10 July 2003
Byline: Eri Akbar
IN reel life, they are inseparable.
But off screen, Lu Rui En and Howard Cheung, the main actors in Channel 5’s current English drama, Chemistry, lead separate lives in different countries.
Rui En, 22, a Singaporean, is busy with her final year studies in banking and finance at Nanyang Technological University.
Howard, 26, an Eurasian, is occupied with modelling jobs back in his native Hong Kong.
After being out of touch for the past seven months since filming for the series ended last November, the two co-stars were reunited in Singapore last week.
It was to promote the show.
Whether or not they sizzle together on screen, Howard and Rui En showed plenty of chemistry during their photo shoot with The New Paper.
The screen couple did not hesitate to strike lovey-dovey poses, albeit playful ones, such as locking each other in a bear hug and going on a piggyback.
The two, who look more like brother and sister than the romantically-involved characters they play on the show, did start on the wrong foot at first.
Rui En admitted: ‘Initially, we were not comfortable with each other because we were newcomers and we didn’t know each other.’
However, they have grown more at ease in each other’s company after filming closely for three months last year, Howard said in a separate interview.
In the local fantasy-romance drama, the pair starts off as rivals who magically switch souls and become trapped in each other’s body.
As the plot thickens, their characters end up falling for each other.
To make them more convincing in their roles, they had to go for a ‘psychotherapy’ session arranged by the director.
Rui En and Howard had to, for instance, write their thoughts on love down on paper and exchange their notes.
Both confessed to being physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted playing, well, each other on the small screen.
Rui En said: ‘Howard is more mellow than me.’
I felt conscious of my every move and every thought.
‘Everything I do, I’d think, Is this how Howard would react?’ ‘
As for Howard, he was expected to act as chirpy as Rui En usually is, even when shooting began as early as 6am.
Because of that, he said that he did not get to explore much of this island and would head straight to bed in his Meyer Road rented apartment.
So don’t expect romance to spill over from reel to real life.
You can forget about regular buddy outings or phone calls because their relationship is strictly professional.
Although the two swinging single actors, in a past interview, did not rule out the possibility of romance between them, they have now changed course.
Howard summed it up:
Chemistry is shown over Channel 5 at 8.30pm on Thursdays.
Initially, we were not comfortable with each other because we were newcomers and we didn’t know each other.
– Rui En
If we don’t hit it off right from the start, chances are, we’re never going to.
Source: The New Paper