Pierre Png has group chat with ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ co-stars

Yes, that means he has Michelle Yeoh’s and Constance Wu’s phone numbers; plus, we catch up with the cast of two upcoming Toggle Originals series

Pierre Png and 'A Lonely Fish' co-star Cynthia Koh
Pierre Png and 'A Lonely Fish' co-star Cynthia Koh
12 Jan 2018

Pierre Png and 'A Lonely Fish' co-star Cynthia Koh

After months of being contractually obliged – at least, we would assume so – to keep mum about the details of his involvement with highly anticipated book-to-film adaptation Crazy Rich Asians, Pierre can finally gush about his Hollywood debut experience.

While Pierre didn’t actually fly all the way to Tinseltown to shoot his scenes as Michael Teo, he still managed to get a good taste of what life is like behind the scenes of the movie-making capital right here on Singapore soil, where the popular Kevin Kwan novel is based.

“Let’s not even go into the details but the budget was huge,” the 43-year-old told us at yesterday’s launch of three new Toggle Originals series (Die Die Also Must Serve, Love Across the Causeway and A Lonely Fish, in which he stars). “It was amazing to go on set and feel like a million bucks – everyone there knew what they were doing, and all I had to do was show up, take instructions, and deliver.”

It all sounds like very serious business, but Pierre went on to say that the entire cast also had a lot of fun and became very tightly knit over the course of filming. They even have a group chat with which they’ve used to keep in contact after filming wrapped in June last year. “Yes, I have all their numbers, including Michelle [Yeoh]’s,” confirmed Pierre with a smile (talk about #humblebragging).

That said, he clarified that he does not share any scenes with the Malaysian-born legend. However, he does share a bit of screen time with main protagonists Rachel Chu and Nick Young, played by Taiwanese-American actress Constance Wu and Singapore-based actor Henry Golding respectively. “But it’s okay, we all got to hang out after the shoot,” he said.

And it is during their after-work activities that Pierre learned that many of his colleagues are “karaoke queens and kings”. Besides that, he and fellow locals Fiona Xie and Janice Koh played tour guide and took their out-of-town friends around to the best durian and KTV places.

With about seven months to go before the movie’s August release date, Pierre still has a bit of time to get ready for what will inevitably be a huge increase in international attention. “I really don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Am I prepared for it? We shall see.”

In the meantime, fans can catch Pierre in A Lonely Fish, which has him and Cynthia Koh paired up as husband and wife again after Zero Calling S1 and S2. The actor faced two major challenges making the six-episode series: the first, pretending to play the piano (without ever having gone through a lesson in his life); and secondly, trying to improvise his lines in Mandarin (which he is not exactly the most fluent in).

The latter turned out to be much more difficult. “With the piano, you can cheat using different camera shots; it’s the improvising that threw me off,” he admitted.

When we asked Cynthia if she thinks Pierre passed his Chinese ad-libbing with flying colours (or not), she mockingly dismissed him by saying begrudgingly, “Can lah. But he should try again!”

Additional photo: Pierre with his 'Crazy Rich Asians' co-stars (Photo: Pierre Png/Instagram)

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The stars of 'Crazy Rich Asians'
The stars of 'Crazy Rich Asians'
12 Jan 2018

The stars of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Clockwise from left: Pierre Png with Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan and co-star Gemma Chan; Henry Golding with Michelle Yeoh; Henry Golding with Constance Wu on the cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Photos: Gemma Chan/Instagram, Henry Golding/Instagram, Constance Wu/Instagram

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He Ying Ying gives her first onscreen kiss to Brian Ng
He Ying Ying gives her first onscreen kiss to Brian Ng
12 Jan 2018

He Ying Ying gives her first onscreen kiss to Brian Ng

Almost two years after making her acting debut in Toggle Original Run Rachael Run, the up-and-coming starlet has taken on a tougher, more complex and more emotionally heavy role in A Lonely Fish as a social outcast who loses her parents in a car accident. The script was written by three Ngee Ann Polytechnic students in collaboration with Mediacorp.

A Lonely Fish also marks the 22-year-old’s first onscreen kiss, which she gives to co-star Brian Ng. “When I read about the kiss in the script, I felt a bit awkward because Brian and I are friends in real life, and you don’t think about kissing your friends!” said Ying Ying with a laugh. “But it was more fun than I expected – I’m not saying we had fun kissing! – because we had fun planning the scene and rehearsing it.”

