1. Scene & Heard Page 21
Story: Tan Yi Hui
The recently-concluded Joys of Life is, for now, this year’s highest-rated show with 993,000 viewers tuning in to the final ep.
Somewhere out there, ice queen Rui En could be beaming. The star of Joys of Life was unreachable for comment at press time, but co-star Zheng Geping, who plays Rui En’s father, was more than happy to rave about the stellar performance: “To be honest, some of us were confident it’d do well.” The nostalgic serial’s first episode in June attracted 971,000 viewers, putting it ahead of popular police thriller Unriddle 2 (921,000 viewers) and family drama Double Bonus (862,000 viewers). Joys still lag behind 2008’s The Little Nyonya, whose last ep attracted 1.67 million viewers, compared to Joys’ 993,000. Still, with an average viewership of 875,000, the 35-ep show is currently No.1 drama this year.
2. Cover Story Pages 32-45
Young Caldecott and the Restless City
Story by Jonathan Fam
Direct from Macau!
Besides battling heat exhaustion, we have to engage a shy shirtless hunk and witness how Rui En and Dai Yangtian fell in love. The latter not literally, of course – it would take a miracle on the Macau’s famous San Ma Lo Street for that to happen.
In Poetic Justice, DYT and Rui En play intrepid reporters who work for an online news agency. Poetic Justice isn’t your usual Ch 8 fare. We say that not ‘cos it’s the first drama since 2009’s Dreamcatchers to be partially filmed in an overseas location that’s not Malaysia, but because it’s the first time the world of journalism is used as a backdrop.
Put another way, Poetic Justice is a Cliff Notes version of Aaron Sorkin’s edgy The Newsroom cross-referenced with the marshmallow passion of Up Close and Personal and the gusto of Erin Brokovich. But ask the fiercely private Rui En if her feelings towards journos have changed since playing a, in her own words, “responsible reporter”, she chuckles, covers her mouth, and chuckles again. Um, we’ll take that as a yes.
Rui En is smiling. She seems genuinely happy.
She even initiates conversations, which is truly surprising. It’s not just because Rui En is notoriously reticent, but ‘cos her schedule here is so packed, she barely has time to catch her breath, let alone make small talk with pesky reporters.
“So how’s your holiday?” she deadpans when she catches us idling. “Do you need an umbrella? You don’t look like you want to be tanned,” she muses when she sees us melting under the scorching midday sun. “You eat carbs? You don’t look like you eat carbs,” she mock-interrogates us during dinner. Er, is the 31-year-old actres confusing us with Fann Wong? (Fact: this writer is the only one eating rice at the dinner table with the four leads. None of them touch carbs.)
Random Rui En facts: The first thing she does when she gets back to the hotel room is to turn on her TV. She finds the noise reassuring. She’s also a “closet NatGeo fan”, though she’d most likely be watching a Korean drama because “it’s important to know what’s popular now”. If she’s hungry, she snacks on potato chips.
These are just about the only things we managed to learn about Rui En during the week-long shoot. It’s near impossible to sit Rui En down for a private tête-à-tête. She is that busy. The 31-year old has been filming back-to-back dramas for three years now. The longest break she’s had were three weeks after Joys of Life wrapped and before lensing Poetic Justice began. Three precious weeks she spent “doing [her] own thing”. Has she thought about taking and extended break? “Of course,” she replies without missing a beat. “But I just decided not to.” So she intends to work until her body can no longer handle the stress? This time, there’s a pause. “Yeah, pretty much…” she says, her voice trailing off as she ponders the question. “Rui En, we need you!” a crew member suddenly calls out to her. And just like that, she snaps back to her reality and disappears.
Interlude: Rui En and DYT are more alike than you think.
Dai Yangtian: “Both of us don’t really like talking, but we communicate well with each other.”
Rui En: “Yes. I also prefer to stay in my room when I’m not filming. I like to keep work and my personal time very seperate.”
Dai Yangtian: “Same here. We don’t usually have meals with the rest of the crew.”
Rui En: “That’s just how it is.”
Dai Yangtian: “Both of us also have trouble sleeping in hotel rooms. That’s why I need to drink red wine before bed.”
Rui En: “I have difficulty sleeping on hotel beds.”
Behind the Scenes
My Fair Ladies: Fact: Actresses are deathly afraid of the sun. A totally-beat Rui En uses her umbrella as a tent in between takes.
Walk with me: DYT and Rui En take a casual stroll near the sacred ruins of St Paul’s Church.
Cold? Who’s cold? Rui En and DYT shares a light-hearted moment during a late night shoot.
Fight club: Rui En looks on helplessly while Desmond Tan and DYT fight in a scene.
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Poetic Justice 微笑正义 debuts 11 September 2012 9pm on Channel 8.