends – over the past two years – fell through, and he was determined to make it happen this time round.
“I know I’d be under a lot of stress [for TJTT] when I’m back, so I decided to just relax and have fun,” said the bespectacled one, who was in Europe for a grand total of eight days.
He managed to visit Paris, Rome, Vatican City and Venice during his time in the EU, but Romeo said it was mostly a “touch and go” experience for him.
Apart from the overpriced coke and longer daytimes (sunset was at 10pm), Romeo was blown away by the splendor of the La Tour Eiffel at Champ de Mars. “I didn’t know the Eiffel Tower could be this romantic,” he gushed.
“I think you have to visit Paris with your other-half,” quipped Romeo, who believes he’d be back there again in future. “It’s too wasted if you’re not there together [with your other-half]. The Eiffel Tower is so pretty and sparkles like a diamond at night with its tiny lights. It’s like you’re watching fireworks.”
Having spent close to a five-figure sum on this vacation, Romeo said he did a spot of shopping and bought a few branded bags for his parents and siblings too. “They aren’t very brand conscious but I figured since I am there, I should just buy something - especially since it’s much cheaper in Europe too!”
He didn’t feel the pinch initially, but Romeo jokingly grimaced, as an afterthought: “I don’t feel that much of heartache… but… oh alright, yes [I feel the pinch]. I just saw my bill and went: ‘Ouch!’ (Chuckles)”
“But it is okay. I told myself I won’t be spending much while filming Tumultuous Times. So that’s fine,” he laughed.
(L-R: Brandon Wong, Chen Hanwei, Desmond Tan, Shaun Chen, Jeanette Aw, Felicia Chin, Romeo Tan, Andie Chen and Carrie Wong)
Romeo’s days of people-watching at the sidewalks of Paris are well over for now as the actor trades gourmet coffee for mummy’s home-brewed Chinese soups and ginseng drinks to better prepare for his heavyweight role in TJTT. “She’d fuss over me and say: ‘Boy, are you okay? This is for your brain and this is to help with memorising [lines].”
The script never leaves his side, he says, and everyone at home knows it’s best to leave him alone when he’s cramming and working on his lines.
The first few days of filming were especially tough as he tried to get into character. Playing an educated scholar from the ‘50s meant Romeo had to walk and talk in a certain manner too – quite unlike his previous happy-go-lucky roles.
“Sometimes the lines are just too overwhelming because they go on for a few pages. And I have to start memorising my lines a few weeks before I film a scene too,” he quipped befire adding with a laugh, “Now that I think about it, the lines I had in Sudden weren’t that bad. It’s a form of training [for this!].”
The Journey: Tumultuous Times debuts on Ch8, Nov 24, Mondays to Fridays at 9pm.