After 14 years, sparks still fly on set

Actor Christopher Lee stars opposite his wife Fann Wong in the new Channel 8 drama Doppelganger.
Actor Christopher Lee stars opposite his wife Fann Wong in the new Channel 8 drama Doppelganger.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Actors Fann Wong and Christopher Lee are acting together for the first time in a local drama since they got married in 2009.

Their upcoming Channel 8 drama Doppelganger - in which Lee's troubled character gets a second shot at life after taking the place of his lookalike - also marks the first time in 14 years that they have co-starred in a local series. Their last one was Always On My Mind (2003).

Previously, the celebrity couple steered clear of romancing each other on set after marriage because Lee felt it was awkward for their private displays of affection to be made public.

At a press conference for Doppelganger yesterday, Lee, 45, says: "When we got married, it felt embarrassing to act out lovey-dovey scenes, such as kissing in front of the crew and audiences. These were intimate moments that we wanted to keep to ourselves. It would be like broadcasting our life at home."

Fann, 46, says: "We had worked together so many times before getting married. I was worried that audiences would not be able to differentiate between the reel and real us. So, we decided to stop acting together."

Their on-screen romances on Channel 8 were seen in shows such as Return Of The Condor Heroes in 1998, Looking For Stars in 2000 and Madam White Snake in 2001.

Recently, the couple, whose son Zed turns three on National Day next month, became curious to know how married life and parenthood have impacted their chemistry on set.

So, they took on two productions together this year. Apart from Doppelganger, they also flew to Beijing in April this year to film Chinese thriller movie Yi Nian, which means "a thought" in Chinese.

Fann says: "My husband would come home from filming his project and tell me he was itching to act opposite me. Having gone through ups and downs in life together, we've grown and matured. Perhaps working together again will bring about new sparks."

Once the cameras started rolling, the couple found that they could easily get into the mood of any given scene. Lee says: "With other co-stars, I may have to spend time getting to know them. But with Fann, I'm familiar with how she tends to portray her roles. She knows me well too."

There is a downside to acting opposite your spouse - having to stifle one's laughter.

Fann says: "We had NG (no-good) takes because we often burst into laughter. I would have to touch up my make-up because I would laugh till I teared up."

They received an official stamp of their compatibility when they were named the couple with the "best chemistry" on Let's Go, Love (2015), a Chinese reality show which pits celebrity couples against one another.

Fann says: "I had forgotten what it was like working together with my husband until Let's Go, Love. The crew commented that we had great chemistry. We worked well together while playing games."

The golden couple's casting was Doppelganger's selling point for local television station Mediacorp, which inked a deal with China tech giant Tencent to simulcast a Singapore drama on its site for the first time.

Mr Molby Low, chief creative director of WaWa Pictures, which is producing the drama, says: "The Chinese audience is familiar with the two leads, Chris and Fann. The viewers remember them from Condor Heroes and their stint on the Chinese reality show. This makes it easier to market the show to China."

• Doppelganger premieres on March 13 next year on Channel 8.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'After 14 years, sparks still fly on set'. Print Edition | Subscribe