Joshua Tan sheds 14kg in under two months for theatrical debut

The local actor told us more about the grueling crash course that he and Melody Low have been through in Gyeongju, Korea

Joshua Tan sheds 14kg in a month for theatrical debut
Joshua Tan sheds 14kg in a month for theatrical debut
19 Oct 2017

Joshua Tan sheds 14kg in a month for theatrical debut

Come December, two more local stars will be making their respective theatre debuts – Joshua Tan, best known for his role in hit franchise Ah Boys To Men, along with freelance actress-model Melody Low, who has worked on movies such as Lucky Boy and Siew Lup, and has attracted (sometimes unwanted) attention for her curvaceous figure.

Returning to Singapore for a quick promotional stop before jetting back to Gyeongju, Korea for an intensive one-month training, Joshua and Melody were also joined by the other principal cast members for a media conference and short public performance, which included backflips, cartwheels, flying basket tosses and more.

During the performance, the cast showed the fruits of their two weeks of hard work, which was a combination of cheerleading, acrobatics and martial arts. Helmed by acclaimed musical director Choi Chul Ki, this production, much like CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab, will rely on the actors’ body language, facial expressions and shorts sounds, rather than words and sentences to express themselves.

After the intensive one-month training sessions in South Korea, Joshua and Melody will return to Singapore, where they will be joined by the rest of the cast sometime in November, when full-scale local rehearsals will begin.

In an interview with Toggle after the performance, Joshua told us how he managed to shed 14kg in the span of a month and a half, Melody confessed what the hardest part of her journey into the world of theatre has been, and Director Choi tells us why he handpicked this duo to lead his next big production.

Read on for more.

(Continued on next slide: Joshua’s weight loss journey started the moment he ended filming for Ah Boys To Men 4)

Joshua’s weight loss journey started the moment he ended filming for Ah Boys To Men 4
Joshua’s weight loss journey started the moment he ended filming for Ah Boys To Men 4
19 Oct 2017

Joshua’s weight loss journey started the moment he ended filming for Ah Boys To Men 4

“I remember packing on the pounds for Ah Boys To Men (ABTM) 4, but Director (Jack) Neo looked and me and said, ‘You still need to put on more weight.’ That’s how I tipped the scales at 88kg, up 20kg from my usual weight,” Joshua grinned. “I spent six months putting on all of that and I remember feeling very frustrated because I couldn’t go to the gym, which is something I enjoy doing.

“Once filming wrapped for ABTM, I hit the gym and because training for Flying Through Time is very physically demanding, I naturally lost 14kg within a month and a half,” he continued. “Of course, I pay more attention to the food I eat, but I’m still eating carbs such as rice, noodles and bread.”

Director Choi shared with us in a separate interview that when he first saw Joshua, he told him that he had to lose 10kg within a month in order to be physically ready for the role, and the actor surpassed his expectations by reaching and going beyond that target.

Losing the weight he put on for his previous project, however, wasn’t the only hurdle that Joshua faced while preparing for his theatrical debut. Among others, he confessed that physical injuries and the language barrier have also been speedbumps in his crash course.

(Continued on next slide: Joshua on pressing on with practices despite the injuries he sustained)

Joshua on pressing on with practices despite the injuries he sustained
Joshua on pressing on with practices despite the injuries he sustained
19 Oct 2017

Joshua on pressing on with practices despite the injuries he sustained

“I actually injured my right hamstring while training,” the 27-year-old shared. “Sometimes, when you’re training, you over-exert yourself without realising it.”

While his injury stopped him from performing certain movements during the performance, he let on that on a regular day in Gyeongju, they’d either be too focused on rehearsals to notice, or only have the luxury to stick on a pain-relief patch before diving straight back into rehearsals.

“I’m not the only one who’s gotten injured. Melody’s arm has been hurting for a while, and even the experienced actors that we’ve been working with have also sustained injuries. Basically, there’s nobody on set who hasn’t had a bruise or two!” he quipped.

The actor continued, “During practice, there are some technical explanation that Melody and I couldn’t really understand because of the language barrier. The main language they use to communicate is Korean but neither of us understands it – thankfully, there are also cast members from China and Malaysia who helped us translate what the teachers said.”

Joshua let on that he even hit his neck while he was performing a cartwheel during rehearsals. “It’s something I’m working on, but whenever I try to do it again, there’s this slight tinge of fear that something like that will happen again.”

