First Look: Rebecca Lim And Pierre Png Play Cousins In Post-WWII English Drama, This Land Is Mine
We have pictures from the Mediacorp English drama, 'This Land is Mine', currently in production.
Rebecca Lim and Pierre Png have shared scenes together so many times over the years that even they have lost count. In fact, their exact number of collaborations is a point of contention.8days.sg broached the subject last week during a set visit (see pictures below) of the latest Rebecca-Pierre partnership, This Land is Mine. Set in post-WWII Singapore, the English Mediacorp drama — based on former Attorney-General Walter Woon’s 2011 novel, The Devil’s Circle — stars Pierre as Dennis Chiang, an up-and-coming lawyer, and Rebecca as his cousin June and a clerk in his firm.
This Land is Mine — produced by Code of Law’s Lee Thean-Jeen — marks Rebecca and Pierre’s sixth team-up. Or is it their fifth? The answer varies, depending on who you ask. (For the record: they’ve acted opposite each other in The Defining Moment, Mata Mata 2: A New Era, C.L.I.F. 5, Missing, and more recently A Jungle Survivor.)
If you were to ask Pierre, he’ll inexplicably omit the 2018 abduction thriller Missing, Rebecca shares. “This is something he always does, he would say, ‘Oh, how many shows have we’ve worked together before?’ and he would [forget to mention Missing], says Rebecca, uncertain if he’s just yanking her chain. “I’m not sure if he does this with every one of his co-stars.”
Throw the question at Rebecca and she would prefer we excise the Fann Wong-starring 2008 The Defining Moment from the list. “We had a kissing scene and we always laugh about it and end up shaking our heads in unison,” says Pierre. “Rebecca always says she’d rather forget she starred in that show!”
Rebecca wanted it scrubbed for a good reason. “Because [Pierre] was paired with Fann and I was, well, a calefare,” she says, with a laugh. (The then-showbiz newbie was two years away from her breakout in The Pupil.)
Well, that settles it then. The Defining Moment is not — repeat, not — part of the Rebecca Lim-Pierre Png canon. Despite the minor dispute, both wholeheartedly agree that it’s thrilling to join forces with Lee Thean-Jeen again.
Pierre, who worked with the showrunner on 2015’s vigilante thriller Zero Calling, says, “I know the show is inspired by historical events and, being a sucker for history — especially Singapore history — being part of this show is something that resonates with me. The courtroom scenes in this show are something I'm both excited and anxious about.”
As for Rebecca, she’s always game to reunite with her The Pupil creator. In fact, she said yes to This Land is Mine without knowing the story. “I just want to work with TJ as much as I can,” she says.
When the script arrived, Rebecca found June a strong, intelligent, empowering figure to play. “It’s the 1940s where opportunities for women are limited,” says Rebecca, “But June actually dares to dreams, dares to achieve greatness despite the bumps she faces along the way. That to me is a huge inspiration.”
Does Rebecca see This Land is Mine as a spiritual prequel to The Pupil and imagine June as the grandmother of Wendy Lim?
That’s an interesting premise, says Rebecca, “because the Chiang family is full of lawyers — June’s dad is a lawyer, Dennis’ dad is a lawyer as well, so it won’t be a surprise that Wendy is a descendant of the Chiangs.”
Then again, “when I was reading the script, I actually felt that it’s too difficult for June to find love, so I kinda doubt Wendy is a direct descendant of June," Rebecca adds. "Maybe she is from Dennis’ bloodline.”
Home sweet home: Artistans spent two months building this interior of the Changs’ house. If it weren’t for COVID-19, ‘This Land is Mine’ would’ve been filmed in Malaysia. “The frequent go-to Malaysian towns for period Singapore/Malaya, I believe, are Penang and Ipoh,”, showrunner Lee Thean-Jeen tells us. 'This Land is Mine' is the 'Code of Law' creator's first period drama.
Dinner is served: When 8days.sg visited the set, it was Day 11 of the shoot and they were shooting a Chinese New Year reunion dinner scene. We can’t say too much about it but the scene involves an unexpected guest dropping by. 'This Land is Mine' also stars Sora Ma, Charlie Goh, Ramesh Panicker, and Shrey Bhargava.
Next of kin: After portraying husband and wife in ‘A Jungle Survivor’, Rebecca and Pierre are glad they are not playing a couple, lovers, or boyfriend and girlfriend anymore. Says Rebecca: “We are finally playing something different, we are in a relationship that has no romance in it — it’s just really pure family love. It is a refreshing change, finally.”
Ready for her close-up: Lee Thean-Jeen (left) sets up a shot for Rebecca. On the challenges of making a period legal drama, Lee says, “In the case of this show, we were greatly advantaged by the fact that the book which we adapted it from was written Walter Woon, and the book was rich with detail. So the challenge wasn’t the legal aspects of it, it was translating the characters, the stories, and these details to screen.”
Work in progress: Next to the Chiangs’ house is a prison compound. All in all, there will be eight sets constructed. Says Lee: “We’re building a kampong house interior as a set, as well as a nightclub — the Joy World Nightclub — where a lot of action, in the literal and narrative sense, takes place. But each of these sets is special — they would have seen many key character moments and twists and turns by the time we are done with them.”
This Land is Mine is slated to premiere Aug 9 on meWATCH and Channel 5 at 9.30pm.
Photos: Kelvin Chia