No more Mr. Funny Guy: Alaric Tay takes on his first serious villain role

‘Mata Mata’ stars Alaric Tay, Desmond Tan and Rifat Hidayat share their interesting experiences with gangsters

No more Mr. Funny Guy: Alaric Tay takes on his first serious villain role

Text and Photos: Tammi Tan, reporting from Penang
Video: Teng Siew Eng

Most of us know Alaric Tay as the man behind iconic (and utterly hilarious) The Noose characters Xin Huahua and Andre Chichak, but in December, we will see a completely different side of the local actor on Channel 5’s Mata Mata: A New Generation.

In the third instalment of the police period drama, which also stars Cheryl Wee, Daren Tan, Desmond Tan and Oon Shu An, Alaric takes on the antagonistic role of gang boss Eric Leong. “This is my first villain role with zero comedic elements in it,” he told us during his interview with Toggle on set in Penang. “And it is so fun.”

While he may not have the intimidating, brawny build of his minions, he more than makes up for it with a ruthless, cold-blooded demeanour that will send chills up and down your spine, if what we caught a glimpse of during filming was any indication.

“He’s usually a calm, quiet person, but when it comes time to take action, he goes for the kill,” said Alaric during his interview with Toggle. According to the FLY Entertainment artiste, he drew influence for his portrayal from both western and eastern onscreen gangsters (“I’m a big fan of the Young and Dangerous series”), as well as from his knowledge of secret societies in Singapore, on which he wrote a paper for in university.

To look the part, Alaric got a few fake tattoos on his arms: his character’s surname in Chinese, two dragons, a snake, and a gang sign that was “undergoing reconstruction” at the time we spoke.

In addition, he even has a bit of real life experience as inspiration. Back in his secondary school days, Alaric was chummy with the gangsters in his class. However, he only picked up the positive bits from his alliance with them: friendship, loyalty, and standing up for one another.

“They were fairly tame gangsters that knew how to draw the line,” he said. “Because I’ve been on the receiving end of these guys covering for me, I understand how this idea of brotherhood works.”

One incident that demonstrates the good rapport between Alaric and his unlikely pals happened during a school trip to Malaysia. “We were in a mall and one of them noticed a small group of other gangsters staring at us, but I was totally oblivious to it,” he recalled. “He alerted us and we all calmly walked out, with them in strategic positions around me. There were 10 of us and only three of them, but they had helmets, which can be used as a weapon.”

Alaric also stressed that they took care to be considerate around his family. “When they come to my house for Chinese New Year, they would smoke outside instead of inside the house. I remember my mum telling me that she appreciated them being respectful,” he said. “They were a cool bunch of dudes.”

No more Mr. Funny Guy: Alaric Tay takes on his first serious villain role
Pictured: Find out why Alaric is holding Oon Shu An hostage when the show premieres on Channel 5 on November 30.

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