Additional Photos: Ochre Pictures
The numbers are in and we’re happy to announce that Last Madame is officially the Toggle Originals with the highest number of first-week views.
When we delivered this piece of good news to lead actress Joanne Peh last night (October 4) at the Fullerton Hotel, the first response we got from her is, ‘Wow’.
The actress then went on to tell us about some of the comments that she’s been receiving on her social media platforms recently, some of which have broken her heart.
“People tell me that they no longer watch local productions. When I see that, it’s like a knife was just stabbed into my chest!” she said. “Which is also why I feel even more moved when people tell me that they’ve started watching local dramas again after watching Last Madame.”
This is something that she shared that she never expected when filming the series. Just before the series’ launch last week, the cast and crew gave each other pep talks to tell each other that it would all work out, and that they shouldn’t worry too much about the numbers.
This overwhelming response has also spawned questions of whether a season two will be filmed - which, by the way, we don’t have an answer to quite yet.
If there is a sequel, however, Joanne would personally love to see more on the love story between Fung Lan (played by Joanne) and Inspector Mak (played by Jeff Chou).
“Their story really tugged on the viewers’ heartstrings (…) I’ve had people tell me that they were very moved by the scene where I said goodbye to him, while others told me that their favourite was the last scene between us when we were holding each others’ hands, with so much being said without any words being exchanged at all. I think we should tug at everyone’s heartstrings a little more,” she chuckled.
The 36-year-old would also love to see a spin-off of Inspector Mak’s story - where he came from, why he is the way he is, and how he copes after (spoiler alert!) Fung Lan dumps him.
Looking back at the filming process, Joanne laughingly described it as one of the most mentally and physically draining projects that she’s worked on.
She recounted, “We had a scene where Jeff was supposed to be hugging me. It was the second overnight shoot we had. When he hugged me, I fell asleep because I was just so tired! I honestly don’t know where I got the energy to deliver my lines.”
The supportive vibes that the entire cast and crew was a key in helping her to power on, as she revealed that Jeff and Amanda Ang (who plays Soh Fun) gave her boosts of energy with their encouraging words throughout the shoot.
“There would be days I would be crying my eyes out in the morning, and a few hours later, I’d be back in the studio and sitting calmly in my chair while saying lines like, ‘How can I help you, Inspector?’ There were a lot of emotions I had to pack and unpack in very short spans of time, which was why I needed me-time after filming ended,” she explained.
Her 12-day retreat in India gave her the much-needed recharging period that she needed to come back rejuvenated and ready for her next challenge.
Last, but definitely not the least, we asked Joanne about the biggest similarity she shares with Fung Lan, which is a role that she had previously shared that she loves.
She mused, “The both of us push and challenge societal norms. For Fung Lan, she lives in a world where the men call the shots, and yet she’s able to rise above that and go against what everyone else expects of her and women in general.”
“Likewise, for myself, there are certain expectations that people have - that actresses who have had children should only play certain roles. I played this role which people didn’t expect me to take on. Who says that women stop being sexy after having kids? Underneath all that, both Fung Lan and I are still feminine, which I think is also both our biggest strengths.”
All 12 episodes of Last Madame are available on Toggle for free.
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