Edmund Chen to make Channel 8 comeback with family

The actor returns to Channel 8 after 11 years for a cameo in ‘Life Less Ordinary’ alongside wife Xiang Yun and their children, Chen Yi Xi and Chen Yi Xin

Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi
Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi

Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Genice Ooi, Aaron Ho

Zheng Wan Ling. Nick Shen. Florence Tan. Fann Wong. It’s been a good year for local television comebacks (or at least, announcements hailing said comebacks).

The latest big name making a notable return to the small screen is Edmund Chen, whose last Channel 8 drama was 2007’s The Golden Path. The actor-turned-artist, 56, and his 17-year-old daughter Chen Yi Xin are set to have cameo roles in Life Less Ordinary, in which his wife Xiang Yun, 55, is the lead actress. His son Chen Yi Xi, 26, is also a regular in the long-form drama.

Alas, while the entire family will be involved in the show, they won’t actually be related to each other, with the exception of Edmund and Yi Xin, whose father-daughter relationship remains intact onscreen. Yi Xi is “a complete stranger” to them, while Edmund plays someone who pined after Xiang Yun’s character in high school, but – unlike in real life – they never got together.

Edmund’s and Yi Xin’s guest appearances take place on board a cruise ship, with Edmund sharing two scenes with Xiang Yun. “We meet on a boat (chuan), but I don’t know if we’ll end up in bed (chuang),” he quipped in Mandarin at yesterday’s imaging session. The cringe-worthy – and slightly off-colour – dad joke immediately drew dramatically disgusted reactions from his two children, whom we interviewed together with him.

Such was the no-holds-barred, chummy atmosphere between the trio the whole time we were at the studio with them. Some of the interactions we witnessed include them tickling each other during group photos, the two men complaining about Yi Xin being too tall in platform heels (with her grinning delightedly in response), and Edmund dubbing himself “Cai Zhou Kan” (a play on the last word of his Chinese name and magazine i-Weekly) while enthusiastically taking snaps of his daughter on his phone.

Adorable, aren’t they? This is why we wholeheartedly agreed with Yi Xi when he shared his desire to star in a family sitcom with his parents and little sis, as he believes their real-life chemistry will translate nicely in reel life as well. But until that happens, we’ll happily settle with whatever’s given to us when Edmund’s and Yi Xin’s cameos in Life Less Ordinary air in February next year.

Click on for more photos from the imaging session and for our interview with Edmund, Yi Xi and Yi Xin!

Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi
Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xin, Edmund Chen and Chen Yi Xi

Toggle: Welcome back, Edmund! What made you decide to finally make your comeback?
Edmund:
A lot of people, including my family and friends like Chen Li Ping and Zoe Tay, have been persuading me to come back. I’ve also received many offers over the years but I couldn’t accept them because of other commitments. This time, the timing is perfect because it’s the holiday period, and the kids and their mum are all involved in the show, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to be on set without needing to apply for a special permit. Plus, I get to go on a free cruise! (laughs)
Yi Xi: That’s actually the main point.

Are you worried about feeling rusty with your acting on set?
Edmund:
Not really. My only concern is that these guys (gestures to his kids) are so close to me, and all of the sudden I have to play a character around them. That’s the ultimate challenge, because it might get very awkward.
Yi Xin: I don’t think it’ll be awkward because at least I’ll still be playing his daughter, otherwise it would be weird.

Have you seen your kids act? What do you think of them?
Edmund:
I feel that they are still a bit too cautious of their surroundings. My son in particular can be a little too careful, which may make him come off as very reserved. My daughter, on the other hand, is very lively, so sometimes she tends to lose herself and it’s hard to bring her back down to earth.

Do you foresee yourself and your wife nit-picking on your kids’ acting on set?
Edmund:
I will try not to get involved because we have to respect the director, but before that, when we’re still doing our prep, we will give them a few pointers, after which they will have to inject their own personality and colour into their roles.

