Video: Teng Siew Eng & Vina Chia
She got on the radar of producers and TV viewers with her breakthrough role as Susie the prostitute in Channel 5 drama Fighting Spiders five years ago, her career picked up and the rest, as they say, is history. After doing a range of goody two-shoes and sweet girl-next-door roles in recent years, Rebecca Lim will be stepping into the shoes of a bar girl called Wan Fei Fei in The Journey: Our Homeland and bid adios to her squeaky-clean image for the final sequel of the SG50 nation-building TV series.
In the drama, Fei Fei is a victim of her impoverished background and has no choice but to work at the nightclub to raise funds for her mother’s medical bills. She may be a factory worker by day and bar girl by night, but she’s someone with a sense of righteousness who has got brains, sass and attitude too, said Becks.
While she did not have to do much prep work, having played an almost similar role previously, the actress admitted that it was still tough and challenging to film intimate scenes which required her to have a lot of body contact with Jin Gui (played by Zhang Wen Xiang). Some of these scenes required the actor to lie on her chest or kiss the nape of her neck too, she recounted.
“Filming went smoothly but when I went home and thought about the scenes I filmed in the day, I felt weird and strange,” she said, cringing slightly at the thought of it during an interview with Toggle, at the drama’s press conference yesterday.
“It made me think – in real life, no girl would want to put herself in this line of job. And I can’t help but feel uneasy all over when I went home [after work].”
According to Becks, her family members will be in for a surprise when they tune in to the drama. “I didn’t tell them [about my role] actually,” she laughed, “I think my parents are okay [with the intimate scenes] but I’m mostly worried about my grandfather’s reaction to it.”
“It so happens that the drama features an era he was part of and he’d have witnessed such events that could be more realistic than what I have portrayed. Maybe he’d tell me I did a bad job in the show,” she deadpanned.
Watch: Rebecca's co-stars are tickled by her bar girl transformation
Romeo as Zhang Yan in Tumultuous Times (L) and Hong Kuan in Our Homeland (middle)
Playing onscreen lovers with Romeo Tan again after two previous collaborations in Of Love and Hidden Charms and Yes! We Can, we were told the TV couple’s (they are nicknamed ‘double Rs’ by fans) relationship in this drama will be anything but smooth-sailing.
According to Becks and Romeo, their onscreen characters’ lives are filled with hardships: one is a bar girl who ends up half paralysed after sustaining a gun shot, the other is an adopted child who leaves home at a young age because of his estranged family ties and grows up under harsh conditions.
When asked to share about his role as Hong Kuan (the son of Zhang Yan from Tumultous Times), Romeo aptly summarised it with, what he called - his three big “life and death” scenes in the show: 1) when he got dragged around on a rope in a car chase 2) when he witnessed a huge explosion on a ship he worked at 3) the fateful collapse of Hotel New World.
Although the aforementioned scenes are physically demanding and challenging with the need to juggle two roles (Zhang Yan appears briefly in the beginning of the drama), the 30-year-old quipped that he has more confidence in Hong Kuan versus playing the latter’s dad, which he received a lot of negative feedback for in Tumultuous Times.
Cast of The Journey: Our Homeland at the press conference
That said, Zhang Yan will still speak with a slur in Our Homeland – but only because he is a lunatic in this series and is “no longer normal”, said Romeo, who assured he stopped trying to articulate all his words to make it sound as natural as possible, for a change.
“Although Zhang Yan was particularly memorable (in terms of the bad feedback he got), that’s in the past,” he chuckled, “I hope to give viewers a new impression with Hong Kuan.”
Catch The Journey: Our Homeland when it premieres Jul 16 (Thu), 9pm on Channel 8. Subscribers can also catch new episodes in advance on Toggle-It-First.