ALL GROWN UP: Introducing the next generation of local stars

Among the cast of While We Are Young are a host of local celebs’ offspring, some of whom will be making their small screen debut

ALL GROWN UP: Introducing the next generation of local stars
01 May 2017

ALL GROWN UP: Introducing the next generation of local stars

Video: Vina Chia, Genice Ooi

It’s another day in the imaging studio at the new Mediacorp campus, but with a twist - uniform-clad young adults mill around, their infectiously excited energies almost bouncing off the walls.

This will become a familiar scene for the cast and crew of upcoming Channel 8 drama While We Are Young, which will boast a star-studded cast (think Ah Jie Zoe Tay, Rebecca Lim and Terence Cao) alongside a much greener bunch: the offspring of local stars, some of whom will be making their acting debut with the drama.

Producer Wang Youhong, who was present for all the imaging sessions, spoke to Toggle and explained her decision to cast some of these familiar faces. “We held auditions and we saw over 200 faces before making our decision. We didn’t cast them based on whether they are the children of our local stars; we truly felt that they were more outstanding,” she shared.

Making the final cut are a mix of familiar and not-so-familiar faces, including Chantalle Ng (Lin Meijiao’s daughter), Shalynn Tsai (Chen Xiuhuan’s daughter), Joanna Theng (ophthalmologist Dr Julian Theng’s daughter), Chen Yi Xin (Edmund Chen, Xiang Yun’s daughter), Marcus Guo (Guo Liang’s son) and Calvert Tay (Zheng Ge Ping, Hong Hui Fang’s son).

Other confirmed cast members who also passed the auditions are  are NoonTalk Media's Zong Zijie, along with new faces Jolynn Min, Gary Tan and Lee Decheng.

For their thoughts on entering showbiz, audition woes and parents’ wise words, click on for more.

(Top L-R: Shalynn Tsai, Joanna Theng, Chantalle Ng, Jolynn Min
Bottom L-R: Lee Decheng, Zong Zijie, Gary Tan, Marcus Guo, Calvert Tay)

Calvert Tay on why he doesn’t practise his acting with his mum
01 May 2017

Calvert Tay on why he doesn’t practise his acting with his mum

Ge Ping and Hui Fang’s son is no stranger to most of us - he appears often on his parents’ social media feeds, and he’s been spotted on numerous occasions being mummy and daddy’s little helper. While We Are Young, however, will mark his acting debut. The 17-year-old, who recently finished his 'O'-levels, is currently waiting to start his Polytechnic education.

Calvert will play Tang Yijie, college teacher Fang Ting’s (Zoe Tay) younger son, and is also brother to Zhang Zhen Huan’s character. Sharing that his role will focus more on expressing his feelings rather than having a lot of lines, the 17-year-old admitted, ”I’m actually even more nervous because I’ll be acting with Auntie Zoe. She watched us grow up but working with her will be totally different (...) I’ve been practising my lines with my dad, and my mom is really nervous about my role as well but she doesn’t dare practise with me lest I lose my temper.”

Confessing that the most hurtful social media comment was from someone who told him off for his decision to go into acting, he continued that the commenter also said that he lacked star quality and that his older sister, Tay Ying, was more cut out for showbiz.

He has, however, taken it all in his stride and spends his days practising in front of the mirror and brushing up on his Mandarin skills. “Up till this point, I’ve never considered whether I’m cut out for acting. Right now, what I’m focusing on is honing my skills and improving myself. Since I made my choice, I’ll definitely give it my all,” he explained.

(Continued on next slide: Calvert on why he feels that his mom works too hard)

Calvert on why he feels that his mum works too hard
01 May 2017

Calvert on why he feels that his mum works too hard

Both Calvert’s parents have been in showbiz for decades, and have undoubtedly experienced the ups and downs of being a star. Calvert let on that his parents have shared their precious knowledge with him and his sister. “They’ve gone through it and don’t want us to make the same mistakes (...) but sometimes they keep talking about the same thing, and I’d find it a bit annoying,” he chuckled.

Like his on-screen self, he admits to being extremely lazy and short-tempered, though he clarified that he’s “nowhere as extreme” as his character, Yijie. What we noticed, however, is that this young one is mature beyond his years.

“What I find the most heartbreaking is when my mum goes through a whole day of filming but still has to come home to prepare dinner for the family,” he let on. “I’ve told my mom that (my sister and I) are all grown up, and that she doesn’t need to tire herself out so much for our sake any longer,” he mused.

(Continued on next slide: Marcus Guo’s mother’s apprehensions on him entering showbiz)

Marcus Guo’s mother’s apprehensions on him entering showbiz
01 May 2017

Marcus Guo’s mother’s apprehensions on him entering showbiz

A not-so-familiar face is Marcus Guo - Guo Liang’s son. Prior to our interview with him, the producer remarked that his role in the show was threatened by his mother’s reservations of him accepting the project, and that the compromise was that the number of scenes that he is involved in has been cut down drastically.

