Photos: Tammi Tan, Channel 5
Video: Vina Chia, Channel 5
When Michelle Wong and Keagan Kang signed up for Channel 5’s new drama Faculty, they were not aware that their characters, freshman Victoria and her lecturer David, would be embroiled in a salacious sex-for-grades relationship – complete with a steamy lovemaking session.
“The show was being written as we were filming, so we were being surprised with a new script every week,” said Michelle in an interview with Toggle. “We only found out (about our bedroom scene) at the last minute, but we had heard rumours.”
It was the 25-year-old actress’ first time shooting such a racy sequence, and while she initially had her concerns, she eventually understood that it would be vital for Victoria’s story arc.
“She grew up in a poor background so she always felt the need to work hard for whatever she wants, even though it may not always be morally right,” Michelle explained. “I don’t think this would tarnish my reputation because I’m just being true to the character and the script.”
In this case, Victoria’s idea of “working hard” involves seducing her much-older teacher in exchange for a flattering report card. What starts off as a bit of flirting eventually escalates into kissing, and culminates in a hot-and-heavy rendezvous between the sheets.
“I was quite cool (about the bedroom scene) until we got to the hotel room, then I started freaking out,” Michelle recalled. Even Keagan, who has been acting for over 20 years and has had his fair share of intimate moments on screen, admitted that it was “very intimidating” for him.
“There were a lot of people in the room and we had a dual camera,” said the 40-year-old. “Even kissing scenes are intimidating because they’re very technical; you need chemistry and to get them across in a very truthful way.”
Thankfully, the shoot was quick and smooth-sailing, and was over in just half an hour with minimal NGs (no good takes). However, poor Michelle walked away with ever-so-slight physical trauma.
“Keagan has a beard and moustache, so it was really interesting because after filming that scene, I got a rash!” she said, sounding amused as she rubbed her chin that bore the brunt of her co-star’s scruff from all that making out.
Of course, don’t expect a final cut that’s so raunchy that it will have censors and concerned parents up in arms. “It was all very PG (rated),” reassured Keagan, while Michelle reported that there wasn’t even any nudity.
Despite that, the up-and-coming starlet didn’t seem too excited at the thought of her family watching her in that scene. “I did mention it to them in passing but I also explained that it is critical for my character,” she said. “We don’t even know how it’s going to turn out, but I shall ask my dad to go to the toilet, or feed him cake to distract him! (laughs)”
Still, it was all “a very valuable learning experience” for the up-and-coming starlet in the end. “(Filming a sex scene) is really not as dirty as some people would think – it’s very technical and mostly about angles,” she said. “I’m thankful that Keagan has been a wonderful acting partner.”
When asked how much further she’s willing to go for a role in the future (that’s not on a free-to-air channel, of course), Michelle said, “Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it, but I guess I will see how critical it is for proving a point – if I’m doing it for the purpose of showing skin, then I don’t think I will agree to it, but if it’s for artistic and character-related reasons, I might think twice.”
Faculty debuts February 27, 10pm on Channel 5.