Chen Tian Wen slaps infant son on set to make him cry

Actor’s actions shock his Mr Unbelievable co-star Liu Ling Ling


Photos: Jeslyn Say, Clover Films, artistes’ social media

While filming the comedy movie Mr Unbelievable, Chen Tian Wen’s 4-month-old son, Genghis (also nicknamed Xiao Un), wouldn’t cry on cue. So the actor gave him a hand.

“He left a giant red mark on Xiao Un’s thigh,” said Tian Wen’s co-star Liu Ling Ling. “The baby burst into tears, and it broke my heart!”

“I’ll never let my own children join the entertainment industry — filming is too tough!”

The cast and crew of Mr Unbelievable celebrated the end of their non-stop 15-day shoot at a luncheon on Wednesday. In this movie directed by Ong Kuo Sin, who helmed Channel 5 sitcom Spouse for House, Tian Wen plays Eric Kwek, an 80s singer who dreams of incorporating English lyrics in Hokkien songs.

The movie also stars Liu Ling Ling, Marcus Chin, Roy Loi, FLY Entertainment artiste Jaime Teo and Ah Boys to Men star Tosh Zhang. Baby Genghis got a part as Eric when he was an abandoned infant.


Asked about his heavy-handed approach to get his son to cry, Tian Wen said it was more of a slight pat. “The plot involved him crying, so I didn’t have much choice, but it pained me and my wife,” he said.

But Genghis’s acting skills are not quite Star Awards-worthy yet. “When you need him to cry he won’t, and when you don’t want him to cry he bawls!” Tian Wen said. It was hot and sunny the day the baby had to film his crying scene, so the warm weather made him cry louder, he added.

Tian Wen once said he was open to letting Genghis be a spokes-baby in advertisements for infant formula, but after his cameo in Mr Unbelievable, Genghis won’t be taking part in other projects for now, according to his father.


Breakneck speed
The entire movie took just 15 days to shoot, a new local record, though the cast and crew filmed from day to night, with no days off from start to finish. When filming wrapped, Tian Wen came down with a bad cold.

But the toughest part about the project was having to read his lines in English, the actor said. At Wednesday’s lunch he performed his most NG-ed line, “That moment, you must enjoy the moment and then you must feel the moment.” It took Tian Wen more than 10 takes to get it right.

Jaime Teo seemed to have had an easier time on set. The actress said she managed to bribe her way to cushier scenes with food. Jaime, who runs Twelve Cupcakes with her husband, Daniel Ong, brought in a batch of the sweet treats every day for the cast and filming crew.

“I offered the director cake, so all my scenes were shot indoors,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t have to stand under the sun!”

The comedy is produced by mm2 Entertainment and Clover Films, and will be released in Singapore this December 3.

This story first appeared on
Story by Jeslyn Say

Watch Spouse for House on catch-up TV and catch Chen Tian Wen in 118 on Channel 8, weeknights at 7.30 pm. For more information about 118, visit the official website.

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