In new TV show, Hong Huifang plays real-life husband Zheng Geping’s mum-in-law
Veteran actor Zheng Geping plays prospective son-in-law of real-life wife, Hong Huifang, in new drama
They are husband and wife in real life.
But local actress Hong Huifang, 55, plays local actor Zheng Geping's prospective mother-in-law in their new Channel 8 drama Hand In Hand.
Zheng, 51, portrays loan shark Chen Haonan, who has a May-December romance with lawyer He Xinying (Sora Ma), the daughter of tiger mum He Liyun (Hong).
In one scene, Zheng even has to kiss Ma, 31, on the lips, in front of Hong.
Hand In Hand, which premieres on Sept 25 at 9pm, also stars Bryan Wong, Jesseca Liu, Aloysius Pang and Ben Yeo.
Speaking to The New Paper at the show's press conference yesterday, Zheng, who is known for his "huncle" (hunky uncle) image, said: "When I first knew of the casting decision, I felt that it was very evil and mean.
"In the past, the casting team would avoid husband and wife acting in the same drama. I think such a pairing this time will lead to discussions among the viewers."
The veteran celebrity couple, who have been married for more than two decades, have a daughter, Ying, 19, and a son, Calvert, 15.
Zheng added: "Furthermore, I have to act as Sora's boyfriend. She is so young, she can be my daughter in real life.
"When filming the kissing scene, the crew told Huifang to go home first as her scenes were already filmed, but she stayed back to watch us film."
In a separate interview, Hong said she did not feel awkward or jealous witnessing Zheng getting all lovey-dovey with a much younger woman.
She said matter-of-factly: "I find it quite funny. It's something interesting that viewers haven't seen before.
"We have been acting for so many years now, I don't let such things affect me. If they do, then my acting will be unnatural."
She added: "When I saw them kiss, I didn't feel anything at all. It's not like he is cheating on me in real life."
The couple say that they do not ask each other for permission when accepting roles as they have mutual trust.
Zheng said: "We don't restrict each other when it comes to acting as we know that it's not real and it's part of our job. Anyway, it's not like I am acting in an R-rated drama."
But Ma expressed discomfort at being sandwiched between the couple.
She said: "On the day we were filming the kissing scene, I did not dare look at Huifang in the eye.
"My heart was beating very fast and I held my breath when I kissed (Geping). They seemed very professional on set, but I don't know what happened when they got home."
She added with a laugh: "But his body is really very good. It's very taut, just like a chocolate bar."
On the day we were filming the kissing scene, I did not dare to look at Huifang in the eye...They seemed very professional on set, but I don't know what happened when they got home.
- Actress Sora Ma on kissing Zheng Geping
Heights scarier than running 'naked'
For his lead role as a dumb, beefy hooligan in Hand In Hand, local actor-host Bryan Wong had to run almost naked along Fullerton Hotel and also dangle from a six-storey carpark.
For the former scene, the 44-year-old stripped down to a pair of swimming trunks and ran from Fullerton Hotel to the Merlion Park at One Fullerton.
He told The New Paper: "I felt embarrassed and self-conscious. There were thousands of people present as it was the National Day Parade rehearsal. Everyone had these big cameras with zoom lens and they turned around and started photographing me."
He added: "I tried to imagine myself as a street performer... to make myself feel better."
But the scene that really scared the daylights out of him involved his character getting into a brawl with other thugs and he was thrown out of a multi-storey carpark.
Wong, who has a fear of heights, had to hang on to the railings of the carpark and was dangled from six storeys.
"I knelt down and cried after the scene was filmed as I was relieved that it was finally over," he said,
"Even though I had my safety harness on, I still felt scared and was hanging on for dear life."
He said: "Both scenes require different kinds of courage. When I was running 'naked', the worst that could happen would be people laughing at my body. It would be just a dent on my ego.
"But (for the other one), my life was kind of in danger."