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[InC-terview] Golden Horse winning actress Yeo Yann Yann in You Mean The World To Me!

By Say Peng  /  06 Oct 2017 (Friday)

Yeo Yann Yann is no stranger to Singaporean audiences. 

Her role as Mei in the 2006 film Singapore Dreaming Mei won her rave reviews and endeared her to Singaporeans. Her next most visible roles were in local filmmaker Royston Tan's getai musical dramas 881 and 12 Lotus. She followed up by appearing in Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad's Muallaf and local filmmaker Han Yew Kwang's 18 Grams of Love and sex comedy Rubbers. But it was her role as a pregnant mother in local director Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo that won her the most acclaim, including a Best Supporting Actress award at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards. 

InCinemas speaks to Yann Yann about her latest role in You Mean The World To Me.

InCinemas: Can you share with us what attracted you to the story of You Mean The World To Me and to your character Ah Hoon? 

Yann Yann: This film is about a family. A real family account. There is a lot of pain in the film, but it also shows a lot of love and hope. That was what attracted me to the script. Ah Hoon is someone who could be misunderstood as someone who is rigid and a pain in the ass. But in the end, she is really is the mother figure who sacrificed herself a lot. 


InCinemas: What was the most difficult scene for you to perform?
Yann Yann: It will be the scene in the church. Because it was shot on the first day. Oh my god... The last scene of her was shot on the first day. And I told the director that you gave me the toughest task in my life because I had just arrived and rehearsed. And that was the finale of Ah Hoon, but I had to do it as the first scene, so it was very, very difficult.

InCinemas: So how did the director help you to tackle this scene?
Yann Yann: We chatted quite a lot when we were rehearsing. We didn't really have time also. I think it was after work when we chatted. I told him that it was a very difficult scene because I haven't really had a chance to meet my co-actors from the other scenes yet. I don't know what will happen on set. It's very cliche, but it's always unpredictable what will happen on set. So if you want to do the last scene, I can only make my own decision on how it is. Is that okay for him? And yah, he was okay. That's how the last scene came about. It was very difficult.
InCinemas: Can you tell us more about working with the director? I watched the behind-the-scenes in which both you and the director cried after doing the scene of your quarrel with your on-screen brother, played by Frederick Lee.
Yann Yann: I didn't see it. They actually put it in? So embarrassingly! I have never cried uncontrollably on set. That was the first time. I think it was the atmosphere of the place. It was so calm and serene. It really felt like you are in the warm embrace of a certain atmosphere. And the sound of the church bell was ringing when we were filming it. It really went into my heart. I don't know how. The sound of the bell really vibrated with my heart and I just lost control and cried. I felt so sad. I felt really, really sad. And the director, I think he was affected. And when I saw him, we hugged and just started crying. Both of us just cried and cried. [Working with the director] is almost like working with your family. This story is so close to his heart. I'm really like talking to my brother. 

InCinemas: Very long ago, you studied at the Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI). Can you share with us any lessons you learnt from ITI that, till today, still help you as an actress?
Yann Yann: One very important lesson is, when you decide to work on something, you do your best. No matter what the circumstances are, you just have to do your best. Do your best to do your research and eventually, put up your best self for the show. One of the most important lessons is that everyone has their own thought, everyone has their own opinion. So you just have to believe in yourself, that your opinion counts.

On that note, we wish that you take the time to catch You Mean The World To Me, which is currently showing exclusively at GV Vivocity. 

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