Photos: Camelia Ting
Video: Tan Shiqi
With air quality readings in the unhealthy range for the large part of September, Channel 8 actor Li Nanxing has been busy looking out for his The Dream Makers 2 co-star, Hong Kong screen legend Damian Lau, buying the latter herbal tea and offering up towels and other creature comforts on set.
“In this kind of weather, we should drink more herbal tea. I don’t know how to brew them, though, so I buy them for Damian,” Nanxing said.
Nanxing, Damian and Zoe Tay were filming a flashback scene outdoors when Toggle stopped by for a visit. Damian, who was still under the weather, declined all interviews.
In the highly anticipated follow-up to 2013’s The Dream Makers, Zoe reprises her role as Zhou Weiyun, the reserved head of a variety channel. Li Nanxing joins the cast as a high-level executive competing against Huang Biren’s character, and Damian plays Weiyun’s old friend.
Nanxing and Damian have worked together before, on the local drama series Dare to Strike in 2000, and while Nanxing was in Hong Kong for filming, Damian hosted him and took him out for local food. So despite Damian’s tight two-week schedule in Singapore, Nanxing has tried to return the favour.
Nanxing had to wear a wig with a 90s-style haircut while filming this flashback scene in The Dream Makers 2 set 10 years before. He said, “It’s awkward! However I look at it, it seems the hair on one side is longer than the other, and I keep tugging at it.
“At least this wig snaps on and isn’t glued on — that’s worse.”
His character is also fashionable, and stylists assigned the actor costumes that are close-fitting. “Though I don’t need to diet per se, but to suit the role still have to watch what I eat and make sure I exercise,” Nanxing said.
The 30-year veteran of local television is also busy preparing for the launch of his book, titled “The Real Picture,” out in October. The book details his innermost thoughts on his journey as an actor, and surviving some trying periods in his life, including business failures and battling alcoholism and a gambling problem.
“Life is full of ups and downs, and nobody is perfect,” Nanxing said. “This book is about how I pulled through those dark times, and how people around me gave me opportunities and encouragement.”
In the chapter “The Abjected Top Brother,” he writes how while filming the classic gambling drama The Unbeatables, he got hooked on gambling and couldn’t tell real life from acting — he even believed himself to be a genius gambler like his character.
It was only while playing the role of gambler again years later in The Ultimatum that Nanxing had an epiphany. “I think in acting we must know when to get into character and when to step out of it,” he said.
The Dream Makers 2 premieres December 4 at 9 pm on Channel 8 and airs Monday through Friday.
This story first appeared on toggle.sg/ch
Story by Jeslyn Say