Photos: Tammi Tan
Lawrence Wong is so busy that he couldn’t even take extra time off to be with his family after the death of his paternal grandmother.
The local actor, whose popularity skyrocketed following his role in hit Chinese drama Story of Yanxi Palace, was in China when his grandmother passed away on February 17, and immediately rushed back to Johor Bahru, Malaysia for the wake. However, he was unable to attend her funeral as he had to be in Singapore for the lensing ceremony of his new Channel 8 drama, My One in a Million, last Wednesday (February 20).
According to the 30-year-old, his grandmother died peacefully in her sleep at the ripe old age of 94. He also reassured us that he was doing fine despite being very close to her, especially during his childhood.
“She would buy me so many things that my parents had to tell her to stop!” he recalled with a chuckle. “I also have a lot of very nice memories of us going out to eat and walking to the mall near our house together.”
Although Lawrence could not be with his grandmother in her final days, he was comforted by the fact that he got to spend the most recent Chinese New Year with her. “I couldn’t go home to celebrate it for the previous two years, so I feel very blessed to have been able to see her this year,” he smiled.
When we asked why he didn’t take a few more days of leave in light of the circumstances, he just said, in a very matter-of-fact way, that it wouldn’t be fair to his colleagues. Besides My One in a Million, which began filming the very afternoon of the lensing ceremony, Lawrence is also involved in a Chinese movie about moon goddess Chang’e, in which he plays her husband. The busy bee will be jetting back and forth between Singapore and China to shoot both projects concurrently.
And we thought we had a lot of work to do!
(Continued on next page: What does Lawrence Wong look for in a relationship?)
What does Lawrence Wong look for in a relationship?
My One in a Million marks the first time Lawrence takes on the lead role in a Channel 8 production. In the 25-episode series, he plays a variety show producer who bonds with a matchmaker (played by Carrie Wong) as she tries to help him combat his body odour problem. His part was originally meant for Aloysius Pang, who passed away last month.
“When Jayley [Woo, Aloysius’s girlfriend] found out that I took the role, she texted me and said that she was very happy and grateful that I could come on-board to do this,” Lawrence shared, adding that Jayley will be sending him some behind-the-scenes clips from variety show sets that were meant to aid Aloysius in his preparations.
While we didn’t bother finding out if Lawrence struggles with stinky issues in real life (besides, we can confirm that he does not, having stood less than an arm’s length from him during our interview), we did ask if he, like Carrie’s character, has ever played cupid for anyone.
“No!” he exclaimed without hesitation. “I heard that it’s actually very bad luck to try and matchmake someone.”
As for what kind of person he would want to be matchmade with, Lawrence needed a moment to mull it over. “Wow, that’s a tough question,” he mused. “I don’t have a specific type physically, because ultimately you may end up with someone who is completely different from that - that’s life, right? So I pay attention to personality.”
His requirements for that are “kind-hearted, cheerful, filial, well-mannered, and with a positive attitude”. As for her nationality (after all, he’s been dividing his time between the Lion City and the Middle Kingdom), he said he’ll “leave that to fate”.
“When love comes, it comes; it’s not up to you,” he said. “It’s hard for me to define who I want it to be, where she should be from and all.”
My One in a Million debuts in July 2019 on Channel 8.