Rui En seeks divine protection before every stunt scene

A lot of things are out of your control, says the ‘Hello From The Other Side’ actress

Rui En and Shaun Chen on the set of 'Hello From The Other Side'
Rui En and Shaun Chen on the set of 'Hello From The Other Side'
20 Dec 2018

Rui En and Shaun Chen on the set of 'Hello From The Other Side'

Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Yong Kwang Wei, Charlene Chong

We showed up on the set of Channel 8’s Hello From The Other Side one sunny Monday morning a couple of weeks ago, excited to witness the behind-the-scenes workings of one of the upcoming fantasy drama’s many stunt scenes - which made lead actress Rui En feel like she was making a Hollywood movie - in person.

Alas, what ended up happening was rubbish, literally - sure, there were green screens (which are used for the addition of special effects in post-production) propped up around the HDB void deck area where the scene was being filmed, but the most action we saw was a huge green dumpster being made to look like it was telekinetically shoved by Rui En’s grim reaper character via the yanking of a rope tied to one of its wheels. Not exactly Jackie Chan or Tom Cruise level stuff, if you know what we mean.

A glimmer of hope emerged for us when we were told that her fellow soul collector Shaun Chen would be jumping off a building (with safety precautions and all, of course; we’re not sadistic demons) that afternoon, but inevitable changes in the unpredictable production plans and schedule led it to be axed. Oh well.

Not that the two actors haven’t already had their fair share of adrenaline-pumping action throughout the course of the shoot. During our interview with the duo between takes, Rui En shared that this has been the most stunt scenes she’s filmed for a drama in recent years, and her first time acting in front of so many green scenes.

Unsurprisingly, setting up for a computer graphics-embellished scene is an extremely time-consuming matter, with Rui En and Shaun guesstimating that each work day averages about 12 to 14 hours, sometimes even going up to 16 hours. And the secret to keeping their morale up is something we witnessed Rui En personally pick up from a Foodpanda rider for the both of them: caffeine (iced for her, hot for him).

“I need to drink coffee every morning or I won’t feel like myself,” the 37-year-old chuckled. #RelatableRuiEn

(Continued on next slide: Rui En got sick after one stunt scene)

Rui En got sick after one stunt scene
Rui En got sick after one stunt scene
20 Dec 2018

Rui En got sick after one stunt scene

While the both of them are - like the rest of us - looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour after all the CGI (computer-generated imagery) has been added in (“We’ve only seen a small preview of the final product and it’s already surpassed our expectations,” gushed Rui En), the actual filming process hasn’t always been an easy walk in the park.

Take the following underwater sequence that Rui En dubbed her biggest challenge so far, for instance. “There’s this scene where a spirit is trying to drown my character, which was very troublesome and difficult to shoot because I spent an entire day in a swimming pool and I wasn’t feeling very well, so by the end of it I was shivering and I got sick after that. (Laughs)” Yikes. We’re glad she’s feeling better now.

The dedicated actress also made a new discovery about herself: she can’t hold her breath for very long. “I think the director probably got frustrated because I needed to keep coming up for air!” she laughed. “But it wasn’t that scary for me because there wasn’t actually any physical force holding me down, I just needed to pretend that something was pulling me under.”

When it came to the fight scenes, on the other hand, she believes her Muay Thai classes may have helped her a lot, at least when it comes to stamina and strength. However, she quickly clarified that she didn’t take up the combat lessons just for the show. “I genuinely have an interest in it so I will definitely continue with my lessons.”

(Continued on next slide: Rui En prays for protection before stunt scenes)

Rui En prays for protection before stunt scenes
Rui En prays for protection before stunt scenes
20 Dec 2018

Rui En prays for protection before stunt scenes

Now that Rui En and Shaun have an idea of how far they might be able to go when it comes to filming action-packed scenes, what do they think is the most outrageous stunt they would be willing to take on?

After mulling it over, Rui En mused that all stunts, big or small, are risky undertakings. “If you fall down during even the simplest running scene, you could also injure yourself very badly,” she said. “So I don’t think there’s a difference between dangerous and non-dangerous stunts; as long as it is a stunt, it is dangerous.”

As for Shaun, he shared that ever since he became a dad to two little girls, he feels an even bigger responsibility to make sure nothing bad happens to him as the breadwinner of the family. “If I think I can do [a stunt], I will, but if not, I won’t force myself and will leave it to the stuntmen,” said the 40-year-old, adding with a grin, “But I’ve also bought insurance so I’m not that worried! (Laughs)”

That all said, both stars noted that there’s frankly not really much anyone can do to avoid accidents and mishaps. “I’ve been injured before while filming stunts and fighting scenes for dramas like Unriddle, so I’ve got ‘experience’ in that area,” she recalled. “Of course, you should always be alert and take care of yourself, but at the end of the day, a lot of things are out of your control, so the only thing I can do is to pray, and so far, it has worked very well. We’ve been blessed to not have any injuries.”

Let’s hope it stays that way.

Shaun and Rui En on set (featuring Rui En's precious coffee)
Shaun and Rui En on set (featuring Rui En's precious coffee)
20 Dec 2018

Shaun and Rui En on set (featuring Rui En's precious coffee)

Rui En's character uses telekinesis to shove a dumpster aside
Rui En's character uses telekinesis to shove a dumpster aside
20 Dec 2018

Rui En's character uses telekinesis to shove a dumpster aside


Rui En and Shaun will be able to "teleport" thanks to these green screens
Rui En and Shaun will be able to "teleport" thanks to these green screens
20 Dec 2018

Rui En and Shaun will be able to "teleport" thanks to these green screens

A piece of Styrofoam is used as a marker so Shaun and Rui En know where to look
A piece of Styrofoam is used as a marker so Shaun and Rui En know where to look
20 Dec 2018

A piece of Styrofoam is used as a marker so Shaun and Rui En know where to look

What their characters are actually looking at will be added in with computer graphics in post-production.

Shaun and Rui En rehearse for a scene before the cameras actually start rolling
Shaun and Rui En rehearse for a scene before the cameras actually start rolling
20 Dec 2018

Shaun and Rui En rehearse for a scene before the cameras actually start rolling

Well, this is a good idea
Well, this is a good idea
20 Dec 2018

Well, this is a good idea

There is a lot of waiting around on sets, so it only makes sense for one to bring their own chair with them in case there aren't comfortable places to sit.

Nick Teo and James Seah were involved in that day's scene too
Nick Teo and James Seah were involved in that day's scene too
20 Dec 2018

Nick Teo and James Seah were involved in that day's scene too

Hello From The Other Side debuts March 6, 9pm on Channel 8.
Hello From The Other Side - It's Time (spinoff) debuts on March 11 on Toggle.

Watch:
Why does Rui En think she gave the director a headache? 

Related:
To hell and back with Rui En, Shaun Chen
Chen Hanwei, Ann Kok: dancers from hell
Rui En gears up to play a grim reaper in ‘Hello From The Other Side’

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