Sheila Sim and Chen Hanwei are certainly not strangers – the close friends have played a couple for almost four years filming the 118 franchise, and have even jetted to Bhutan together for the travelogue Away With My BFF.
When they heard that they would be working together again for upcoming drama All Is Well, they both got goosebumps when they learnt that they’d be playing father and daughter.
At the imaging session for the drama earlier this month, Sheila shared that the relationships with her co-stars this time around will be interesting, to say the least.
She mused, “For example, Romeo (Tan) has always acted as my boyfriend, but this time he’s acting as my older brother. Hanwei da ge has always played my husband, but now he’s my father. I’ve never actually worked with Ian (Fang), but in this show, he has a crush on my character.”
Change is good, though, as Sheila explained that taking on different roles with people that she was already familiar with could result in a different kind of chemistry. During the imaging session, the pair had to take family photos to be used as drama props, and they couldn’t help remarking when it was over, “That was so weird!”
Their friendship was evident to those present (and, um, eavesdropping) at the press session - Hanwei handed gifts he had bought Sheila on his recent trip to China. The pair also had a quick chat about hitting the gym together during the weekend.
With filming slated to start this week, Sheila shared with a laugh that she and Hanwei would have to adapt to this new dynamic pronto.
“Sometimes you need a bit of time to step into your character,” she admitted. “Both of us are such close friends and we’ve acted as a couple for so long that we’re very used to having ‘couple-like’ interactions. It’s really weird to suddenly have to regard him as my father – even though he’s styled like an old man, but his real-life personality is that of a young person. Hanwei will always be a young person in my eyes.”
She continued with a chuckle, “I’m getting goosebumps at the thought but it’s okay, as Hanwei said, once we start filming, we’ll become immersed in our characters and get used to it. The good thing is that we definitely have a good rapport. We’ve worked together for so long that we know each other’s personalities very well. Our characters in this drama are very close to each other so we’ll definitely be able to bring out this intimacy on-screen.”
(Left) Sheila on the way to Bhutan with Hanwei (Right) Sheila, Romeo and Desmond in Taiwan
The 34-year-old also shared some insights about the production tempo in Taiwan, where she graced the press conference for ‘All Is Well’ with her Taiwanese co-stars.
“I was very lucky to have been able to see what it’s like filming in Taiwan even though I didn’t have to shoot any scenes there. In the short four days that I was there, what I learned the most was how they do adlibs and how quickly they can adapt,” she said. “Their first language is Mandarin so you can really tell that their minds work very fast when it comes to having to improvise. I feel that this is something that I’m still lacking in and I can really work harder to do that. Seeing how flexible they are on-set was a very good learning point for me.”
She had nothing but praise for ‘All is Well’ co-star Romeo, whom she saw filming his scenes there.
“Romeo did very well on the day that we saw him filming. His scenes were filmed immediately after the lensing session, and there were so many people on set. There were at least 40 people there, and you’d have a feeling that all eyes were on you. Personally, I feel that you would be easily intimidated if you weren’t confident, but in my opinion, he did quite a good job,” Sheila beamed.
The actress let on that she is likely to wrap work on this drama at the end of April, with all of her scenes filmed in Singapore. “I’ll be going away for a holiday (with my husband) in February. That’s why they had to start filming my scenes first, and then I resume filming when I return,” Sheila shared. “For me, I’d rather go on holiday before or after filming is done, especially since it’s easy to lose momentum by stepping out of character for those few days or weeks.”
As for her plans beyond April, she mused, “I don’t know what’s happening yet because these days, we don’t know about our confirmed projects so soon, so for now, this is the only drama that I have lined up so far.”
There’s one thing that Sheila has in mind beyond April though, as she gave us a big grin before declaring, “I’ll probably be pregnant by then.” Oh, we’ll definitely check back with Sheila on that.