Rebecca Lim and Pierre Png on the set of 'Missing'
Photos: Tammi Tan
It was a sunny, dry afternoon in Fort Canning Park, save for a spot at the historical Fort Gate where it was raining cats and dogs at erratic intervals.
The odd weather was courtesy of two water trucks and its small army of handlers, who were tasked with providing the gloomy, damp surroundings for an emotional scene in Channel 5 and WaWa Productions’ upcoming series Missing.
Stars Pierre Png and Rebecca Lim were both on set and gearing up for a confrontation between their characters in the midst of the manmade storm. Missing marks their return to an English drama in two and three years respectively since becoming more heavily involved in Channel 8’s Chinese shows – they were both in 2014’s Mata Mata: A New Era, while Pierre’s last Channel 5 gig was 2015’s Zero Calling 2 – and they were visibly thrilled to be back in their comfort zone.
And it’s not just because they get to act in a language they’re more well-versed in (even though the days when their Mandarin-speaking skills were mercilessly panned are now far behind them). “I would say that Channel 5 scripts are a lot more interesting and more up my alley,” Pierre told us in an interview.
Rebecca’s reason, on the other hand, is more sentimental. “[Channel 5] is where I started my career, so it’s always nice to be back and be reminded of where I came from,” she mused, her voice sounding warm despite that fact that she was still dripping from being drenched just five minutes before our chat.
The 31-year-old also couldn’t help but bring up the observation that during her last English production, she hadn’t even hit the not-so-big 3-0 yet. “It makes a huge difference!” she exclaimed when we questioned the significance. “I’ve set higher standards for myself, not just for my performances but for life in general, and I’ve stopped making excuses.”
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Rebecca is all smiles even after getting drenched
But not everything has been a familiar “been there, done that” experience for Rebecca on Missing. That day’s hose-assisted sequence, for example, was the first time she ever delivered a dialogue in a downpour, and she confirmed that it was not as easy as she thought it would be.
“I couldn’t open my eyes!” she recalled with a laugh. “The rain amplifies the emotions, but it can also be very distracting, so it requires a lot of focus.” But the award-winning actress nailed it, of course, and she declared that she is “pretty happy with how it turned out.”
Rebecca also expressed her relief that she was able to tear up when she had to (she even managed to do it during the rehearsals, in addition to the actual takes). “I was filming emotional scenes the entire day so I was initially worried that I would have ‘dried up’, especially since I’m not someone who cries easily,” she said.
A much more intense and exhausting scene was shot a few weeks earlier, in which Rebecca’s character Lynn and Hathai (played by Thai actress Chontida Pleng Asavahame) were kidnapped and assaulted. “That was a very long and uncomfortable scene,” Rebecca sighed, as Pierre added, “It was emotionally very draining even to just imagine the whole thing happening to you, but Rebecca did a really good job.”
As for Pierre, he suffered minor – don’t worry, they’re very minor – injuries while engaged in onscreen fights. “There was this scene where, even though we were wearing shin pads, the entire area from my knee to ankle was all bruised; it was really painful,” he recalled.
Another time, he had to protect himself from someone smashing a bottle on his head, and although the bottle was made out of sugar glass, the splinters were sharp enough to leave a couple of cuts and abrasions on his arm. Thankfully, there was no bleeding.
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As the plot of Missing involves Rebecca’s and Pierre’s characters travelling to Thailand to solve cases involving their families, the actors spent about two weeks filming in Bangkok, which was an experience they could not stop gushing about.
“The Thai people are so wonderful and hospitable, and we always had fresh fruits to snack on,” Rebecca grinned. She added that as they sometimes shot in remote villages without restaurants, they had a chef who followed them around to whip up hot home-cooked meals for them.
Sadly, it was while overseas that Pierre learned of the passing of one of his beloved Shih Tzus. “I was having a massage when my wife Andrea [De Cruz] told me via WhatsApp that I needed to FaceTime her and speak to Woofie, and so I managed to speak to him until the connection got bad, and then I received a text message saying he was gone.”
Pierre then shared that since he was away, Andrea had to handle everything by herself, but, “Surprisingly, we’re coping quite well. I think it was because we didn’t release the news immediately and end up having to reassure everyone that we were doing fine when we actually weren’t, so we grieved the way we wanted and did what we had to do.”
“We were lucky that we had a good few days with Woofie before he passed so we were kind of prepared for it, and according to Andrea, he was still wagging his tail even on the last day,” he said. “So we miss him physically, but emotionally, we’re happy because we had good times [with him].”
When asked if the couple plans to adopt another sibling for their remaining fur-kids Cookie and Oreo, Pierre said with a smile, “I don’t think we will any time soon, but never say never!”
As for the addition of a human child into the family: “That one very sensitive ah (laughs), I will leave it to the missus; we have talked about it many times and if it happens, it happens, but for now, the two furry ones are already a handful!”
Missing debuts February 12, 2018 at 10pm on Channel 5.
Click through for more photos from our set visit!
The hard-working veteran Thai actor, who starred in Anthony Chen and Kirsten Tan's Pop Aye, told us that he brought some of his work to Singapore with him to do in between filming for Missing.
Pierre Png is happy to be dry (for now)
Pierre runs through his script before his turn to shoot
Pierre and Rebecca run through the script with the director
Rebecca and Pierre in the heavy downpour, which was created with the help of water trucks
Pierre finds Rebecca and comforts her
Rebecca and Pierre have an emotional confrontation in the "rain"
Pierre and Rebecca all dripping wet after their scene
Pierre and Rebecca chat between takes
Rebecca teases Pierre by pretending to apply makeup to his face
We wonder what Pierre said to Rebecca because look at her smile!
Rebecca enjoys a cup of coffee (and looks cool while doing it)