Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Aaron Ho
The good news: yesterday’s bright, beautiful and breezy morning was perfect weather for filming an outdoor scene for Channel 8 drama You Can Be an Angel 3 at the fourth-level garden of Jurong Community Hospital.
The bad news: shooting was constantly interrupted by the loud sounds of military jets zooming past overhead as they patrolled the skies to keep our nation safe. While unintentional, the roaring of the mechanical beasts put kinks into an otherwise generally smooth-sailing sequence. At one point, the director jokingly told Zoe Tay to ask her husband Philip Chionh, who is a former RSAF Black Knight pilot, to stop sending planes to check up on her.
Despite the multiple environmental interferences, the cast (Zoe, Aileen Tan and Jazreel Low, a.k.a. the winner, first runner-up and second runner-up respectively of Star Search 1988 in their first onscreen collaboration since 1988’s My Fair Ladies) and crew miraculously managed to wrap up the scene within the originally scheduled hour-and-a-half – even when Jazreel needed a little extra help and coaching in getting her lines right during her emotional onscreen rant.
The former actress-turned-businesswoman (she runs a spa chain, an online beauty store and three F&B outlets) admitted that she hasn’t spoken Mandarin in so long that she struggled with some of her dialogue, despite being able to read and understand the script. “My first day on set was particularly difficult because I couldn’t deliver my lines properly and I kept making mistakes,” she said during our interview. “I worked extra hard so I could keep up with Zoe and Aileen, but I couldn’t reach their level, even though I tried my very best.”
Zoe and Aileen, on the other hand, had the kindest words of praise and encouragement for Jazreel, and urged the public not to place too much pressure on her as she hasn’t had that many chances to flex her acting muscles lately. “She only has a few scenes but she has been working hard to give her best performance,” Zoe reported. “To [Aileen and I], acting is our regular job, so it’s not easy for [Jazreel] to catch up with us so quickly, but she certainly has done a great job in trying to keep up.”
“It’s especially challenging for her because she plays a senior nurse, which is not an easy role as she has to master a lot of technical terms,” Aileen said, before piping up with a grin, “But in my opinion, she definitely passes with flying colours – I give her 80 marks!”
Now these are some supportive friends right here.
Continued on next page: who has changed the most (and the least) since 1988?
Jazreel told us that the chance to reunite with her fellow Star Search alumni was too valuable and rare of an opportunity to pass up, especially after she and Zoe had discussed the possibility when they were on the set of While We Are Young, in which Jazreel makes a brief appearance. “I told Zoe, ‘Wow, imagine if Aileen were also with us!’” she recalled, and lo and behold, Angel swooped in and granted her wish.
Of course, we had to grab the valuable and rare opportunity of our own to ask the trio: who has changed the most (and the least) since the three of them stepped out into the world of showbiz as fresh-faced, pretty young things three decades ago?
Zoe was named as the one who has changed the most – in a good way, don’t worry – by her peers. “She’s had to live up to her Ah Jie title and be a good representative of herself and the company,” Aileen explained. “She’s also become a good wife and mother. It’s not easy to juggle so much, and I really admire her for being able to be so well-balanced.”
Jazreel nodded, saying, “I could see how much she has grown when we were working together in While We Are Young. When we first debuted, we made a lot of rookie mistakes, and now, she is the one being a mentor to the newer artistes around her. I told her I was surprised by how much she has changed – not saying she wasn’t already good before, but she has really matured and is deserving of her Ah Jie title. After all, with great power comes great responsibility! (laughs)”
Zoe modestly brushed off the compliments, confessing that in the early days, she could be quite childish and didn’t really know how to deal with things in the best way. “If I still haven’t matured at this age, then…(laughs)”
Thankfully, that is certainly not the case.
You Can be an Angel 3 debuts on October 29, 9pm on Channel 8.