25 Oct 2017
Rebecca Lim voted the strictest actor by the cast of ‘While We Are Young’
Photos: Lee Wei Lin, Camelia Ting
Videos: Philip Ang, Goh Wen Kai, Aaron Ho
Anticipation is building for the premiere of upcoming Channel 8 drama While We Are Young, with much of the spotlight being on the young cast members of the series. Many of them, including Chantalle Ng (Lin Meijiao’s daughter), Shalynn Tsai (Chen Xiuhuan’s daughter), Chen Yi Xin (Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun’s daughter), Marcus Guo (Guo Liang’s son) and Calvert Tay (Zheng Ge Ping and Hong Hui Fang’s son) have parents who are in showbiz, which puts even greater pressure on them to perform well.
While they were a tad shy in front of the media during their first imaging session over five months ago, it’s evident that they’ve become more adept at fielding questions from the press, and shared more about their three-month filming experience at the press conference held yesterday (October 24) ahead of the drama’s debut.
Also in attendance were lead actors Rebecca Lim and Terence Cao; Zoe Tay and Zhang Zhen Huan were absent from the media conference – Zoe due to an old waist injury acting up, and Zhen Huan because he is still on holiday back home in China, and will only return to Singapore next month.
After spending a quarter of a year together, we asked the cast members (senior and juniors alike) what they think of the older generation of cast members, discovered what the secret to their hearts is, and the showbiz rules they’ve learned about.
Read on for more.
25 Oct 2017
Who’s the strictest cast member of them all?
Yi Xin: Rebecca
Denise Camillia: Terence
(Continued on next slide: Why was Becks voted the strictest cast member?)
25 Oct 2017
Why was Becks voted the strictest cast member?
Receiving five out of eight votes (including one from herself), Becks was voted the strictest cast member out of the four leading cast members. Calvert shared, “The vibe that she gives off is pretty scary! In the drama, her character is also the strictest teacher, so maybe that’s why we get that impression of her as well.”
Marcus chimed in, “She’s very professional and quiet when we’re on set, so I won’t really dare to approach her when she’s practicing her lines,” as Zijie added, “In the drama, she’s my protector. A lot of our lines are of us arguing, so I rarely see her smile while we’re on set, and she’s pretty scary when she’s immersed in her character.”
When we spoke to Becks to verify the comments made by her younger peers, she said: “A lot of the younger cast members told me that the impression that I give them is that I’m the strictest. What they don’t know is that I’m also someone who laughs till I forget about maintaining my image. I think it could be a stereotype because of the character I play this time.”
(Continued on next slide: Who’s the easiest to get along with?)
25 Oct 2017
Who’s the easiest to get along with?
Yi Xin: Zoe
Denise Camillia: Zoe
(Continued on next slide: Why was Zoe voted the easiest to get along with?)
25 Oct 2017
Why was Zoe voted the easiest to get along with?
It was a close fight between Terence and Zoe, who seemed to have captured the young ones’ hearts with their frequent food deliveries to the set. However, it seems that Ah Jie edged Terence out in this aspect, with Zijie explaining, “She looks after everyone around her. When I was filming at her reel-life home, she’d buy a lot of instant noodles and chips and store it in the house so that she could share it with everyone.
“She really feels like a mother – wait, I mean, like an older sister! She knows that I like working out, so she told me that there’s an abdominal roller in the house and said that I could use it if I wanted to.”
Calvert added, “She’s my mother in the show, and she’s also the one who takes the initiative to give me pointers on how to act, and also tells me what mistakes I made and how I can improve on my acting.”
Yi Xin also shared that Zoe taught her about camera angles, like which camera she should be “using” when they share scenes.
(Continued on next slide: Who gets along the best with the young stars?)
25 Oct 2017
Who gets along the best with the young stars?
Terence: Zhen Huan
Yi Xin: Zhen Huan
Denise Camillia: Rebecca
(Continued on next slide: Why were Zoe and Terence voted the ones who got along the best with the young stars?)
25 Oct 2017
Why were Zoe and Terence voted the ones who got along the best with the young stars?
Again, it was a close fight between Zoe and Terence, with the pair receiving three and two votes respectively. Marcus explained that Ah Jie “always gives us suggestions (on how to improve our acting), asks us how we’re feeling, and can talk to us about anything. She’s also very playful on set and sometimes acts like she’s our age! I think that she’s a really nice person.”
On the other hand, Zijie shared that Terence “is someone who’s very fun to be around, and as long as we have any shared scenes with him, we definitely know that there’ll also be food on set!”
Zhen Huan also received two votes, with Yi Xin explaining that he “sometimes shares the same frequency as we do”.
(Continued on next slide: Who’s the blur sotong of the lot?)
25 Oct 2017
Who’s the blur sotong of the lot?
Rebecca: Zhen Huan
Calvert: Zhen Huan
Marcus: Zhen Huan
Chantelle: Zhen Huan
Yi Xin: Terence
Zijie: Zhen Huan
Denise Camillia: Zhen Huan
(Continued on next slide: Why was Zhen Huan voted the most hapless of them all?)
25 Oct 2017
Why was Zhen Huan voted the most hapless of them all?