Peace signs all around from the Chen family
Peace signs all around from the Chen family
13 Oct 2017

Peace signs all around from the Chen family

Yi Xi and Yi Xin, are you stressed about acting with your dad?
(Before they answer, they chase their poor father off camera.)
Yi Xin: I’m okay, actually.
Yi Xi: Yeah, we’re quite comfortable with our dad, because we know he’s a happy, cool guy.
Yi Xin: And besides, we always practise our lines with him so it’s very normal. I think we’ll be even more comfortable with him around.

Edmund, you once told us that you and your wife agreed to stop working together because of a fight you had on set. Are you worried about history repeating itself?
Edmund:
Did I ever say that? I don’t remember. [Ed’s note: we honestly don’t know if he’s feigning ignorance or genuinely cannot recall what he told us before.] Anyway, I’m not worried. Quarrels are part of our daily routine, it would be strange not to have them. (laughs) But I do think we might be a bit paiseh (embarrassed) because we’re too familiar with each other, so we might need a little warming up.

What are your thoughts on your son quitting his job for showbiz?
Edmund:
It’s been a struggle, but we’ve been telling him to just do what he likes. At that time, he was fresh out of school and didn’t seem to be interested in acting, so naturally he got a job in animation, which was great because it was a regular 9-to-5 thing and he was good at it. Then a year later, after getting to explore acting, he came to me and asked “What should I do?” I said, “Give yourself a chance [with acting], maybe three years; you never know what could happen.” Basically, the most important thing is the journey itself, and not what you’re doing.

Yi Xin, do you see yourself quitting a regular job for showbiz in the future as well?
Yi Xin:
I don’t even know what job I’ll have! (laughs) Right now I’m studying Applied Drama and Psychology, so I might probably do counselling, but my parents are not that strict [about my career choices]. And I’m glad that I’m getting to experience showbiz at this age so I can know what to do when it’s time to make a decision in the future.
Edmund: I’m okay as long as they’re doing the right thing and are happy. The most important thing is to have the right set of values in life. I believe that I’ve imparted a good value system and moral compass to them. The rest is up to them, and as long as they are safe and happy, that’s all I can hope for.

Edmund, can we look forward to seeing you in more acting roles? What’s next for you?
Edmund:
I’ll be busy with two web programmes, but I’m involved in the behind-the-scenes work. As for acting, I have no idea. Let’s see how the outcome of this one is first!

Edmund Chen
Edmund Chen
13 Oct 2017

Edmund Chen

Edmund and Yi Xi arrived at the studio earlier as Yi Xin was still doing her makeup
Edmund and Yi Xi arrived at the studio earlier as Yi Xin was still doing her makeup
13 Oct 2017

Edmund and Yi Xi arrived at the studio earlier as Yi Xin was still doing her makeup

Yi Xin and Yi Xi teasing each other (a.k.a. displaying typical sibling behaviour)
Yi Xin and Yi Xi teasing each other (a.k.a. displaying typical sibling behaviour)
13 Oct 2017

Yi Xin and Yi Xi teasing each other (a.k.a. displaying typical sibling behaviour)

Chen Yi Xin and Chen Yi Xi, after the bantering dies down
Chen Yi Xin and Chen Yi Xi, after the bantering dies down
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xin and Chen Yi Xi, after the bantering dies down

Chen Yi Xi
Chen Yi Xi
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xi

Chen Yi Xi, after being told to give us a
Chen Yi Xi, after being told to give us a "cute" pose
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xi, after being told to give us a "cute" pose

Chen Yi Xin
Chen Yi Xin
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xin

Chen Yi Xin sports a demure look that prompted someone to say,
Chen Yi Xin sports a demure look that prompted someone to say, "You're all grown up!"
13 Oct 2017

Chen Yi Xin sports a demure look that prompted someone to say, "You're all grown up!"

Reporter Edmund Chen on the job!
Reporter Edmund Chen on the job!
13 Oct 2017

Reporter Edmund Chen on the job!

Life Less Ordinary airs weekdays, 7.30pm on Channel 8; watch it on Toggle-It-First.

Watch:
Is Edmund worried about being rusty on set?

Related:
The fights, fears and frights of Xiang Yun, Edmund Chen
Chen Yi Xi quits job for acting
ALL GROWN UP: Introducing the next generation of local stars

Report a problem