Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’

The actress, who plays a gang leader, took on Wushu lessons for her new role; plus, Dennis Chew and Sora Ma finally tie the knot on the show

Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’
Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’
31 Aug 2016

Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’

Videos: Sarah Tay

Don’t be fooled by Jeanette Aw’s character Li Tai Mei’s nickname, Man Man ( “Slow” in Chinese), in 118 2 – we’d think twice before messing with her, lest we get a literal butt-kicking.

The 37-year-old actress joins the cast of the popular long-form drama’s second season as the daughter of a triad gangster (played by Hong Kong veteran actor Ha Yu), who later grows up to become a gang boss herself. This is the first time she has ever taken on such a role, and there will be plenty of fight scenes involved as well.

“A lot of people in 118 2 will get beaten up by me: Bryan Wong, Zhu Hou Ren, Brandon Wong, Chen Tian Wen…and who knows who else there will be as the show goes along!” Jeanette chuckled during our interview at Monday’s (August 29) imaging session, which was also attended by returning 118 stars Chew Chor Meng, Ya Hui, Dennis Chew, Sora Ma, Hong Ling and Roy Li.

To prepare for her action-packed role, Jeanette requested to take on martial arts classes to make her scenes appear more authentic. “At first the producers were thinking of choreographing some simple moves for me, but according to the storyline, my character is someone who is skilled in combat, so I went for Wushu lessons, with a focus on Wing Chun,” she shared. “I hope to look professional enough for people to watch me and say, ‘Wow, this girl is good!’ (laughs)”

Although this is not the first time she will display her martial arts prowess on TV (she also did so for 2009’s Together), the sequences will be a lot more extensive on 118 2 – and at the moment, there are no stunt doubles involved.

“If I’m comfortable and confident enough, I’ll do everything myself,” she said. “It’s easier because the camera doesn’t have to keep avoiding my face, plus it can be difficult to find a precise body double. If it gets too risky then perhaps we’ll reconsider, but I’ve jumped off a building for The Dream Makers 2, so it depends.”

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Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’
Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’
31 Aug 2016

Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on ‘118 2’

All violence and danger aside, Jeanette added that she is particularly looking forward to working with Ha Yu again, whom she shared screen time with in her debut film, last year’s Find My Dad, and in 2014 soccer drama World at Your Feet.

“In the show, he really dotes on me and I’m a complete daddy’s girl, but because of our gangster image, we don’t say ‘I love you’,” she explained. “However, you can sense how much we care for each other from the way we bicker, and I think it’s really well-written. I have a few ideas on how to approach our relationship and I’m sure he does too, and I’m really looking to that partnership.”

She’s also anticipating her first close collaboration with Bryan, who plays new character Liu Ji Zhou, a neighbour of the 118 family who – according to the synopsis – falls in love with and eventually dates Man Man. “I was reading the script and thought to myself, I’m done for, I’m going to laugh non-stop! We share a lot of hilarious moments, plus he’s already someone who makes me laugh a lot in real life.”

When asked if her involvement in such a long-running drama (filming for the 220-episode series is scheduled to end in around August to September next year) makes her worried that she won’t be able to explore other projects, Jeanette reassured us that the 118 2 producers have agreed to make her schedule more flexible to allow her to take on other jobs. In fact, she revealed that she is in the midst of negotiating her next role, but she can’t divulge further details, including whether it’s a drama or a movie. “I will keep everyone updated!” she promised.

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Sora Ma got asked for her number in Taiwan
Sora Ma got asked for her number in Taiwan
31 Aug 2016

Sora Ma got asked for her number in Taiwan

After facing some troubles at first, Shun Feng (Dennis) and Mei Zhen (Sora) will finally walk down the aisle in season two. Sora expressed her glee at finally moving into the Hong household and spending more time with the main cast, while Dennis, on the other hand, joked that things will get tougher for him as he has more lines to memorise.

Sora also revealed that she brought up a plot suggestion to the writer, based on what she has observed at home between her mother and her older brother’s wife.

“They usually get along quite well, but sometimes they have clashes over small things, such as how to manage finances,” shared the 32-year-old actress. “I told the 118 2 writers about these little conflicts, and they thought it was a good idea to include them into the storyline for my character. The good thing about being an actor is that you get to experience things before they actually happen to you, so maybe 118 will prepare me for married life next time! (laughs)”

That said, the imaging session, which had Sora slipping into two elaborate wedding dresses, may have completely turned her against the idea of having a lavish ceremony of her own. “One gown was too tight and the other was too loose – I think I’d rather just elope because getting married can be so tiring!”

Speaking of marriage, Sora may be single at the moment, but the statuesque former beauty queen managed to catch the eye of a male stranger during her recent trip to Taiwan. “I was alone at a bookstore when a man approached me and asked for my phone number,” she recalled. “I passed him my WeChat ID instead, but we never kept in touch!”

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Ya Hui hopes to go crazy on ‘118 2’?
Ya Hui hopes to go crazy on ‘118 2’?
31 Aug 2016

Ya Hui hopes to go crazy on ‘118 2’?

Another popular character making her return from season one is Ya Hui’s Hong Jin Zhi. While she refused to go into detail, Ya Hui hinted that Jin Zhi will go through some hardships in her life halfway through the series, and that she’s looking forward to portraying such emotional scenes. However, if she had things her way, she would want Jin Zhi to “go crazy” eventually, instead of sitting around crying all the time.

The 29-year-old starlet is also excited for two firsts: working with Jeanette, as well as being involved in a romance with Elvin Ng, also a new addition to the series. “I’ve played his little sister (in Breakout) and in C.L.I.F. 4 we’re colleagues, but this is the first time we’re playing lovers.”

The many faces of Chew Chor Meng
The many faces of Chew Chor Meng
31 Aug 2016

The many faces of Chew Chor Meng

The veteran actor returns as the 118 coffee shop boss himself, Hong Da Ming.

Hong Ling
Hong Ling
31 Aug 2016

Hong Ling

The Hey Gorgeous runner-up, who made her acting debut in the first season of 118, returns as Wang Yu Ye.

Roy Li
Roy Li
31 Aug 2016

Roy Li

Roy is back as baddie Zhang Mei You. Wonder what kind of shenanigans he'll be up to this time?

The coffee shop employees in their uniforms and aprons
The coffee shop employees in their uniforms and aprons
31 Aug 2016

The coffee shop employees in their uniforms and aprons

We think Ya Hui wants us to imagine that she's holding a tray. One Kopi C, please!

Jeanette Aw shows off her moves again
Jeanette Aw shows off her moves again
31 Aug 2016

Jeanette Aw shows off her moves again

What do you think of Sora's and Dennis's wedding looks?
What do you think of Sora's and Dennis's wedding looks?
31 Aug 2016

What do you think of Sora's and Dennis's wedding looks?

Casual Ya Hui vs. formal Ya Hui
Casual Ya Hui vs. formal Ya Hui
31 Aug 2016

Casual Ya Hui vs. formal Ya Hui

Dennis Chew
Dennis Chew
31 Aug 2016

Dennis Chew

Sora Ma
Sora Ma
31 Aug 2016

Sora Ma

WATCH:
How well does Jeanette think she can fight in real life?
Ya Hui wants to "go crazy" in 118 2

118 2 debuts November 29, 7.30pm on Channel 8.
Watch past episodes of 118 on Toggle.

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