Brian, the slightly more experienced onscreen kisser with another scene under his belt (in Channel 8 drama Fire Up), said that he told Ying Ying that while it can be daunting at first, smooching for a role “is nothing” after a while. “It’s not even romantic because everyone’s watching you,” he said.

When we mischievously asked the pair to rate each other’s snogging skills, Ying Ying quickly piped up, “10 (out of 10)!” and looked utterly offended when Brian hesitated. He quickly explained, “To be honest, it was kind of boring because it was just a peck and we just stood there. So maybe a 4?”

Don’t worry, Ying Ying, we’re sure there are plenty more chances for you to impress with your lip-locking in the future.

Catch new episodes of A Lonely Fish every Thursday from March 1 for free on Toggle.

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Ya Hui bit Shane Pow on set!?
Ya Hui bit Shane Pow on set!?
12 Jan 2018

Ya Hui bit Shane Pow on set!?

Get ready to be scared silly one moment and then laugh out loud the next with Die Die Also Must Serve, the first of the three Toggle Originals introduced yesterday to be released. The 14-episode mini-series features six spine-chilling army anecdotes as told to a radio DJ during her supernatural-themed show.

Poor Shane, who plays the storyteller, experienced a taste of real-life horror (specifically, of the zombie genre) for himself during an intense action scene with Ya Hui, whose character had “gone crazy” and attacked him. During their scuffle, the actress – who probably got a little too into character – bit her co-star on his bicep without warning. Ouch!

“I knew she was going to choke me but she didn’t tell me she was going to bite me!” Shane complained, grabbing his left arm as if traumatised by the event. But Ya Hui didn’t walk away unscathed either – she ended up hurting her tooth. “I’ve been working out, man,” said Shane with a smirk.

However, their small act of violence was nothing compared to the 15 minutes of true terror their poor co-star Nick Teo went through…

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Nick Teo (pictured here with Hazelle Teo) was trapped in a dark elevator for 15 minutes
Nick Teo (pictured here with Hazelle Teo) was trapped in a dark elevator for 15 minutes
12 Jan 2018

Nick Teo (pictured here with Hazelle Teo) was trapped in a dark elevator for 15 minutes

The last thing we’d want happening to us is to get stuck in a lift in the middle of filming a ghostly series. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happened to poor Nick when they were shooting at an industrial building.

To make matters worse, the sun was setting, it was completely dark inside the lift (Nick recalled not even being able to see his own two hands) and the cabin had stopped between two levels.

“Ryan Lian, Kishan J. and I always fool around and talk nonsense on set, so I hope this didn’t happen because I offended some spirit!” he said with a [rather half-hearted sounding] laugh, saying that the first thing he did when the elevator broke down was to use the flash on his phone to examine his surroundings (all while praying that the light doesn’t reveal a…companion). “I think I would have cried if I really saw something inside with me.”

He continued, “I started to panic because it was evening time and I was afraid that everyone had gone home. Thankfully, the crew realised I was missing and came looking for me.”

All’s well that ends well, but we reckon the 28-year-old will be taking the stairs for a while.

Catch new episodes of Die Die Also Must Serve every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from January 18 for free on Toggle.

The stars of 'Love Across the Causeway'
The stars of 'Love Across the Causeway'
12 Jan 2018

The stars of 'Love Across the Causeway'

Love Across the Causeway is a five-episode teen drama produced by local filmmakers Butterworks in collaboration with Toggle. The trans-border (between Singapore and Malaysia) tale revolves around two students, whose blossoming romance is thwarted by unexpected events.

Catch new episodes of Love Across the Causeway every day from February 14 for free on Toggle.

The stars of the three upcoming Toggle Originals series
The stars of the three upcoming Toggle Originals series
12 Jan 2018

The stars of the three upcoming Toggle Originals series

The stars of 'Die Die Also Must Serve'
The stars of 'Die Die Also Must Serve'
12 Jan 2018

The stars of 'Die Die Also Must Serve'

The stars of 'A Lonely Fish'
The stars of 'A Lonely Fish'
12 Jan 2018

The stars of 'A Lonely Fish'


The cast of 'A Lonely Fish' at the Ngee Ann students who wrote the script
The cast of 'A Lonely Fish' at the Ngee Ann students who wrote the script
12 Jan 2018

The cast of 'A Lonely Fish' at the Ngee Ann students who wrote the script

Watch:
Pierre Png learned piano for A Lonely Fish
He Ying Ying gave her first onscreen kiss to Brian Ng 
Nick Teo: I got stuck in the lift after filming!
Ya Hui bit Shane Pow during filming for Die Die Also Must Serve

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