Newcomer Ayden Sng may be an infant in showbiz years (or rather, months - he made his TV debut with a small role in Channel 8’s Walk With Me back in January), but he has already managed to tick a major item off his acting bucket list.
During our interview with the 25-year-old Duke University graduate, he told us that he had “been wanting to do a period role for the longest time”, and thanks to upcoming Toggle Original Last Madame, where he’s featured in flashback scenes in around the 1920s, he has.
It’s a relatively minor role, but hey, an achievement is an achievement, and it’s still one that he’s very proud of - even though his character, Ah Tou, isn’t exactly a shining beacon of morality.
To cut a long story short, Ah Tou is the lovely gentleman who romances the titular Last Madame, Fung Lan (played by Fang Rong in her younger days, which is the “version” he encounters, and then by Joanne Peh when she grows up), only to end up - mild spoiler alert - prostituting her at one of the many brothels he owns and meeting a gruesome end as a result.
Ayden Sng and Fang Rong in 'Last Madame'. (Stills: Ochre Pictures)
With such an, erm, interesting storyline, it’s no surprise that Ayden got more than he bargained for with this gig. “Within three days of filming, I’ve experienced more things than all my previous productions combined!” he chuckled.
Take his grisly death scene, for instance, which involves some good old, make-you-cross-your-legs-in-horror genital mutilation. We’ll let Ayden describe it: “I faint after getting smashed with a glass bottle, my trousers get removed, and a snake-shaped ring is involved.”
As for what the snake-shaped ring is used for, we'll leave it up to your imagination. We’re told that while nothing is explicitly shown, there was plenty of fake blood involved, so viewers who are easily grossed out might still want to brace themselves. Don’t say we never warned you.
The brutality - which we frankly can’t say he didn’t deserve - doesn’t stop there. A huge knife and a hammer are also used to, shall we say, inflict more damage on his body.
According to Ayden, he spent an hour pretending to be dead next to a huge piece of meat as the mystery killer chopped the slab into pieces using very real tools right next to him (it’s supposed to be his arm in the show).
While literally lying around for work sounds like a dream come true for most folks, Ayden reported that acting like a corpse was a lot harder than he expected. “I’ve been dead [on screen] before but this one required me to be completely still for quite a few shots,” he recalled. “That was rather challenging.”
“It was intense, but fortunately, there were no injuries,” he continued. “It just took me by surprise because there are very few productions in Singapore that would go that far.”
(Still: Ochre Pictures)
Last Madame premieres on September 26 on Toggle.