Desmond Tan, Shane Pow bare their bods for upcoming dramas

Dukes film scenes on Orchard Road and in Geylang


Photos: Camelia Ting
Videos: Vanessa Lim

Dukes Desmond Tan and Shane Pow stripped down to their boxers and berms for their respective roles in The Truth Seekers and House of Fortune, so within the same week we had the fortune of witnessing two hunks shed their shirts — not a shabby week at all.

Shane Pow got his turn first on Monday when he shot the House of Fortune scene in which he distributes flyers on Orchard Road topless to protect Ya Hui’s character from doing so in skimpy swimwear.

But the former Manhunt 2011 contestant looks like he might not have stood a chance had he competed again: Gone were the six-packs of yore, and in their place was … one mass lacking in any definition.


“I’ve always been chubby and out of shape, so I’m not concerned about the gossip,” he said of his fall from grace.

“I didn’t try very hard, because this role didn’t demand a lean physique, so I didn’t go gym intentionally,” he said. “If I had been playing a fitness instructor, I’d put in more effort to train.”

And to make things more awkward, the production crew chose to shoot this scene at noontime, when crowds were at their thickest. Many stopped to watch the team at work, and snapped smartphone pictures of the actors.


“The crew also hired extras all with washboard abs — it isn’t fair!” Shane protested.

The actor explained that he had gained 6 kg while filming in Malaysia in April because he had really let himself go. And he learned of the topless scene after picking up his part in House of Fortune, so within a month he tried his best to shed the extra pounds, and managed to lose 5 kg.

Shane’s House of Fortune co-star Ya Hui feigned shock at his absence of toned abs and jokingly called his abdomen “flabby,” but the actress then said she was comfortable with the way Shane looks now — she didn’t fancy guys with chiseled bods anyway.


“Ya Hui isn’t fond of six-pack abs, so she didn’t use to like me,” Shane said. “For her sake, I’ve become like this.”

He held Ya Hui’s hand and said with mock emotion, “Would you accept the way I am now?”

Ya Hui refused to play along, and walked away. Duke 0 : Damsel 1.


Investigation gone wrong
Desmond Tan got his turn on Wednesday when he filmed a scene from The Truth Seekers in Geylang. In the drama, he plays a bumbling cold-case investigator who trails a pimp in the seedy corner of Singapore. But his identity is exposed, and cronies strip him to his skivvies and set him loose.

For a topless scene that took just six hours to shoot, Desmond put in a disproportionate amount of effort in working out to showcase a taut bod. The actor spent two months training and dieting, watching his caloric intake and maintaining his body fat content at about 10 per cent.

And when he wasn’t filming, he was at the gym, despite his regular exercise regimen consisting mainly of team-based ball games and swimming.


“My character doesn’t know how to fight, but he’s quite strong, and as the tallest, most physically imposing member of the investigation team who constantly needs his supervisor (played by Chen Han Wei) and colleague (played by Rebecca Lim) to rescue him, it gives a strong comedic effect,” Desmond said.

But the Duke wouldn’t insist on maintaining his abs for every role he plays. “It depends on the character I portray,” he said. “If I have to play a large, heavyset guy, I can definitely adapt to suit the role.”

Let’s hope that never happens.

House of Fortune and The Truth Seekers debut January 19 and April 27 respectively, 9pm on Channel 8.

This story is translated by Zara Zhuang.


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