It was a humid, sweltering Tuesday mid-afternoon, but that was not enough to stop a large crowd – most of whom were senior citizens – to show up at the public launch of Eat Already? 3 two days ago (August 1).
In fact, it didn’t damper their excitement and spirits either, judging from their enthusiastic reception when the star-studded cast was introduced on stage (one aunty behind us sounded particularly thrilled about Lin Mei Jiao).
Eat Already? 3 is the third in a trilogy of Channel 8 dialect dramas, and features both new additions – including the long-awaited comebacks of Zheng Wanling and Nick Shen – and familiar faces from the first two instalments. This time, some of the topics featured will include learning technology, blood pressure management and road safety.
In the midst of creating a programme aimed at communicating useful information to the older generation, the young – or younger than their target audience, at least – stars of Eat Already? 3 also picked up some new skills themselves. Zheng Ge Ping, for instance, learned to conjure up grand illusions from magician Ning Cai for one of his two roles as twin brothers.
“The director wanted to have each trick filmed in one take so that they would look genuine,” Ge Ping told Toggle in an interview. As such, NGs (no good takes) were inevitable, but the 53-year-old “hunkle”, who also had to bare his abs in a Criss Angel-like getup, managed to conquer them all, emerging with just a small burn on his finger (which has since healed completely).
Felicia Chin, on the other hand, took this role as an opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and improve on her dialect skills. Things were a little rocky in the beginning (she recalled stumbling over 10 times for a two-page script) but now, the 32-year-old can proudly declare that she can pass as a fluent Hokkien speaker.
After four years away from showbiz, Wanling confessed that she has become a little rusty in front of the cameras. “My scenes at the hospital were quite embarrassing,” she said, explaining that she had trouble remembering her lines and struggled with the difficult technical terms that her nurse character has to utter with ease.
When asked how many takes she needed to get it right in the end, the former actress, who will be returning to Panama (where she is now based with her husband and daughter) in September, said she could not remember – all she wanted to do was go home and have a good rest.
For Nick, who is also the founder of Chinese opera events company Tok Tok Chiang, one of his biggest challenges making Eat Already? 3 was having to perform Eric Moo’s classic hit ‘Kopi O’ in Hokkien for a scene in a hawker centre.
“We didn’t have time to record the song in a studio, so I had to perform it live in front of the camera,” said Nick. As if things weren’t hard enough, director Kelvin Tong instructed the 40-year-old – who admitted that he’s not the most synchronised person – to “dance in a very special way” while singing at the same time.
And the task of coming up with the “special” choreography was left up to – you guessed it – Nick himself. “I searched for videos on ‘how to learn dancing’ on YouTube and watched concerts of singers like Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai, but the more I watched them, the more confused I became!” he said with a chuckle. In the end, he settled on a repertoire of completely original and very simple moves.
So, how did things turn out in the end? “We were originally scheduled to wrap up the shoot in a day but we ended up taking two days because of me,” he said sheepishly. Thankfully, with the magic of editing, all his blood, sweat and tears will be spliced into a smooth-sailing three-minute segment.
All’s well that ends well.