Nightmares on the set of The Dream Job

Getting slapped, almost fainting from the heat, freaking out over a bedroom scene and more nightmarish shenanigans the stars endured on the blockbuster drama

The cast of The Dream Job
The cast of The Dream Job
22 Jun 2016

The cast of The Dream Job

Photos: Dion Tang
Videos: Kimberly Tay

In upcoming Channel 8 mid-year blockbuster The Dream Job, three individuals find themselves hired for the position of a lifetime: to be the high-flying “children” – posh cars and astronomical salary included – of a mysterious businessman, played by veteran actor Hugo Ng. However, the seemingly perfect façade masks an intense struggle for wealth and recognition, as well as a really messed up family tree (the fruits of the boss’ womanising ways in his past).

Similarly, behind all the glitz and glamour of making a major blockbuster series were a fair share of “nightmares” for the star-studded cast, who showed up in (almost) full force at Tuesday’s press conference (Jeanette Aw was on holiday and Zhang Zhen Huan was filming Legal Eagles in Malaysia). Read on as we find out about the various shenanigans that may have left a not-so-good impression on Shaun Chen, Romeo Tan, Rebecca Lim, Ian Fang, Sheila Sim and more:

The Dream Job debuts June 28, 9pm on Channel 8; watch it on Toggle-It-First.

Romeo Tan endured slaps, extra spicy laksa and a super-hot Jeanette Aw
Romeo Tan endured slaps, extra spicy laksa and a super-hot Jeanette Aw
22 Jun 2016

Romeo Tan endured slaps, extra spicy laksa and a super-hot Jeanette Aw

The poor duke probably suffered the worst physical nightmares of the lot. First, there was all that slapping from Aileen Tan and Jeanette (over 10 times throughout the course of filming, he estimates), which he said was “traumatising”.

Then, there was the time he – or rather, his character – let Jeanette pummel him with tennis balls. “I broke her heart (in the show) and wanted to win her back, so she took the opportunity to take revenge on me by making me go through all kinds of hardship,” Romeo explained.

Another instance of Jeanette’s “trials” for Romeo was guilt-tripping him into finishing a whole spread of local delights. “I think that scene alone made me fat,” he laughed. But that was not all – each dish was doused with a generous helping of chilli. “After drinking the laksa, my lips swelled up, but the crew didn’t think it looked bad enough on screen, so they used cosmetics to make it appear worse,” he said.

His story didn’t end there: while getting cosy with Jeanette under the covers (the very first time he’s done so with her), he learned that she is, quite literally, hot. “She’s like a human heat pack – whenever you have physical contact with her, you will start to sweat, and it’s not because she was having a fever!” he said. The fact that they were underneath a blanket in a tiny room, fighting for oxygen with six to seven other crew members, did not help. “That was also quite traumatising.”

Rebecca Lim was afraid to sleep alone in Perth
Rebecca Lim was afraid to sleep alone in Perth
22 Jun 2016

Rebecca Lim was afraid to sleep alone in Perth

Becks clearly had a whale of a time filming the Australia-based scenes in Perth, but when it came time to retire at night, things got a little more unsettling.

“I had to sleep in this big room all by myself, and I was a bit scared and left the lights and TV on – don’t judge!” she confessed with a chuckle. As it turns out, the distress possibly stems from a terrifying past experience she had staying alone in a hotel room. “I kept hearing people say ‘hello’ even when there was no room next to me. I hope I never experience that again!”

Another smaller nightmare came in the form of her highly emotional scenes towards the end of filming. “I don’t have a lot of personal life experience to draw from, so there were times when I felt a lot of pressure to exude the right mood,” she said. “I was also crying a lot, which left me very, very tired – I was so tired, I had no energy to wash up when I got home, I just wanted to go straight to bed.”

On the bright side, Rebecca could not help but gush about getting to star in such a major production. “When my career first started, it was almost impossible for me to get a role in a blockbuster,” she said. “This will be my second blockbuster – after The Journey: Our Homeland – and to be part of something so big and so good, that’s really quite a dream come true.”

