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The Journeys In Perfecting their Roles in Channel 8‘s The Journey: A Voyage

By InCinemas  /  22 Nov 2013 (Friday)

Starvation, isolation, breaking down scripts and getting a teacher were a few of the many methods that Desmond Tan and Pierre Png did to prepare for their roles in upcoming Channel 8 blockbuster trilogy drama, The Journey, A Voyage.

“The greatest challenge at the very beginning of the production is to create a role that is different from my other period drama piece,” said Tan, the 27 year-old actor who plays ‘Shitou’, a Hakka immigrant who worked as a tin miner in Nanyang.

To create ‘Shitou’, Tan chose to use method-acting, a popular way where actors use to create environments to put themselves into the thoughts and feelings of their characters. Besides shedding weight, Tan said that he locked himself up in the hotel room (before filming took place in Malaysia) for three days, ate only biscuits and slept on the hotel floor.

“Imagining it (character) is so limited, so I try to live in the character. I kept myself in the room to experience the feeling of isolation and because my character becomes an opium-addict, I drank alcohol to get closer to that feeling,” he recounted.

“Yes, in retrospect I guess I’m worried as anything could have happen then, but I’m glad I did it.”

(Check out our gallery for more photos from the press conference!)

Definitely one of the rising star to look out for in MediaCorp, Desmond Tan shared that he isn’t pressured by others, but rather by his own expectations.

“I always wanted to do better in my language and hit the different levels of acting. As cliche as it sounds, you are your own worst enemy.”

Different levels of acting indeed, but what comes first for actor Pierre Png when he first received his script? Not exactly method-acting like what Tan did, nor was it changing the physical image, but circling his lines on the script and consulting his tuition teacher.

“When I first saw the script, I started circling my lines and I was like (pause) ‘what the hell did I get myself into!’ To have someone (tuition teacher) who is more proficient in the language and mirror your same reaction is not a very comforting thought,” Png joked.

Playing ‘Hei Long’, one of the main ‘villains’ of the show, besides chunks of lines that Png had to overcome, he also had the chance to experience working on a green-screen environment, wrestling with fake pythons, tigers and crocodiles.

“I had to pretend to fight and wrestle with a python, but it (python), or the fake animal is not moving so it was rather tough and unnatural which got me thinking that wow, these Hollywood productions are amazing!”

On his character Hei Long, the actor commented that he enjoyed the drive and manipulation that his character had over other people and how he is determined to achieve his goals.

“As my tuition teacher explains to me (about the character), I had more drive and was motivated to play Hei Long. The language was initially an obstacle but it became a motivation for me to bring this character to life.”

If you’re as interested to see how Pierre Png’s script looked like, the actor invites you to take a glimpse on what he did for the show at the MediaCorp’s TV50 museum exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore.

“Vulgarities and all the little nonsense,” he revealed.
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