Desmond Tan is in love with his facial hair

The MediaCorp actor is currently sporting the rugged look for a new role 

Desmond Tan
Photos: Wu Qi
Video: Foong Mien Shi and Vina Chia

The first thing we noticed before our interview with MediaCorp actor Desmond Tan at the press conference of Ch8’s blockbuster series The Journey: Tumultuous Times on Wednesday was his moppy hair and moustache.  

“I couldn’t regain my youth after acting in Tumultuous Times,” he chuckled.

In the second installment of the trilogy, Desmond resumes his role as Hong Shi, who becomes a father and a grandfather. Although he has fewer scenes this tiem around, Hong Shi will make appearances throughout the 30-episode drama.

According to Desmond, the challenge is in “acting old” because it is something that he has not tried before. With Jeanette Aw and Andie Chen acting as his children, the 28-year-old was “insecure and worried” that his portrayal would not be realistic. However, filming turned out to be less awkward than he imagined, and so he believes that the result will be acceptable.

When asked about his current image, Desmond explained that it is for a new role in ChU’s upcoming show Second Chance (slated to broadcast early next year), where he plays a hooligan lawyer. Busy with filming since October, the actor has been working hard to capture both the essence of a lawyer and a hooligan.

Although Desmond was told that he can finally return to a clean shaven look at the end of the year, he is starting to feel a little reluctant. “I never thought that I would fall in love with my moustache. I grew comfortable with it after some time,” he let on, while sharing that he specially bought some tools to maintain the facial hair with ease.

Photo: Channel 8
Asian Television Awards nomination is proof of his comedic talent 

The Asian Television Awards nominations list that was announced last week saw Desmond earning a nod in the Best Comedy Performance by an Actor/Actress category for his role as Kai in Ch5’s Spouse For House.

“I was quite surprised when I learned about it, since that was my first comedic role in the past seven years [of my showbiz career],” he admitted. “I’m glad to be nominated alongside the veterans (including Richard Low, Irene Ang, Quan Yifong and Guo Liang) and I’ll be happier if I manage to bring the trophy home!”

The actor, however, has not given much thought on his chances of winning the prize. Should his schedule allows it, he would love to experience the awards ceremony.

Desmond also revealed that Spouse For House will be returning with a second season next year, something which he is looking forward to. “Acting in comedies is very fun and it keeps me in a good mood during and after filming,” he said. “When I film emotional dramas, I feel heavy-hearted even after I get home.”

In fact, there were days when the actor went home with a headache after filming Tumultuous Times, as 80 percent of his scenes involved scolding Andie’s character.
So, has Desmond’s sense of humour improved after his comedic debut?

“Actually, I’ve always believed that I am a humorous person but nobody agrees! Now, I have proven everyone wrong [with the nomination]!” he laughed.

Apart from comedy, Desmond has no qualms taking up sissy characters or roles that require him to “uglify” himself, even though producers have advised him to “maintain his image”.

Desmond Tan
Desmond in talks to make movie debut next year

During the interview, Desmond divulged his plans for the upcoming year – Ch5 viewers can expect to see him in the new season of Mata Mata in 2015.

And if things fall into place, the “8 Dukes” member is likely to make his big screen debut next year. Desmond may not be able to share more details about the project as discussions are still underway, but he is certainly pumped about it.

Despite his overloading schedule, the actor hopes to make time for an overseas vacation with his family. “I really enjoy going on holidays with my family and I encourage everyone to do that too. Even a short trip feels really good!” he said.

Although it seems like he will be spending Christmas with work, Desmond is keeping fingers crossed that he will be able to uphold the tradition of hosting a party at his house to celebrate the occasion with his buddies.  

The Journey: Tumultuous Times premieres November 24 at 9pm on Ch8.

WATCH: Desmond Tan talks about his love for his new look and comedies 

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