It’s been a good five years since we’ve seen Derrick Hoh take on an acting project – his last project was xinmsn web series i.Rock, which debuted in April 2012. Fast forward to 2017 and the 31-year-old will star in upcoming Toggle Original Dear DJ, in which he will play the talented guitarist BK.
One of the biggest challenge for Derrick this time around will be playing a 20-something-year-old in this coming-of-age series which revolves around a bunch of university students, as his character is a good decade younger than his actual self. But it certainly helps to have a baby face.
“I’d say that I was pretty convincing as a student, actually,” he quipped during an interview with Toggle just outside the studio, where the cast was having a photoshoot. “The crew didn’t know my age while we were filming, and during the wrap-up party, we happened to chat about the subject and they were so surprised when I told them that I’ll be turning 32 next month.” (Ed’s note: Derrick’s birthday falls on September 17)
This might be his last acting project in a while, however, as he is currently neck-deep in preparations for his concert this Sunday, Back to 19. After the concert, he’s planning to head back to Taiwan, which means the rest of the year will be pretty much packed.
WATCH: Hazelle Teo gives her first on-screen kiss to Derrick Hoh!
Although you might not be seeing him in a drama soon, take heart that he has big things planned on the musical end – he teased, “I recently sold some of my songs to some singers, although I can’t tell you who it is right now.”
After much probing, he let on that the artistes are mostly Taiwanese, with one of his creations also sold to a Japanese singer recently. “Don’t worry, I’ll let you know who it is in due time,” he grinned.
Playing Derrick’s reel-life love interest in Dear DJ is YES 933 FM deejay Hazelle Teo, one of the newer members on the team. While this will not be the first time bubbly 23-year-old takes on acting – her first movie was 7 Letters, which was directed by Kelvin Tong in line with SG50 back in 2015 – she will, however, be giving her first on-screen kiss to Derrick.
“It actually wasn’t in the script!” she chuckled. “It was one of the final scenes where my character Joyce had to say goodbye to BK. It was supposed to be a sad scene but the director thought that the ‘feel’ was right and told us to add a kiss into the script at the last minute.”
The curious thing about Derrick and Hazelle’s reel-life relationship this time around is that the pair exchanged their real-life personalities in the series. Hazelle, who professed that she “really enjoys talking to others,” transformed into the socially awkward kid in the series while Derrick, who is the more introverted of the two, turns into BK, who, in the pair’s words, is “full of sunshine”.
“There was a scene where the rest of the cast members were having a party and I had to stand in a corner on my own – it felt really weird for me to do that and it was definitely a challenge,” Hazelle quipped.
Meanwhile, while Derrick mused that he has definitely become better at talking to people since he joined showbiz in 2005, he remains a homebody who enjoys writing songs in the comfort of his studio or his home.
Rounding up the lead cast is Nick Teo, who chuckled that he’s “the only bad guy in the series”. His character, Dane, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and excels in whatever he sets his mind to doing – be it acting, modeling and even hosting his own campus radio programme.
“He thinks of himself as the best at everything, so when he realises that Joyce could be a threat to him in the Dear DJ competition, he starts to accuse her of making use of her best friend Samantha – who is also my girlfriend – and in the end, he ends up destroying all his relationships,” Nick shared. “Not only does he break up with his girlfriend, he disbands the band that he’s the lead singer of, and loses all his friends.”
Given his popularity back in school – Nick grinned that he used to have admirers from different classes even in primary school – has the 28-year-old ever encountered a similar situation?
He paused to think back on his pageant days before musing, “Hmm, I don’t think so. Back when I was in the 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search in 2012, it was more about focusing on yourself rather than to “sabotage” anyone else. If you didn’t do well in the contest, you only had yourself to blame!”
Dear DJ is produced by Tree Potatoes and also features Foo Fang Rong and YES 933FM DJ Gao Meigui.
Dear DJ debuts September 19 on Toggle.