(Continued on next slide: Melody on breaking her screen siren stereotype)

Photos: Joshua Tan/Instagram

Melody on breaking her screen siren stereotype
Melody on breaking her screen siren stereotype
19 Oct 2017

Melody on breaking her screen siren stereotype

While the name ‘Melody Low’ might not ring a bell for many, this is something that Melody hopes to change with this breakthrough role. Previously a hot topic on male forums for her ample assets, which were displayed on projects such as Siew Lup, Melody will not be showing skin – at least, not more than any of the other cast members – this time around.

“I don’t really have any friends who have experience in theatre,” she confessed. “I was very nervous for today’s performance, which explains why I was counting to the beat. It’s something I hope that will get  better after we practice more – but for now, I think I’d give myself an eight out of 10 for today!”

Her left arm, which has been hurting for over a week, has also yet to be seen by a doctor “because there’s really no time.”

“At first, I thought it was just a muscle strain but if it continues to hurt after we return to Korea, I’ll consider going for acupuncture there,” she quipped.

(Continued on next slide: Why has Melody been told to lose weight?)

Why has Melody been told to lose weight?
Why has Melody been told to lose weight?
19 Oct 2017

Why has Melody been told to lose weight?

“We start our day at around 10am and we sometimes only finish training at around 9pm. We do our training at the Gyeongju Expo Park Cultural Center Auditoriums, so our lives have basically been revolving around the auditorium and the hotel for the past two weeks!” she mused.

While she confessed that Director Choi has pointed out that she needs to shed some weight since the character requires her to bare her midriff in the cheerleading outfit, Melody sheepishly admitted to “eating more than Joshua sometimes,” but is determined to lose whatever flab she has through more intense practice and “not eating the rice that Joshua can’t finish.”

And while Melody insists that she has not been hit on while training there (“I don’t even wear makeup when we go out!”), Joshua chuckled that the men there have given her the once-over.

“She probably doesn’t notice because the only thing on her mind is work, but I’ve seen guys check her out! When that happens, I’ll pretend to glare at them and protect her from them,” she said.

(Continued on next slide: Director Choi on why he cast Joshua and Melody)

Director Choi on why he cast Joshua and Melody
Director Choi on why he cast Joshua and Melody
19 Oct 2017

Director Choi on why he cast Joshua and Melody

A number of local actors were considered to be a part of Flying Through Time, but Director Choi (as pictured above in blue) eventually decided on casting Joshua and Melody after rounds of auditions.

“I watched their respective previous projects and were very impressed by the both of them. For both Joshua and Melody, I felt that their acting skills were very good, and because this show is very physically intensive, what they’ve done in their past works were also taken into consideration,” he explained.

He also met with them face-to-face before deciding on his final picks, during which he let on that Joshua’s determination to lose the weight necessary to be ready for his role, along with Melody’s comical side that contrasted with the sexy image that others often see, played a major role in their casting.

Director Choi also revealed that among the others that he considered to cast in the production was local actor Pierre Png. “I first saw him when he went on stage during CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab, and I felt that he was very handsome. We did discuss casting him in this role, but because he was unable to fit us into his schedule, plans ultimately fell through.”

This doesn’t mean that all is lost, however, as the director let on that he is still in discussions with Resorts World Sentosa to collaborate on more future projects, and although nothing is set in stone yet, “there’s always possibilities and something to look forward to.”

Click on for more photos!

Joshua and Melody hamming it up for the camera
Joshua and Melody hamming it up for the camera
19 Oct 2017

Joshua and Melody hamming it up for the camera

Check out that huge snap of Joshua in the background.

Joshua and Melody shared that they don't share many scenes together
Joshua and Melody shared that they don't share many scenes together
19 Oct 2017

Joshua and Melody shared that they don't share many scenes together

No prizes for guessing who the villain is in this picture
No prizes for guessing who the villain is in this picture
19 Oct 2017

No prizes for guessing who the villain is in this picture

The 10-minute cheerleading routine was both impressive and hilarious
The 10-minute cheerleading routine was both impressive and hilarious
19 Oct 2017

The 10-minute cheerleading routine was both impressive and hilarious

Big smiles all around after they finished their routine
Big smiles all around after they finished their routine
19 Oct 2017

Big smiles all around after they finished their routine

Flying Through Time will run from December 9, 2017 to January 21, 2018 at the Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets are priced at S$118, S$98, S$78, S$48 and S$38 (excluding booking fees) and now are available on SISTIC

WATCH: Joshua Tan: I lost 14kg in one and a half months!

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