No acting perks for kids, says actor-turned-producer Zheng Ge Ping - 8 Days Skip to main content

No acting perks for kids, says actor-turned-producer Zheng Ge Ping

The veteran actor will be going behind the scenes once again, this time as an Executive Producer, for upcoming Toggle Original ‘Close Your Eyes’

No acting perks for kids, says actor-turned-producer Zheng Ge Ping

Zheng Ge Ping is a familiar face to us – he’s taken on numerous roles in the past 21 years of his career, and has charmed audiences with his versatility. Come May, he will be starting work on a brand-new project called Close Your Eyes – but this time, as the Executive Producer (EP) of the Toggle Original series.

This is not the first time the 53-year-old is going behind the scenes, as he previously wrote, directed and acted in the 2011 test-tube project Unconditional Love.

During a phone interview, Ge Ping revealed that he will be working on a very tight deadline as pre-production is still well under way, with filming slated to begin in mid-May.

The ‘hunkle’ added that the script is still being tweaked currently, but he doesn’t foresee any major amendments to it as he’s satisfied with what he has seen in the latest draft.

According to Ge Ping, the drama is slated for a premiere in September and the story revolves around four Junior College students. What makes this drama special, says Ge Ping, is its focus “on the younger stars, rather than the adult cast members”, which will be something different from what we’ve seen previously.

There are a few life lessons to learn from this drama too, he added, without giving away too much. “The story is about how these teenagers learn that it’s no point trying to close your eyes to certain problems and ignore it in the hopes that it’ll go away. The only way to solve it is to face it,” he shared.

Ge Ping on the set of Unconditional Love

Toggle: How did you land the role of EP for this project?

Ge Ping: I did ask the Head of Chinese Drama Productions, (Chong Liung Man), “Why pick me?” He told me that he asked his colleagues about me, and that they all gave him very positive feedback, which surprised me in a good way, because they all recommended me very enthusiastically.

Did you say yes to the offer immediately?

I thought about it for a while. It’s not that I’m not confident, but I told myself that I had to take on full responsibility if I said yes. Every project is a business, it’s not an avenue for us to fulfill our dreams. I said yes at the meeting, but I mentioned that I need to know the production format so that I can follow the proper procedure, while at the same time injecting my own flair into it.

Are the actors confirmed yet? If not, how’s the casting process coming along?

We’re still in the midst of that. I’m open to any young adults taking on the role; whichever person fits the character well and can contribute more to the project will likely be chosen. I don’t want to name any names right now, in case there are more changes along the way.

Both your kids (Tay Ying and Calvert Tay) have one foot in showbiz. What are the chances that your children will be taking part in this drama?

Calvert is enlisting in the army tomorrow, so he definitely won’t be a part of it. As for Tay Ying, I can only say that our relationship won’t affect my decision when it comes to casting. My priority is for the artiste to be a good fit for the role. I’m not inclined to choose her [for the role] just because she is my daughter; neither will it make me biased against her.

Does this mean that acting will take a backseat after this project as you transition from acting to working behind-the-scenes?

I will still go back into acting when there are suitable projects. Producing is something that I really want to do. A good producer puts everything together - you have an elevated point of view and you have to manage everything like a business. To me, this is the job of an EP.

An artiste or a director – it’s mostly a hard skill. But to be an EP, you have to balance both the hard and the soft skills. Much more responsibility [because] if anything goes wrong, you’ll be the first to face the music.

How nervous are you about becoming an EP for the first time?

I’m not really nervous because I’ve been in this industry for 21 years. I know most of the cast and crew, even those from other departments whom I haven’t worked with before. Breaking the ice won’t be difficult. I’ll be very open because I believe in respecting each other’s opinion because you need communication among everyone for things to work well, so I don’t think anything can go wrong.

Will you be acting in the drama?

Previously in Unconditional Love, it was supposed to be Christopher Lee who would be the lead actor, but he was busy in Taiwan so I ended up taking duo roles and acting in it too. This time around, I definitely won’t be taking on a role in the drama. Perhaps I’ll be one of the extras in the background – this way, we can save a bit more cost and spend it somewhere else. (laughs)

Close Your Eyes debuts in September on Toggle.

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