Photos: Tammi Tan, Shaw Organisation
Video: Tay Yixuan
“I told my manager that although I liked the script, I couldn’t do it because I wouldn’t be able to handle the underwater and boat scenes,” the 45-year-old told Toggle in an interview last night before the film’s Singapore gala premiere. “I would have had no problem in the past, but that ordeal really traumatised me.”
Fann was referring to the experience she had while filming Chinese variety programme Let’s Go Love last year. After an otherwise thrilling skydiving session with husband Christopher Lee, they were forced to jump into the sea due to complications caused by strong winds. The long, uncomfortable period poor Fann spent in the water waiting for help left her with an aversion to the sea and boats.
Thankfully, her fears were put to rest after a meeting with the movie’s director and scriptwriter Cai Yinjuan, who patiently went through all the scenes and how she planned to shoot them with her. Fann also went through a training session at a pool to prepare for the real deal.
On the day of filming itself, the gutsy actress was even able to muster up her courage to go even deeper into the sea for her underwater scenes after seeing her co-star Li Liren’s gorgeous shots. “I wasn’t willing (to lose to him) so I bit the bullet!” she said, adding that as soon as the director yelled “cut”, she would immediately put on a lifejacket.
Last month, Christopher made us all swoon when he specially flew to Taiwan to support his wife at the movie’s premiere there. Fann revealed that the 45-year-old actor had also once made a surprise visit to the set, delighting both Fann and the crew members.
“At that time his TV show (Mr. Right Wanted) had just come out, so they were very happy to see him,” she said, chuckling. “I found out that they really love him!”
While Fann is able to bask in such a blissful marriage, her character in Packages from Daddy, Fang Huiying, is left to deal with the tragic death of her husband Yeh Wenli (played by Liren). To cheer herself up after an emotional scene, she would chat with Liren about his family (TV host wife Matilda Tao, daughter Dou Dou and son Xiao Long) and video-call Christopher and Zed as soon as the day ended.
“I was left with a lot of thoughts after reading the script,” she shared. “It made me want to treasure my loved ones more and to be more careful with my words and actions.”
It also got Fann pondering about the fragility of life with Christopher. “I did think about writing my will a long time ago, but I’ve not actually done anything about it. It’s one thing to prepare for (death), but it’s another matter altogether when it actually happens,” she mused.
On a much lighter note, Fann seemed to beam with pride when talking about Christopher’s latest penchant for cooking (or as she put it, “He’s currently in chef mode”). “Don’t judge a book by its cover – his food is delicious! Albeit a little on the salty side,” she said with a laugh.
The gushing did not stop there. When asked if she had to comfort Christopher after his Best Actor loss at the recent Asian Television Awards, Fann said they did not even talk about it. “He just wanted to go to support his brother (Frederick Lee, who was also nominated in the same category),” she explained, before declaring, “No matter what, he’ll always be the best actor in my heart!”
So what’s next for Fann? “I’ll be busy taking care of Zed,” she said with a smile. As the mother-and-son duo recently participated in their first advertorial photo shoot together, we wondered out loud if there would be anymore of such collaborations coming our way. “No. It was a very good experience because we may not have the chance to do it again, but school will come first for him.”
Packages from Daddy opens in cinemas on December 15.