The “first times” of the stars in Run Rachael Run

The cast tells us about their first acting gig, first English-speaking role, first time rapping and more

Vernetta Lopez, Henry Thia, Hor Ying Ying, Roy Li, Alaric Tay
Vernetta Lopez, Henry Thia, Hor Ying Ying, Roy Li, Alaric Tay
03 Apr 2016

Vernetta Lopez, Henry Thia, Hor Ying Ying, Roy Li, Alaric Tay

It’s Monday, and you know what that means: two more free episodes of Toggle Originals programme Run Rachael Run are now available!

While the show centres on Rachael Chow’s first step into the working world with her internship with CMI, it also gave many of its cast members a chance to experience several “firsts” of their own, from lead actress Hor Ying Ying’s acting debut to veteran Henry Thia rapping debut.

Read on to see what the stars had to tell us about these “first times”:

Related:
Run Rachael Run episodes 1 and 2 recap
Valuable life lessons from our favourite onscreen interns
Bumper crop of Toggle Originals for 2016

Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role
Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role
03 Apr 2016

Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role

“Prior to this, I hadn’t given (acting) any serious thought, but after this I’ve started to consider it. If I’m given the opportunity (to join showbiz) I will grab it with both hands because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and if I don’t take the risk I will regret it.”

This is what Ying Ying said when she was a contestant on last year’s talent scout show Hey Gorgeous, where she emerged runner-up. Fast forward half a year later, and she’s now the star of her very first series.

When we caught up with the 21-year-old NUS student on set, it was still her first week at work. “I’m extremely nervous and haven’t really gotten used to how things work,” she admitted. “But it’s been fun and the people here are extremely reassuring and helpful.”

One of the pieces of advice the newcomer was given was to “let go and not be too restricted” and to “let her comedic side out”. “Sometimes (I appear too) nervous and my actions aren’t loud enough for the camera,” she elaborated. Other mistakes she confessed to making – that are also common for seasoned actors – are not being able to hold her laughter very well and not remembering her lines, although she “promised” that she has never made more than 10 NGs for a scene.

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Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role
Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role
03 Apr 2016

Hor Ying Ying: Her first acting role

Despite her stint on national television, Ying Ying claimed that “nothing much has changed” about her life. “Nobody recognises me on the streets and no one in school cares,” she said with a laugh. “However, I’m gaining a lot of experience.”

Her student life has not been affected either. In fact, she told us that she has learned to manage her time better, and that although she initially considered putting her studies on hold in favour of showbiz, the full-time communications major realised that it would be a wiser choice to focus on her education and do acting as a part-time gig.

While she doesn’t quite have a concrete plan after graduation (“We’ll talk about that in two years’ time!”), Ying Ying expressed her interest in exploring the area of hosting and of course, scoring a part in a Channel 8 drama. “But that’s pretty far away in the future, and I still have a lot to learn,” she said. “I would love to work with anyone, but especially Zoe Tay. [Turns to look into our camera] Please work with me!”

But no matter what happens, Ying Ying can rest assured that her boyfriend Jasper, who frequently appears on her social media accounts, will be there for her. “He’s extremely supportive! If I were him I would be a bit insecure, but he’s not, and I’m thankful for that,” she gushed.

Roy Li: His first English-speaking role
Roy Li: His first English-speaking role
03 Apr 2016

Roy Li: His first English-speaking role

The music legend had one condition for the filmmakers before deciding to accept the role of ageing pop star Sunny Bee in Run Rachael Run: “Make sure my lines are in simple English!” (He attributed his many years spent in Taiwan as the reason he hasn’t been able to use the language much.)

Fortunately for Roy, it appears that his less-than-perfect linguistic grasp may have been what the producers were looking for. “When I asked them if they really wanted me for the part, they said that my character is an 80s Chinese singer who suddenly switched to making an English record, so it would make sense that he does not speak English well,” he explained.

However, he was also candid about worrying about not knowing how to improvise should he suddenly forget the script. “It would be easier for me to come up with something else to say if it were in Mandarin, but it’s much harder with English because I don’t speak it often.”

So is Roy taking any special measures (such as signing up for lessons) to help him along with the language? “No lah, I just study my lines regularly and rehearse on my own,” he clarified. “Practice makes perfect – as long as I keep at it, there won’t be a problem.”

Other “first times” of the 50-year-old include dancing on camera (now that, unlike speaking English, requires some classes) and working with the rest of the Run Rachael Run cast. “Aside from Ying Ying, the rest of the actors are very experienced, so it makes me feel less of a burden whenever I share scenes with them,” he said. “As for Ying Ying, although she may be a newcomer, but she works very hard, so it’s easy to work with her as well.”

