Throwback Thursday with Rui En in Melbourne

On the set of The Dream Makers 2: We check in with Rui En on her most challenging overseas filming experience to date (PS: it involved Dai Xiang Yu)

Video: Vina Chia

DIRECT FROM MELBOURNE: A 20-strong team consisting of cast and crew members of Channel 8’s The Dream Makers 2 flew to the land of kangaroos to film certain key scenes in the 32-episode drama series for two weeks in September. And Toggle was part of the entourage from start to finish: we got to breathe the same air, sleep under the same roof, and had equally early call times too – but that’s another story for another day.

After weeks of ‘Dream Makers 2’ #throwbackthursday stories, we’re finally down to our last person in this series and that is none other than Rui En, who will be reprising her role as the bubbly and happy-go-lucky Fang Tonglin in the sequel.

For someone who’s terribly afraid of the cold and almost never seen on set without her trusty black goose-down jacket – even in Singapore, Rui En shared that this trip was nothing short of comfortable and manageable as temperatures fluctuated between 10 to 20 degrees.

The well-heeled actress, who has travelled around the globe to places like Miyama, Tasmania and even Paris, just to name a few, for work, shared that this Melbourne trip felt “more like a holiday than a work shoot” as the bulk of her character’s scenes was “purely taking photos” for a wedding variety programme - with little to no dialogue required.

Contrary to the relaxed pace in Melbourne, filming Poetic Justice in Macau ranks high on her list of most challenging overseas work experience. She spoke candidly of doing a lovey-dovey scene, which required her to hug co-star Dai Xiang Yu for a wide shot in the drama, during her interview with Toggle. While it may have looked good on camera, we learned it was not the least bit romantic in real life.

“We were in the midst of a heatwave and even before we hugged, the both of us were already drenched in perspiration. The minute we hugged and wrapped our arms around each other… the sweat is just ugh!” she shuddered, adding that they instinctively repelled from each other immediately, after the take was done.

Fang Tonglin and Jason Lam doing a wedding shoot outside of Melbourne's Flinders Street Railway Station

Thankfully, the glorious weather in Melbourne had nothing on the balmy, sticky humidity she and Xiang Yu had to bear in Macau, although the cast and crew experienced strong and chilly winds during the first few days of the shoot.

The production was blessed with ample sunshine and blue skies for most parts of the trip, including a morning proposal scene filmed at the tulip farm which saw Rui En prancing about and frolicking in the rainbow-coloured tulip fields – never mind that she had to wear a sleeveless floor-length dress for the outdoor shoot. 

While the sun proved to be a source for comfort on cold days, it was also the culprit behind their earlier than usual work mornings. (Ed’s note: the earliest call time of the trip was at 3.30 am for the hot air balloon scene)

“Early call times are unavoidable because inevitably the sun would rise earlier than in Singapore,” said Rui En, who shared she'd try to skip dinner, head back early, wash up and go to bed immediately to ensure she clocks in a certain amount of sleep every night.

“I’m very particular about how much sleep I get,” she confessed, “I don’t know why when I come here I feel sleepier – but I’ve been able to grab quite a good rest yesterday because I ended earlier. So I’m very refreshed today!”

Sleep duration isn’t the only thing she obsesses over. In fact, we learned that the actress can’t sleep well without the help of background noise too.

“When I don’t have it (noise from the TV), it’s a bit harder to sleep, she chuckled, “It’s a bad habit of mine.”

Read on for more about Rui En’s travel quirks and check out the hand-drawn picture of her newly adopted kitten in the following page!

The Dream Makers 2 debuts December 4, 9 pm on Channel 8; it will be available on Toggle-It-First on November 26. For more information and features, visit our micrositeWatch The Dream Makers 1 on Toggle.

Special thanks to Tourism Australia and Tourism Victoria.

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