Romeo Tan takes on most challenging role yet

The actor will be playing a character with Asperger’s syndrome in upcoming long form drama, Life Less Ordinary

Romeo Tan takes on most challenging role yet
Romeo Tan takes on most challenging role yet
09 Jun 2017

Romeo Tan takes on most challenging role yet

Photos: Camelia Ting, Toh Ziyi
Video: Sarah Tay

After seven years in the entertainment industry, you’d think that local actor Romeo Tan would’ve run out of “first times”.

However, for upcoming long-form drama, Life Less Ordinary, Romeo will be experiencing yet another “first” in his career – his first time portraying a character with Asperger’s syndrome, 28-year-old Chen Ya Long.

“He’s just like any other person on the street, just that he may have some problems expressing his thoughts, and because of that, other people might feel uncomfortable around him,” Romeo shared in an interview with Toggle at his first imaging session for Life Less Ordinary yesterday.

Romeo also shared with us a number of quirks that his character has – Ya Long really loves plants and nature, and often converses with the potted plants that he grows at home, taking the movement of the leaves in the breeze as his plants’ replies. Ya Long also tries not to and cannot maintain eye-contact for too long, something that Romeo is working on.

“This is my first time acting a character like this, and while I am looking forward to it, it’ll definitely be challenging for me as well,” Romeo let on. “There’s a part that I’m worried about too, as I’ll have to take on Ya Long’s character every day for half a year. Ya Long often avoids eye-contact, so by the time filming ends, I might just start avoiding eye-contact even when we’re not filming.”

Speaking of eye-contact, he actor also let on that he has also realised that after entering the industry, he tends to avoid eye-contact more often, especially in public places.

“Once you catch the eye of a passer-by, the chances of them recognising you is higher, so I’ll tend to avoid eye-contact when I’m out,” he shared.

However, don’t take that to mean that Romeo is arrogant. The actor shared that often times, he just wants to complete his errands quickly and be done for the day, which is why he tends to keep a low profile in public.

We also speak to Romeo about recent reports of him being a “frequent visitor” at fellow actor Elvin Ng’s new house. Read on for more.

Romeo Tan and Elvin Ng
Romeo Tan and Elvin Ng
09 Jun 2017

Romeo Tan and Elvin Ng

Romeo and Elvin’s friendship has been put in the spotlight recently after the latter’s neighbour (Miss Cai) sent a tip-off to the Chinese papers, alleging that Romeo has been seen staying the night at Elvin’s place multiple times. She also shared her suspicions of the duo co-habiting with the papers.

When contacted for a comment by the papers, Romeo shared that as Elvin’s new house was an eight-minute drive away from Mediacorp and he sometimes stayed over as it was more convenient for him to get to work.

The actor also shared that as he currently lives together with his parents, his brothers and their family in a four-room flat, it gets a little too crowded sometimes ­- which is why he chooses to stay over at his friend's place once in a while. 

When we brought up the reports of Romeo being a frequent visitor at fellow actor Elvin’s new house at the imaging session, Romeo told us matter-of-factly: “This matter has already been reported on the newspapers, so I feel that there’s not much for me to say as well. All I can say is, we’re not avoiding this topic on purpose, nor has our friendship [Romeo and Elvin’s] changed. We’ve not gone out of our way to change anything as well.”

When asked if he still goes over to Elvin’s house, the actor replied, “I don’t wish to talk about this matter anymore. It doesn’t matter if I still go over to his house or not, what’s important is the fact that we all have our own private lives, things that we wish to do, and friends that we want to have. I know that as a public figure, the public will magnify and scrutinise our actions.

“However, I will not let these matters affect me, or my friendships.”

The actor, who mentioned that he’ll greet Elvin’s neighbours whenever they crossed paths, also laughed that he will still greet them if they come across each other.

“I wouldn’t go up to them and ask, ‘Are you Miss Cai,’ of course,” Romeo laughed.

(Continued on next page: ‘The Noose’ actor Suhaimi Yusof makes his foray into Chinese dramas!)

Suhaimi Yusof
Suhaimi Yusof
09 Jun 2017

Suhaimi Yusof

A familiar face on Channel 5 and Suria programmes, Suhaimi Yusof will be making his first appearance in a Chinese drama as Rashid Bin Mohamed, a happy-go-lucky driver in a factory. The actor will pair up with local actress Aileen Tan for the drama, whom he previously worked together with for the movie, Long Long Time Ago.

