Photos: Louis Teo
Videos: Vina Chia & Lye Yuk Sing
Veteran MediaCorp actor is no stranger to taking on challenging roles – but his role in upcoming Channel 8 drama You Can Be An Angel Too gave him a new set of challenges altogether. He will be taking on the role of a stroke victim for the first time and have the most crying scenes in his 28 years of showbiz.
You Can Be An Angel Too revolves around the lives of nurses, with “Ah Jie” Zoe Tay playing a veteran nurse manager that is married to Ge Ping’s character. The star-studded cast includes familiar faces such as Elvin Ng, Bryan Wong, Xiang Yun and Rebecca Lim, among others.
Ge Ping expressed in an interview with xinmsn, “I haven’t worked with Zoe in over a decade but we’re actually pretty close on a personal level. I treat her as my younger sister so having to treat her as my wife on screen with the addition of a multitude of emotional scenes made me worry that we would end up laughing a lot on set!”
Zoe laughingly agreed with his statement, “This is actually the first time we’re acting alongside each other and we kept bursting out in laughter when we first started filming!
Maybe because I’m close to Huifang (Ge Ping’s wife) jie since we work together often and I go to her place often, so I’d see Ge Ping da ge (big brother)a lot. I never imagined that we’d have a little awkwardness when we worked together but it was fine once we got over it.”
The 46-year-old actress quipped, “He’s really tortured in the drama because of our relationship and he keeps coming back even though I tell him to go away. He’s a crybaby in the show – let him cry if he wants to!”
Ge Ping’s character was faced with a divorce after Zoe’s character discovered that he was having an affair. In order to salvage the marriage, he refused to leave her and would secretly go home to do chores or buy groceries. While cleaning, he suffered a fall and ended up with a stroke.
The actor mused, “It was pretty difficult because I had to turn into someone who’s heartbroken once the cameras were rolling even though I was really happy when I was filming. My character was paralysed on the right side of his face and the director specifically told me not to move the muscles on that side. Only the left side could move, talk and cry.”
“I felt that some takes were okay but the director would request for a redo because the right side moved too much,” he added. His character goes through a gradual improvement in his condition, from being completely immobilised on the right side of his face to being able to speak a few words to eventually regaining 70% of normal functionality. Ge Ping shared that he had to improvise for all his scenes as special effects or makeup were not allowed for his role.
“I’d hold the feeling (of my character) after every take just in case we had to do it again. I told the director that I didn’t want to place too much focus on my facial expressions and appearance and end up ignoring the emotional struggles of my character, so the director and I had to communicate a lot,” he confessed.
That, however, wasn’t the only hurdle he had to cross during filming. He declared that he “cried the most in his 28 years of acting”, adding that it was “really painful because I would be exhausted after an entire day of crying.”
Ge Ping explained, “I’d end up bringing that kind of mood home so I’d warn my children and wife beforehand that I filmed particularly emotional scenes on that day so I wouldn’t be able to be as talkative as I usually am. Otherwise, they’d wonder what happened.”
You Can Be An Angel Too premieres on Ch8, Jan 5 (Mon) at 9pm.
WATCH: What does Zheng Ge Ping hopes to fulfill while he can still move?
WATCH: Zoe Tay played a prank on Rebecca Lim!