The 29-year-old also just wrapped up filming for Singapore-US-Filipino flick 100 Yards in the Philippines, and from what she told us, she sounded like an absolute dream to work with – much to the surprise of the multinational crew, who assumed that, given Rebecca’s A-list status in Singapore, she would exhibit diva-ish behaviour. “I was always the first to arrive, I was never late, and I would hardly have any NGs (no good takes),” she recalled. “As the only Singaporean there, I was happy to be representing our country in a positive light.” Way to go, Becks!

Ian Fang nearly fainted from the heat
Ian Fang nearly fainted from the heat
22 Jun 2016

Ian Fang nearly fainted from the heat

Sharing a steamy bedroom scene with Hong Ling, who plays his wife in the series, finally gave the 26-year-old a chance to achieve a milestone: losing his virginity on screen. “I’m the last of the 8 dukes to do it – brothers, I have done it,” he proudly declared.

All that big talk aside, Ian, famed for his confident, almost cocky demeanour (despite his desire to stop being labelled a “bad boy”), was also honest enough to admit that he was scared about his first not-so-kid-friendly make-out session for TV. “I expected to just give her a peck on the lips, but the director never yelled cut, so we tried going a little further,” he recalled. “When we finally heard ‘cut!’ we immediately pulled away in disgust.”

Even his best friend Rebecca could not help but be thoroughly amused by his anxiousness. “He was really nervous and I thought it was hilarious because he’s a guy! I was even told that he was sweating during the scene, even though it was filmed in an air-conditioned room,” she chuckled. “I found it very funny because… it’s just a kiss right?”

That wasn’t the only time Ian felt all hot and heavy on set: he experienced that, but in a literal sense, when he had to film scenes in Singapore’s unbearable heat wearing layers of thick clothing. “I was in the sun from seven in the morning until seven in the evening, and I was drenched in my own sweat,” he recounted, adding that he got quite worried at one point when he started seeing double, and even almost fainted. “That was a nightmare!”

Shaun Chen was the biggest nightmare on set?
Shaun Chen was the biggest nightmare on set?
22 Jun 2016

Shaun Chen was the biggest nightmare on set?

The new dad named himself the biggest nightmare on set because of all the NGs (no good takes) that came from him (remember his hilarious blooper in Perth where he referred to quokkas as “crackers”? Yup, we wouldn’t let him forget that either). Other than that, he reported that everything went smoothly for him while filming his troublemaking lawyer role in The Dream Job.

When asked about a nightmarish period in his life, he did not hesitate to briefly mention the period he was out of a job, which he talked about extensively during his Toggle Talk interview. “Being out of work would be a nightmare to anyone,” he said.

Since then, things have been looking way, way up for the actor. In fact, he recently filmed a commercial for a brand of solar film with his wife Celine, who surprised him with her hidden acting talent. “I was amazed at how good she was in front of the camera, and she hardly made any mistakes!” he exclaimed. The thoughtful husband said that he gave most of their earnings from the project – a reported five-figure sum – to his wife, as a way to thank her for her hard work of bringing their child into the world.

Shaun also gave us an update on his wedding banquet plans, and said that he hopes to have it next year, when his daughter Nellie is older and has started to walk. “She’s so cute – I love her to death!” gushed the proud papa.

Sheila Sim revisited old wounds to get herself to cry
Sheila Sim revisited old wounds to get herself to cry
22 Jun 2016

Sheila Sim revisited old wounds to get herself to cry

It’s been two and a half years since the supermodel started on her acting journey on Channel 8 (her debut TV role was in 2013’s I’m in Charge), and she is loving every bit of it. For The Dream Job, however, she faced one of her biggest challenges: crying on screen.