“I was super excited when I first got the offer,” Suhaimi shared. “It was like, ‘Wow, this is something that we never thought was going to happen,’” he enthused.

The actor also shared that he is looking forward to being able to take his “revenge” on Aileen, after they worked together for Long Long Time Ago.

It turned out that Aileen had some lines in Malay for the movie and she had enlisted the help of Suhaimi to explain them to her so that she’d be able to better understand her character and the lines.

At that time, Suhaimi had sat down with Aileen, and dutifully translated and explained every line.

“This time round, it’s going to be my turn. I’m going to call her and tell her, ‘You know how long you’ve tortured me for? Now it’s your turn’”, he laughed gleefully.

As he will be conversing in a mix of Malay, Mandarin and English on the show, Suhaimi shared that he’s currently working on learning a couple of basic conversational Mandarin phrases.

The actor even dispensed his top tip for learning any language - start singing songs in whatever language you wish to learn!

Crooning a couple of lines from Teresa Teng’s ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’, as well as Sky Wu’s ‘Give My Special Love to the Special You’, he laughed, “Out of the 20 songs that you’ll sing, you’ll probably understand 10. As for the other 10, just ask them to google it lor.”

(Continued on next page: What will Xiang Yun do if her husband, Edmund Chen, decides to make his acting comeback?)

Xiang Yun
Xiang Yun
09 Jun 2017

Xiang Yun

Life Less Ordinary will be Xiang Yun’s second long-form drama following 2016’s Peace & Prosperity. Now, instead of playing mother to five rambunctious daughters, Xiang Yun will be taking on the role of a hardworking and filial factory supervisor, who remains unwed at the age of 49.

The cheery actress shared that she’s been exercising more often these days, in the hopes that she will be in tip-top form when filming starts.

With her youngest child, Chen Yixin, 17, making her acting debut in upcoming drama While We Are Young, all four members of her family [including former actor Edmund Chen 56, and older son Chen Yixi, 26] are now bona fide actors in their own right.

“He’s quite lonely at home now,” Xiang Yun laughs, when asked if Edmund feels the urge to stage his acting comeback. “He often makes soup and cooks dinner for the kids to come home and eat.”

“The three of us have been persuading him to make his return to the small screen, [I guess] we’ll just have to wait for a suitable role and script now, since Yixin doesn’t need him to stay at home and accompany her anymore,” she followed up.

However, Xiang Yun let on that she’s not sure if he will be able to return to acting just yet, as Edmund is pretty caught up in his work right now as well.

The actress shared that the father-of-two often sits down with Yixi and Yixin to go through their scripts, and dispenses advice on how to tackle a particular scene whenever possible.

Click on for more pictures of the imaging session!

Chen Liping plays a factory supervisor, who often dresses casually
Chen Liping plays a factory supervisor, who often dresses casually
09 Jun 2017

Chen Liping plays a factory supervisor, who often dresses casually

Liping will be sporting a new haircut and fake tattoo for this role.

Chen Liping plays Romeo's mother in the drama
Chen Liping plays Romeo's mother in the drama
09 Jun 2017

Chen Liping plays Romeo's mother in the drama

Check out some of the interesting outfits the characters donned!
Check out some of the interesting outfits the characters donned!
09 Jun 2017

Check out some of the interesting outfits the characters donned!

Chen Liping and Xiang Yun's characters are neighbours who used to be extremely close
Chen Liping and Xiang Yun's characters are neighbours who used to be extremely close
09 Jun 2017

Chen Liping and Xiang Yun's characters are neighbours who used to be extremely close

However, they fell out with each other after falling in love with the same man.

Who will come out tops in this fight?
Who will come out tops in this fight?
09 Jun 2017

Who will come out tops in this fight?

Get set, ready, fight!
Get set, ready, fight!
09 Jun 2017

Get set, ready, fight!

That's an interesting look Romeo's sporting!
That's an interesting look Romeo's sporting!
09 Jun 2017

That's an interesting look Romeo's sporting!

Life Less Ordinary debuts October 2, 7:30pm on Channel 8.

WATCH:
Xiang Yun: Our family hopes for Edmund Chen to make his acting comeback!

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