Brandon Wong may play a paedophile in upcoming Channel 8 drama Daybreak (more on that later) and the ruthless Lou Seh in Toggle Originals series Last Madame, but in real life, he’s a friendly and approachable family man… who hasn’t told his wife that he had to grope Joanne Peh (while in character for the latter production, of course).
“It’s her fault for not caring and never asking me what I’ve been doing or who I’ve been acting with!” he joked during our interview at the Daybreak press con earlier this week.
On a serious note, the 48-year-old explained that his missus has been so busy with work lately that she hasn’t had time to catch up with neither the series nor all the news surrounding it. Plus, with most of the media buzz focusing on Joanne and Taiwanese newcomer Jeff Chou’s romp instead, his own, erm, hands-on scene with the actress has been all but overshadowed.
It’s not hard to ignore, though. Far from it. While Fung Lan (played by Joanne) and Inspector Mak (played by Jeff) engage in tender, passionate love-making, Fung Lan and Lou Seh get caught up in a sensual but tense power play - with lots of that aforementioned groping - that turns into a vicious interrogation.
And yes, the actors really did grab onto each other’s body parts (her chest and his crotch) while filming, but here’s the plot twist: they were both wearing “protection”. While Brandon isn’t sure exactly what was underneath Joanne’s pretty cheongsam, he donned a groin guard, not unlike the one Jeff and Derek’s Desmond Tan used to preserve their modesty during their respective nude scenes (it’s typically used by athletes to avoid getting injured down there).
“On camera, it looks like we’re realistically touching each other, but in actual fact, there was no direct contact because we were just groping the props,” he explained. “I will make this clear to my wife when she eventually finds out about the scene, so she should understand! (Laughs)”
When asked if things ever got awkward between him and Joanne, Brandon reported that that was never the case as they were both consummate professionals who completely understood what the scene required of them. However, the actor did admit to being worried at first - even more so than his co-star, who was very open and straightforward about everything - as he did not want to unintentionally or unknowingly offend her (which fortunately never happened).
In fact, he confessed that he actually feels more awkward around Joanne’s husband Qi Yuwu, who stars as a lawyer in Daybreak. Both Last Madame and Daybreak were filmed at around the same time, but they never once brought the scene up in conversation while working together.
“Sometimes I wonder if Ah Wu will suddenly come up to me and say [angrily], ‘Hey, you ah!’” he chuckled. “I’m not sure if he might misunderstand because the groping looks so realistic, but I guess I can’t do anything about it because it depends on how Joanne explained it to him.”
Brandon, we are pleased to confirm that Yuwu is absolutely chill about the whole situation. In fact, the 42-year-old has been nothing but supportive of Joanne from the very beginning, even telling us that he “really admires” her for being so brave.
“Joanne told me Brandon was even more embarrassed than her [when they were filming the groping scene], and I can totally imagine that,” he grinned. “But I’m okay with it! Since there was no issue, I didn’t see a need to talk about it.”
Yuwu is just as cool with the bedroom action between Joanne and Jeff, which is far racier and involves a lot more nudity. “Maybe it’s because I’m also an actor, so I understand that scenes like that are a necessary part of the story,” he continued. “If you were to ask me about my concerns, it would be about whether the final product turned out beautifully and properly conveyed the character development, and I’m glad that it did.”
He continued, “As a woman, wife, and mother, I think Joanne felt a lot of pressure taking on a role like this, and still, she trusted her judgement and accepted it. And so far, I believe she’s very proud and happy with what she’s done, and I think that’s wonderful. (Smiles)”
Brandon and his sons Yu Jie, Yu Xin, and Yu Xuan.
We guess there’s no rest for the wicked - or, in Brandon’s case, for those who portray them on screen. Even with Yuwu’s stamp of approval on his role in Last Madame, there’s another group of people he’s afraid of causing a huge misunderstanding with, this time with Daybreak: his son’s friends.
Although his part in Daybreak isn’t a very big one, it’s bound to make an impression. After all, his depraved character - a trusted tuition teacher, of all things - sexually assaults a 10-year-old girl.
“I’ve played the bad guy many times before, but I personally found this the hardest to digest because my oldest is also 10 and has many friends who know who I am, so I’m concerned about the impression this role might leave on them: will they be scared of me, or will they tease my son and call his dad a pervert?” mused Brandon, who has three boys.
To prevent this from happening, he plans to sit his son down and give him a thorough explanation about the nature of his job, and at the same time, take the opportunity to educate the lad about what he should do if he is ever made fun of or bullied.
Parenting: Brandon is doing it right.
The cast of 'Daybreak'.
Daybreak premieres on October 21, 9pm on Channel 8. You can also watch it for free on Toggle.
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How did Joanne Peh describe her bed scene in ‘Last Madame’ to hubby Qi Yuwu?
Photos: Tammi Tan, Instagram/Qi Yuwu, Instagram/Brandon Wong, screenshots/Toggle