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.”
This Land is Mine is slated to premiere Aug 9 on meWATCH and Channel 5 at 9.30pm.
Photos: Kelvin Chia