Henry Thia: His first time rapping
Henry Thia: His first time rapping
03 Apr 2016

Henry Thia: His first time rapping

“Hello hello look at me, I am here with Sunny Bee, driving in this piece of s***, all you hot babes come with me!”

That is how the veteran actor and funnyman kicks off his flaming hot verses on Sunny Bee’s music video ‘Moonlight Boss’ as the bling-wearing Huigga Hui (yes, that is a play on his Chinese name Hui Ge and local hip hop artist ShiGGa Shay’s moniker). Not only is this his first time rapping, it’s also his first time doing so in English (which, like Roy, is not his first language, although he made his transition to English roles in 2004 with Channel 5’s Police and Thief).

“Actually my English is okay; it used to be very broken, but my eldest grandson has been teaching me,” he told us, before mimicking the child’s “Gong Gong (Grandpa), wrong wrong! That one wrong!” and subsequently getting teased by Roy for being corrected by a five-year-old.

When it came to the actual day of filming the music video, Henry said that he found it difficult to lip sync to his own pre-recording (which was done verse by verse and took two hours to complete). “It was very jialat (bad) and I kept messing up!” he exclaimed. Thankfully, he managed to get the hang of it and he eventually wrapped up his swaggy gig.

But don’t count on Henry to suddenly add rap tracks to his playlist. “The only time I listen to rap music is when it comes on the radio,” he said.

Vernetta Lopez: Her first major role in a long time
Vernetta Lopez: Her first major role in a long time
03 Apr 2016

Vernetta Lopez: Her first major role in a long time

The GOLD 905FM deejay herself was unable to remember the last time she took on the leading role in a drama series (not counting her work on Okto, which she deemed “a whole different world” as it’s for children).

“It can’t be Daddy’s Girls, right!?” she exclaimed, referring to the 2004 Channel 5 programme she starred in with Jamie Yeo and Carrie Chong, which won Best Comedy Programme at the 2005 Asian Television Awards, before continuing woefully, “Then I got – according to industry terms – ‘fat’.” (She then added that she has been watching her diet for the past two years.)

In any case, Vernetta said that it feels great to make a big comeback in front of a camera again. “It’s not like I haven’t acted in years, I have been in a lot of small roles such as on Code of Law 3, but it’s good to be back in a nice meaty full-on role – it’s like getting back into an old pair of pants: very comfortable,” she mused.

She also praised Run Rachael Run’s script, which was a reason she decided to take on the role as cost-cutting CMI CEO Gene. “This is comedy scriptwriting that I have not seen in a long time,” she said. “It’s intelligent and smart verbal comedy with a bit of slapstick, it’s just well put-together and I’m very happy to be part of the show.”

Alaric Tay: His first time directing a series
Alaric Tay: His first time directing a series
03 Apr 2016

Alaric Tay: His first time directing a series

Alaric has sat in the director’s chair several times before, but it was always for short films. For Run Rachael Run, he got a taste of directing a series for the first time when he helmed the third episode (which is now available for free viewing), in which Rachael is in charge of running auditions for the role of Chang’E in Sunny Bee’s music video.

“I guess the producers thought it would be fun and interesting for me to direct one of the episodes since I’m playing a director (in the show) as well,” he said. When we asked how preparations were coming along, he said they were “not too bad” before Vernetta piped up, “He knows what he’s doing! He’s in control, don’t worry.”

Does this mean we will get to see him direct more often? “If the powers that be allow it, then yes,” he said, deadpanning, “My middle name is Spielberg. Or George. Or Lucas.”

Up next on Run Rachael Run…
Up next on Run Rachael Run…
03 Apr 2016

Up next on Run Rachael Run…

Still plagued by a poor budget for the music video, Rachael manages to find a potential sponsor from a super car company. However, when she arrives at the office for a meeting, she discovers that a “frienemy” of hers works there too. She also soon comes face-to-face with a method acting-obsessed “animal” who may be a little too lost in the role…

Catch two brand new episodes of Run Rachael Run for free next Monday (April 11)!

WATCH: The cast of Run Rachael Run talk about their 'first times'

Find out more about Run Rachael Run here.
Catch two new episodes of Run Rachael Run for free every Monday here or binge-watch the entire series with Toggle-It-First.
You can also follow Rachael on Instagram and Twitter for more interesting insights into her internship and life.

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