Explaining the situation to Toggle afterwards, Marcus let on, “It’s not that she’s against me going into acting; it’s just that she’s worried. Mums are like that and she’s worried that it’ll affect my grades if I focus on showbiz too much. She just wants me to give my studies my fullest attention.” The 18-year-old is currently in his first year at Anderson Junior College.

He continued that while she is not completely against the idea of him entering showbiz, she has put her foot down and declared that he has to get his priorities (in other words, his studies) right. Therefore, skipping class or falling behind his revision are absolute no-nos, and his filming schedule will have to be adjusted accordingly.

Marcus sheepishly admitted that auditions was a completely new ball game, with the production team giving him a script and having him act it out on the spot. “They’d tell me to imagine that the other characters were around, but having to act that someone was there when they aren’t was pretty awkward,” he shared. “I’d be talking to ‘someone’, but after I turn around and try to continue the conversation, I’d forget where the person was supposed to be standing and talk in a different direction instead.”

(Continued on next slide: Guo Liang’s words of advice on acting)

Guo Liang’s words of advice on acting
01 May 2017

Guo Liang’s words of advice on acting

(L-R: Marcus Guo, Jolynn Min, Calvert Tay, Shalynn Tsai, Joanna Theng, Lee Decheng)

Despite this, the he shared that he is pretty satisfied with his performance back then, and that his dad’s golden words of advice have been to make sure that he vocalises himself properly. “My dad told me that it’s best if I can convince myself that I’m not filming, and that my performance will become more natural if I can do that,” Marcus explained.

As for the possibility of his dad dropping by the drama set, Marcus shrugged that he’s totally cool with it, and that the perks of that will be that Guo Liang will be able to point out what he’s doing right and wrong, and give him on-the-spot acting advice.

Guo Liang also popped by the imaging session last Friday, and while he wasn’t able to stay for long, Marcus chuckled that he was probably curious to see how he was doing, and that he isn’t too worried about his son dipping his toes into the world of showbiz.

“He won’t really talk to me about it if I don’t ask him,” Marcus laughed. “I’m just trying out something new; it’s not like I’m taking an important exam, so he isn’t too worried.”

(Continued on next slide: Chantalle Ng, Chen Yi Xin’s “embarrassing” audition)

Chantalle Ng, Chen Yi Xin’s “embarrassing” audition
01 May 2017

Chantalle Ng, Chen Yi Xin’s “embarrassing” audition

Unlike the others, Chantalle and Yi Xin prepared a special skit for their audition, which they did together. “We got our hands on the script for The Dream Makers II, and we acted out a few scenes that Rui En and Jeanette Aw had together,” Chantelle admitted with a laugh.

“One of the scenes was of them showing off their close bond and the other was of them having a heated argument. We made it really dramatic… Actually, come to think of it, what we did was pretty embarrassing!”

Yi Xin, who was visibly nervous during the interview, shared with us after the interview ended that she was actually breaking out in cold sweat during the entire session, and that her frequent silent pleas to Chantelle to save her from answering was in part due to nerves, and also due to the fact that her Mandarin chops leave a lot of room for improvement. This was her first-ever video interview, and this drama will also be her maiden foray into acting.

Chantalle, who has a number of projects under her belt, chuckled that she was “exactly like Yi Xin” when she first started out, and that her mother Lin Mei Jiao’s advice back then was “not to be as stiff, like a tree”.

(Continued on next slide: Chantalle’s first on-screen kiss was given to her idol)

Chantalle’s first on-screen kiss was given to her idol
01 May 2017

Chantalle’s first on-screen kiss was given to her idol

When it comes to acting, it’s inevitable that love lines and intimate scenes will come into the picture sooner or later. We asked Chantalle and Yi Xin about their thoughts on puckering up for the cameras, to which Chantalle excitedly exclaimed, “I’ve already given my first on-screen kiss to Elvin Ng!”

She explained that Elvin has been her idol from when she was young, and that her kiss scene with him in Sealed With A Kiss was met with absolute calmness from her mom. “I think I was more nervous than she was before I went for filming!” Chantelle expressed. “I told her that I was going, and she was just like, ‘Oh, okay’ (...) She doesn’t mind me having kiss scenes in my dramas and she’s fine as long as I’m happy.”

Yi Xin, on the other hand, admitted that her biggest worry for now is the language barrier, and that she will be focusing on improving her Mandarin chops. “If I can improve my language skills quickly, perhaps I’ll be able to become a full-time actor one day!” she smiled.

In the meantime, however, both Chantalle and Yi Xin will be focusing on their studies. Chantelle, who is in the School of Information Systems in Singapore Management University, shared that she is thankfully having a term break for the next three months, which will enable her to devote her time to filming.

Yi Xin, who is in Singapore Polytechnic’s Applied Drama and Psychology course, however, will have to juggle both school and filming in the coming months. While sharing that it will admittedly be harder on her, she chirped, “By doing something that I love, doesn’t it make the entire process meaningful?”

While We Are Young premieres October 30, 9pm on Channel 8.

WATCH: The cast of 'While We Are Young' talk about their audition woes!

Related:
Zoe Tay preps for sons’ teenage years with new drama
I don’t want to be a stage mum: Chen Xiuhuan
A new wave of girl power in showbiz

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