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Julie Tan, Pierre Png overcome 19-year age gap to play lovers in new drama

Find out why Singapore actress Julie Tan detests her character in new drama “In The Name of Love”, and why she started calling her co-star Pierre Png “Dad” while shooting it.

SINGAPORE: “She’s really pathetic!” said Singapore actress Julie Tan of her character Bai Xiao Shan in her new Mandarin drama “In The Name of Love”.

The show traces the lives of antique shop owner Song Xin Ren (Pierre Png), his sister Song Chu Yun (Ann Kok), along with his neighbor Wang Wei Guo (Zhu Hou Ren), and examines what it means to love and be loved.

Tan explained that she found it baffling that her character would resort to various schemes to be with the man she loves, Song Xin Ren, even though his heart belonged to the enigmatic Pan Xiao Min (Felicia Chin).

“I don’t understand how someone can be in love like this. I mean, must love be so painful? If you love each other, great. If not, forget it!” declared the actress.

Tan wound up speaking to the show’s producer at length to try and understand her character, and actually lost sleep thinking about how to portray Bai.

She explained that it was particularly difficult to play the character because she had never been very proactive when it comes to relationships.

“I’m always the one who is pursued,” said Tan shyly.

“I’ve never done anything crazy for someone. Quite rational right?”

“I mean there is more to life than love.  At least that’s what I think.”

When asked if it was awkward playing lovers with Png, who is a whopping 19 years her senior, the 21-year-old actress admitted that she was rather uneasy at first, especially after she started calling Png “Dad”.

“We were saying that if he ‘did something wrong’ when he was 18 or 19, I’d be [old enough] to be his daughter, so I started calling him ‘Dad’,” said Tan, bursting into laughter.

“She tried to bridge the awkwardness… by calling me ‘Dad’, and I’d go ‘I’m so honoured to have someone as pretty and beautiful as you as a daughter’,” said Png, looking a little embarrassed.

“But after a while, we felt it wasn’t helping us. A daughter absolutely cannot have a romance with her Dad! It actually made things even more awkward!”

“As soon as that stopped, things started to pick up.” 

Png went on to add that Tan and Chin were a joy to work with, and described working with his young co-stars as an “invigorating” experience.

“It’s nice to see how the younger actors interpret the character or react to what is written in the script,” said the 40-year-old actor, who is in the midst of filming the English-language police drama “Mata Mata 2”.

“I kind of enjoyed the process, but I look forward to playing someone’s toy boy (a woman's much younger lover) [one day],” said Png with a grin.

“In The Name of Love” airs every weeknight, 9pm on Channel 8.

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