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The Star : Filming at home

January 2, 2007

BOTH Zhang Yao Dong and Jesseca Liu of comedic drama Falling in Love, share the same sentiment: “It’s great to be filming on home soil.”

“It’s something I have been dreaming of. I’ve been working overseas for five years and I think it’s normal to want to come home. I think it’s great that MediaCorp and Ntv7 are working together,” said Zhang.

A former part-time model, Zhang joined Malaysia Star Search in 2001 where he was the first runner-up. That same year, he signed with Singapore’s MediaCorp TV and has since moved on to star in popular serials including The Vagrant (2001), Holland V (2003), Double Happiness II (2004) and Portraits of Home I and II (2005).

Zhang Yao Dong and Jesseca Liu

For Liu, who returns to her hometown, Langkawi island, several times a year, it’s a different feeling coming home to work.

“I was delighted when the company told me that I was going to film Falling in Love in KL. I had such a good time and it was great working with other Malaysian actors.”

Liu got her start in MediaCorp two years ago in the series, The Champions, but it was her compelling portrayal of a Vietnamese bride in Portraits of Home I and II that earned her a best supporting actress nomination at the Star Awards 2005 organised by MediaCorp. Although she did not win, she took home the Most Popular Newcomer title.

In Falling in Love, Liu plays ZiHui, a producer for a TV station. She longs to be in love and joins countless matchmaking programmes to find her dream man. But she scares off potential partners with her straightforward and tomboyish demeanour. Things change when she meets Wang LiZhe (played by Alan Yun).

However, she ends up broken-hearted when she discovers that she has misunderstood his feelings for her. Zhang plays ZiHui’s best friend Tom, who later falls in love with her.

Both pointed out that their characters in the series are different from roles they have played in the past. Most notably was Liu’s image.

Befitting her persona as a tomboy, she dons a short wig and her mannerisms in the series are rough and unsophisticated. In her previous roles, she has portrayed genteel, young women. There were no problems getting into character, however, as Liu revealed she was a bit of a tomboy when growing up.

Zhang, on the other hand, has rarely tackled light-hearted comedies. Hence, it was quite a challenge that he undertook.

“Usually, I play serious characters. So, it took some getting use to. Also, I had to make sure I didn’t overdo the comic moments. But I found that comedies are fun to do. You don’t have to go home and reflect on your character.” – By L.E.K.

source : The Star

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