Videos: Vina Chia
In a grimy and dilapidated warehouse office lodged in the middle of an industrial estate in Singapore, it was business as usual for the crew and cast of upcoming Channel 5 drama, Zero Calling 2.
Pierre Png and Cynthia Koh walked in as their characters, David Tan and Julie Wong, blindfolded and cuffed up, as they come face-to-face with their supposed “kidnappers”, Interpol agents played by new additions Janice Koh and The 5 Search finalist, Shabir.
The plot thickens and continues from where the first season left off and in this particular office scene, the estranged couple are searching for their missing daughter, Maddy (played by Hayley Woo) who joins the legion’s ranks after an eventful first season. Yes, you read that right – there are new characters, a whole syndicate of Zeroes and a lot more family drama to deal with now, said Pierre, who reprises his role as troubled male lead David Tan in this award-winning series.
“The agents from Interpol takeover from the police and in this series, they are the mentors, messengers and the targets,” Pierre let on, “Season 2 is more emotionally draining ‘cos my loved ones actually get sucked in the whole syndicate. I’m at a loss – I don’t know what to do and I don’t have Julie (Cynthia) by my side. I make all the calls, I make all the decisions.”
Pierre Png: Cynthia Koh is of no use in Zero Calling Season 2! TOTL0150414008026176
Aside from coping with his character’s high-strung emotions on set, Pierre also has to deal with a fair bit of (good natured) ribbing from his co-stars, especially after his Best Actor win for Zero Calling at the Asian Television Awards ceremony last year.
“Yes I do get teased…” he said, “But I take it in stride and I remind everyone it’s a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Stressed by the attention focused on his newly-acquired ATA win, Pierre said he didn’t know how he was going to top the second season or his own performance in the first season. “But all that got scrapped on the first day (on set)… Like all good scripts and shows, actors are very motivated by what’s written in the plot. [After reading the script] all my fears and expectations went away.”
But he won’t be let off without some actual snubbing in the show. We heard someone in the cast will get to rip him with this line: “You think I believe you? You vying for some best actor award is it?”
Here’s what we know about the second season (so far) from the Zero Calling cast.
Things get just as intense – both physically and emotionally – for David in Season 2:
Pierre: We’ll be filming overseas from episode 9 and that’s where I’ll get into the thick of action and go into the Zero Legion and encounter the organisation. I’ve read some of the scenes where I’m required to do quite a few nasty things and I’m actually looking forward to that. Like I said, TJ (Lee Thean Jean, the director and writer) will always make the battlefield comfortable. I don’t forsee any difficult parts so far.
Emotionally, there’s a lot of baggage, there’s a lot of arm-twisting. The second season has a lot of human relations, has a lot of black-mailing and a lot of me trying to race against time to ensure nothing happens to Maddy.
Julie escapes from the drama only to come home and face an even bigger nightmare:
Cynthia: Julie and David have an estrange relationship and she finds it very hard to salvage everything and [have life] go back to normal. She finds a way to escape and get away from all these… she’d be emotionally frustrated to see this happening again [when she returns], having her daughter missing and David involved in it.
David gets acquainted with a new Zero, Sam Li (played by Elizabeth Lee):
Elizabeth: When she was young, she was abused by her family and it was a traumatic experience for her. She swore to take down the bad guys and joined the Zero Legion as a result of it.
A bigger force is brought in to counter the Zero Legion:
Janice: In this season, it broadens into a much larger group of people who do cyber vigilante. And I’m tasked to take them down. As we go about our investigations, we bring people into the headquarters to interrogate them.
Agent Fong is a ruthless, single-minded (and masochistic) agent:
Janice: I had a torture scene where one of my agents betrayed me – a very trusted agent whom I have been working together for a long time. In the scene I questioned him and asked why he went to the other side, and I’m so angry with him. On the day of filming, Thean Jean decided to just go with the take without a rehearsal. It took a few takes and we got it almost immediately. I think it’s when the actors are in the right place of mind, it’s really fun to work with a director like Thean Jean who really goes with the flow and is very sensitive to where we are emotionally. Because I don’t think it’s easy to torture somebody else, to demand of them to give you answers and find different ways or strategies to make them work with you.
Zero Calling premieres on Channel 5, April 27 (Mon) at 9.30 pm.