“I’m not equipped with the technique to ‘switch on’ my tears,” she told us. As a result, she was forced to dig through old emotional wounds and re-live the pain in order to get the waterworks going. “I thought about an old relationship that didn’t work out in the end; it’s like a loved one dying – even when you’ve moved on, you never really get over the pain of the moment.”

However, the 32-year-old may have gotten a little too deep into the hurt for her scene, which involved her sobbing in a wedding dress: “It was so bad, I couldn’t stop crying even after the cameras stopped rolling. I had to go outside and calm myself down. It’s a challenge but in a sick way, it’s quite cleansing. (laughs)”

Another nightmare – albeit a much light-hearted one – occurred when Sheila, who plays the rich, well-dressed ex-girlfriend of Shaun’s character, had to wear high heels, adding to her already-lofty 174cm height. “I have a phobia of heels because I once fell down in them on the runway,” she recalled. “The nightmare came when I was in heels and Shaun wasn’t. (laughs) On my first day of filming I was already causing trouble for the director – no matter what camera angle they used, I looked gigantic! So I had to change into flats.”

Hong Ling was terrified of her bedroom scene with Ian Fang
Hong Ling was terrified of her bedroom scene with Ian Fang
22 Jun 2016

Hong Ling was terrified of her bedroom scene with Ian Fang

The Hey Gorgeous semi-finalist will never forget her first major role in long-form drama 118, because of all the nightmarish scolding she got on set. “I didn’t know how to act, so everyone got very frustrated with me,” she recalled. “But I really learned a lot from that.”

In The Dream Job, the 21-year-old Thai-Chinese starlet got to film a bedroom scene for the very first time (along with fellow “newcomer” Ian), and she had no qualms about labelling that experience her on-set nightmare. “I was very nervous and scared, and it was also the first time I had to wear so little in front of so many people,” she said, explaining that she donned nothing but a skimpy tube top and safety shorts to make it look like she was in the nude.

Could her co-star have had anything to do with the fear as well? “Ian is a good guy, but I wasn’t close with him, so he was essentially a stranger to me, which is why I felt a little uncomfortable,” she said. (Fun fact: when we relayed what Hong Ling said to Ian, he swore out loud and confronted her in a joking manner in the middle of our interview.)

Bonnie Loo’s death scene gave her morbid thoughts
Bonnie Loo’s death scene gave her morbid thoughts
22 Jun 2016

Bonnie Loo’s death scene gave her morbid thoughts

As if Bonnie’s wheelchair-bound state in the show wasn’t tragic enough, her character (Rebecca’s onscreen sister) had to go and suffer a gruesome death at the “hands” of a falling flowerpot. “Lying in the hospital bed got me thinking about what it would be like to die for real,” shared the 21-year-old singer. “Everyone was crying over me and at the moment, I could only think about what would happen when I die, and I’m afraid of death.”

It didn’t help that she had to be made up to look all bloodied from her violent injury. In fact, poor Bonnie was so disturbed by the scene just from reading about it in the script, that she couldn’t sleep for days before the actual shoot. “It was so frightening! It was a real nightmare to me,” she shared.

Photo: Channel 8

Veteran actor Hugo Ng gives us the thumbs up
Veteran actor Hugo Ng gives us the thumbs up
22 Jun 2016

Veteran actor Hugo Ng gives us the thumbs up

WATCH:
Which of the 8 dukes is Ian Fang's biggest nightmare?
Romeo Tan found bedroom scenes with Jeanette Aw "traumatising"
Shaun Chen wants to be a professional mermaid?

More on The Dream Job:
First job stories, as told by The Dream Job actors
LIVE blog: First look at The Dream Job in Perth
Daydreaming with Shaun Chen in Perth
Daydreaming with Zhang Zhen Huan in Perth
Daydreaming with Rebecca Lim in Perth
Daydreaming with Jeanette Aw in Perth
Shaun Chen talks about his lawyer role in The Dream Job
Romeo Tan: It’s flattering if a rich woman wants to support me

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