Chen Hanwei, Ann Kok: dancers from hell

No, really, they play cha-cha-dancing underworld denizens in ‘Hello From The Other Side’

Chen Hanwei, Ann Kok: dancers from hell
Chen Hanwei, Ann Kok: dancers from hell
10 Oct 2018

Chen Hanwei, Ann Kok: dancers from hell

Photos: Camelia Ting

It looks like upcoming Channel 8 drama Hello From The Other Side is giving its cast opportunities to learn a variety of new skills they probably never knew they needed (and for us to brush up on our knowledge of Chinese afterlife mythology).

Last month, Rui En and Shaun Chen unleashed their inner baristas as they took lessons in latte art, and not long after (on September 19, to be exact), we dropped by a dance studio to check out Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok’s cha-cha class, in which they had two hours to master every step, sway and shuffle.

In the end, the two actors proved to be naturals as they managed to impressively complete the session in just under an hour. Not bad at all for Hanwei, who admitted that he doesn’t exactly have the best sense of coordination when it comes to things like dancing or action scenes.

“I learned the cha-cha during my clubbing days, so that’s why I was able to get it so quickly today,” he explained with a chuckle. “Although it’s been 30 years since then, dancing is like riding a bicycle: you never really forget how to do it.”

Ann, on the other hand, has had to learn some basic dance steps for variety programmes and charity show performances (she last picked up belly dancing for one of the latter). Despite being a huge fan of Korean boy band BIGBANG, their choreography is not something she has endeavoured to attempt. “I just like their songs,” she laughed.

(Continued on next slide: Chen Hanwei is looking forward to working with Rui En again)

Chen Hanwei is looking forward to working with Rui En again
Chen Hanwei is looking forward to working with Rui En again
11 Oct 2018

Chen Hanwei is looking forward to working with Rui En again

In Hello From The Other Side, Hanwei takes on the role of Yan Wang, the “CEO of the underworld” who recruits Rui En’s and Shaun’s characters as grim reapers. This king of the underworld, however, is a very innovative one, as he plans to add modern amenities and technologies to the courts of hell to make it look less, well, hellish.

To match both his forward-thinking mind-set and ancient status, Hanwei’s wardrobe consists of a mix of traditional and contemporary details. “For example,” he elaborated. “I wear wide-legged trousers (similar to the Japanese Hakama) paired with a long-sleeved top and belt, and tie my hair in a topknot. Very stylish.” (Is it just us, or does that sound exactly like what the real Hanwei would look like on a regular day?)

While Hanwei and Shaun have worked together quite a number of times in recent years (they can now be seen on the currently running Blessings 2), Hello From The Other Side will be the first proper collaboration between Hanwei and Rui En since 2010’s With You, in which they played husband and wife. They were also in 2013’s The Dream Makers but only had a few scenes together.

“I think working with her again after so many years will be a very enjoyable experience,” he gushed. “I’ve heard that she is a lot more relaxed and happier now, so I am happy for her.”

As filming has already begun (about two weeks ago, to be exact), we can’t wait to catch up with Hanwei, Rui En and Ann to find out what it’s been like working together again after so long.

(Continued on next slide: Ann Kok has no plans to bring her cake business to Singapore)

Photos: Channel 8

Ann Kok has no plans to bring her cake business to Singapore
Ann Kok has no plans to bring her cake business to Singapore
10 Oct 2018

Ann Kok has no plans to bring her cake business to Singapore

The object of Yan Wang’s desire in the series is Meng Jiao, the reincarnation of Meng Po (or the Lady of Forgetfulness), played by Ann in her first major television role since 2015’s Crescendo. However, due to the fact that office romances are seemingly frowned upon even in the land of the dead, the only way he can show his “affection” is by spiking her drinks with her own memory-erasing soup, making her forget that she hates her job and wants to quit, therefore keeping her by his side.

When we asked which one of her co-stars she’s looking forward to sharing scenes with the most again after such a long time, the 45-year-old shrugged and said, “I’ve not really thought about it, to be honest. To me, acting isn’t about who I want to work with, but about who I have chemistry with.”

“For example,” she continued. “I could want to work with Andy Lau, but if we don’t have chemistry, then there’s no way we can do a good job. So the most important thing is to have chemistry no matter who you’re working with.”

The actress displayed similar candour when we checked in to see if there’s been progress in potential plans to bring her castella cake shop Harmony Bakery, which has an outlet in Johor Bahru, to the Lion City. The answer is no. “There are too many factors that make it difficult: rent is expensive, it’s hard to hire people, and we can’t sell our products at too high a price,” she explained.

Instead, Ann will be opening a brand new Korean café with a few of her friends right here in Singapore. At the time of our interview, they had decided on a location but not the exact launch date, but she estimated that it would be at least a month from the day we spoke.

Because of this budding new business, Ann will not be taking on any dramas aside from Hello From The Other Side (for now, at least), which means that fans should appreciate her presence on screen while they can.

Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok practise some graceful moves
Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok practise some graceful moves
10 Oct 2018

Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok practise some graceful moves

Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok pay close attention to their dance teachers
Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok pay close attention to their dance teachers
10 Oct 2018

Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok pay close attention to their dance teachers

The dance teachers watch Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok closely
The dance teachers watch Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok closely
10 Oct 2018

The dance teachers watch Chen Hanwei and Ann Kok closely

Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose
Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose
10 Oct 2018

Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose


Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose
Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose
10 Oct 2018

Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei strike a pose

Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei
Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei
10 Oct 2018

Ann Kok and Chen Hanwei

Ann and Hanwei in their character's costumes
Ann and Hanwei in their character's costumes
10 Oct 2018

Ann and Hanwei in their character's costumes

​​​​​​​Photo: Channel 8

Hello From The Other Side debuts Mar 7, 2019 on Channel 8 at 9pm.

Related:
Rui En gears up to play a grim reaper in ‘Hello From The Other Side’
Rui En makes Channel 8 comeback as a ‘soul reaper’

Report a problem