The cast apparently got along so well with each other - “like a house on fire”, as his co-star Rui En described - that as soon as the director yelled “cut”, the set would descend into chaos as everyone would start talking and making a racket.
“Sometimes we go overboard, and the director has to try and control us. I think it’s quite tough for them,” he chuckled.
The noise level came to a dramatic and ear-splitting peak one fateful day when two unwelcome guests were spotted in the kitchen area of the drama set on September 19. We’ll let Rui En, whom we caught up with (along with Elvin) during a set visit a couple of weeks ago, narrate the events of that fateful morning.
“I think when you’re scared of cockroaches, you have a good ‘radar’ when it comes to detecting them. So I walked into the kitchen, and although the lights were off, I looked down and was like, that looks like a dead cockroach,” she recounted to us. “Everyone came in to check it out, and I think someone said, ‘Oh my god. There’s a live one eating the dead one.’” Cue utter panic and a dramatic retreat to higher ground.
For those who haven’t seen the clip, which was recorded by Chantalle Ng and posted on Elvin’s Instagram page, it features a thoroughly terrified-looking Rui En perched on top of a dining chair, shrieking and looking generally distraught as the other cast and crew members check out the offending creepy-crawlies.
Poor Rui En's reaction to spotting a cockroach (two, actually) on set. (Photos: Instagram/Elvin Ng)
It’s possibly the most unglam side of the actress we’ve ever seen, but Rui En told us that she’s “actually very glad” the moment was immortalised on video. “I find it damn funny!” she chortled. “I still laugh every time I watch it. I’m thankful I wasn’t scolding vulgarities! (Laughs)”
As it turns out, the 38-year-old has always had an intense fear of roaches - and insects in general - since she was young, although there wasn’t any particular incident that sparked it.
When we asked how she usually reacts to seeing a cockroach at home, she said that it’s “exactly the same” as depicted in the clip: high-pitched screaming, running, and getting as far away from the bug as possible. She then admitted that the screeching once landed her in hot water with her dad when he was still living with her (he has since retired and moved to New Zealand).
“I actually shocked him out of his sleep so badly that he lost it and scolded me for scaring him like that,” she recalled. “Like, he got really angry and was like, ‘Girl, you know you can’t be screaming like that in the middle of the night!’ I think even my neighbours in the next block thought I was being murdered.”
“I know I can be a bit overdramatic, but that comes with the territory of being an actress, right?” she mused. Honestly, as fellow entomophobes, we find her response completely understandable, regardless of her occupation.
Watch 'Old is Gold' episode 94:
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Read on as we chat with Rui En and Elvin Ng about their experiences working on Old is Gold, “aunty uncle spats” (seriously), and more!
How do you feel now that filming for Old is Gold has finally come to an end?
I came in quite late (my character only appears from episode 94 onwards), and just when I was starting to feel right at home, they’re about to tear down the set! (Laughs) I had a lot of fun and I felt very comfortable being back in Singapore from Taiwan.
What are some of your most memorable moments?
I had to learn to dance the Argentine tango with [Chen] Liping jie, that was quite interesting. Outside of filming, it would be sending Rui En home after work if we happened to be on set together.
There was once, I waited for her to finish one whole scene even though I could have gone off earlier. When she was done, she was like, “Quick, quick! I’m late for my foot massage!” So I tried to rush by attempting to cut the queue going into the car park, but I ended up missing [the entrance]. She was like, “I knew I should have taken Grab.” Wow. I rolled my eyes. I tell you ah, we’re like an old husband and wife - we just squabble all the time! (Laughs)
Tell us about the cockroach incident.
We were filming in the house and suddenly they said there was a live roach on top of a dead one, which caused panic and drama everywhere. I was also scared lah. (Laughs) But Rui En was such an over-the-top drama queen!
Chantalle teaching Elvin how to use GrabFood. (Photos: Instagram/Chantalle Ng)
We also saw a video of you learning how to use GrabFood…
Chantalle kept trying to tell me about GrabFood, but I was like, I don’t know how to use it because I don’t need to! If I need to, I get my siblings or my helper to buy food for me. (Laughs) So everyone made fun of me, and Rui En called me “uncle” and “grandfather”. Hello? We are from the same era!
What’s something new or surprising you learned about Rui En from working with her this time?
Nothing about her surprises me anymore, but I think someday, we need to sit down and have a proper conversation because we can never talk to each other. (Laughs) We even quarrel in our group chats! But I’m glad to see her being noisier and happier these days. I think I’ve opened up more as well.
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How do you feel now that filming for Old is Gold has finally come to an end?
Very relieved. There was a point in the middle when I was like, oh my god, I’m so tired, I can’t do this anymore. I even told myself that I regret taking on this show! My schedule was very bad before I went to New York because we had to squeeze in two weeks’ worth of scenes into a much shorter period of time, so there was a point where I was getting three to four hours of sleep a night.
But now [that filming is ending], I actually feel quite sentimental! This group of actors have gotten along like a house on fire, and when the days are long, it’s the people around you that can help you cope, so it’s been a very good experience.
Elvin told me about what happened when he sent you for a foot massage…
(Laughs) The older we get, the more we are like uncle and aunty! I was like, “Elvin, you can just queue to go into the basement car park,” but he was like, “No! I want to cut queue!” And he missed [the entrance], and wanted to drop me off at this traffic junction. I said, “You can’t just drop me off at a traffic junction!” I know it sounds ridiculous, but we just have our little aunty uncle spats.
Ruivin when they're not bickering. (Photos: Instagram/Elvin Ng)
And the GrabFood incident?
Chantalle had to help Elvin download the app and retrieve his password. She settled it just like that [snaps] but Elvin was like, “I don’t even know if I have a Gmail account,” and we were like, “Whaaat?” So we tease each other a lot, but it’s a good way to pass the time because some days can get really long and tedious.
So what’s next for you?
This show has been incredibly blessed right from the start. We’ve done well ratings-wise, and for the first time in what I’ve heard is a few years, the company has decided to do an Old is Gold telemovie, which is amazing and certainly not something I’ve ever done.
After that, I will be taking four months off to train up for my next role. I can’t reveal too much about it, but it’s going to be very different from anything I’ve ever done before. I’m expecting it to be very physical and action-packed. My Muay Thai skills will definitely come in handy.
Old is Gold airs weeknights at 7.30pm on Channel 8 and Toggle.
The Old is Gold telemovie will air on November 30, 7pm on Channel 8.
Elvin Ng finally managed to get Rui En’s number last year
EAT, PRAY, KICK BUTT: Rui En’s keys to surviving her first long-form drama
We showed the ‘Old is Gold’ cast how they’d look in 50 years and here’s how they reacted