Almost unanimously voted as the most hapless out of all four cast members, it was evident that the young cast members were very amused by Zhen Huan’s frequency, which has been proven to not be very common.
“The things that he laughs at are rather strange,” Zijie explained. “Sometimes, the thing that he finds funny aren’t amusing to anyone else. He’s the only one laughing really hard at it – for example, he watched a Hong Kong drama and there was someone who got really angry and squeezed a tomato in his hand. Because of that, he laughed for five days!”
While Rebecca has also fallen victim to Zhen Huan’s unusual sense of humour, she had words of encouragement for him as well. “He likes to tell lame jokes and he’ll find it hilarious although it’s really not funny at all! He’s always looking forward to sharing his lame jokes, but whenever we hear them all of us give him a blank expression. Zhen Huan, you can do it!”
Apart from his unconventional sense of humour, Chantalle revealed Zhen Huan has a penchant for pulling random disappearing acts. “I don’t really know what he’s doing when he’s on set – sometimes, we can be in the midst of eating and he’ll suddenly disappear, and we’ll later realise that he went to nap somewhere!” she chuckled.
Meanwhile, Terence was also voted the most hapless by Yi Xin, who shared that he seems to have a generation gap with the young stars and doesn’t quite understand some of the lingo that they use these days.
When we checked back with Terence on what his younger co-star had to say about him, he helplessly admitted: “They have a lot of acronyms these days, like LMAO (laughing my a** off) and others – I can’t even remember what they are! – but I really don’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes I ask, but other times, I just pretend I know what’s going on.”
(Continued on next slide: What are the unspoken rules in showbiz?)
25 Oct 2017
What are the unspoken rules in showbiz?
(L-R: Zong Zijie, Rebecca Lim, Terence Cao)
After working together for three months, the young cast members have also learned a couple of unspoken showbiz rules that actors are expected to adhere to.
For one, Zijie has been praised by producer Wang Youhong as someone with “a lot of potential” because of his humble and positive attitude towards work. Zijie explained that his actions of picking up and putting back his clothes on the rack whenever he’s done with them was something that a lot of rookie actors “don’t know” is the job of the actor, and not the assistants. “All of us thought that it was the job of the wardrobe staff, but it’s actually not,” he added.
The older actors also had much to share, with Rebecca saying that she never knew that the front seats of the bus ferrying the cast and crew were reserved for the director and assistant director, and that she unknowingly sat there during her first drama.
Terence explained, “The reason behind this is because they’re the ones who have to alight first at any location to speak with the people there before confirming that it’s the right location. Only then can the rest of the cast and crew get off the bus and prepare for the actual scene.”
Zhen Huan shared with Toggle via a phone interview, “In order to pray for good weather for filming, we usually put red chillis on top of bamboo poles and stick them into the ground at the filming location. Before I entered showbiz, I never heard of it, but it seems like it works pretty well and everyone uses it quite often!”
(Continued on next slide: What are the rules that the young stars have to follow at home?)
25 Oct 2017
What are the rules that the young stars have to follow at home?
(L-R: Chen Yi Xin, Chantalle Ng, Calvert Tay, Marcus Guo)
Even when they get home, the young ones (all of them are in their teens or 20’s) have rules to abide to – this time, the ones laid down by their parents.
“My parents don’t allow me to use my phone at the dining table. Sorry daddy!” Yi Xin admitted. “He always says that my eyes will go bad and that I have to go to Joanna’s dad (ophthalmologist Dr Julian Theng) to get my eyes checked out!”
She and Chantalle also let on that their respective parents have never explicitly told them the rules if they get into a relationship, with Chantalle deadpanning, “We never talked about this, because I don’t really have many friends, much less a boyfriend! We sound so sad, right?”
On the other hand, Denise Camillia’s mother has a specific set of rules that her daughter’s future boyfriend has to adhere to, including being a gentleman and sending her daughter all the way to their doorstep whenever they go out.
“She always thinks that my male friends are my boyfriends, but once I tell her that they’re just friends, then she backs off,” she chuckled.
For the boys, it seems that cleanliness is the issue at hand, with Calvert confessing that his room is “so messy that you can’t really see the door after you enter the room”. He added that while his parents are alright with him having his room in whatever state he wants it to be in, he has to keep the common spaces, such as the living room, free from his clutter.
Zijie agreed, “The most important thing (in Dasmond Koh’s eyes) is that we keep the house neat and tidy. I think he has a bit of an obsession with cleanliness, so everything must be spick and span. Sometimes, he’ll nag about our messy rooms as well.”
He also has a dynamic curfew that he has to adhere to, with Zijie explaining, “There isn’t a fixed time that we have to be home, but if he feels that it’s late, it means that we’re late, and he’ll start nagging at us.”
While this might be normal for the young ones, we discovered that Rebecca (who recently turned 31) also has a strict curfew to adhere to. “I’ve got a lot of house rules – it’s quite embarrassing, really. If I’ll be arriving back home after 11, I have to send a text message to my mother to let her know where I am, who I’m with, and what time I’ll be home,” she let on.
“If I go overseas with my friends, I need to tell her when I’m going, who I’m going with, my flight number, when I’ll be back... And they’ll even ask me if they need to send me to the airport!” she chuckled. “In their eyes, I’ll always be their little girl.”