Table For Two: Director and Cast

My scriptwriting saga continues. Well, at least the saga of the scripts I wrote continues. I managed to steal onto the sets a few times while they were shooting my scripts. MY scripts. Take note of that word in bold.

I should begin by introducing Ng Ping Ho. You may have heard that name before - he's one of the heads at Poh-Piah Pictures and is the creative force behind shows like Kopitiam, Getting Together and Each Other. I know him from our old school days and have tracked him as he made the transition from shy six former to budding film-maker all the way through to bona fide big-shot producer. He's even got an IMDB entry. He's a really nice guy. And I have never ever taken advantage of him. Until now.

I think Ping likes to have quite a lot of control over his shows. He's not dictatorial in the Roman Polanski/David Lynch sense, but he knows what he wants. Watching him work, you kind of see how he moves the pictures in his head onto film. But since I'm not really inside his head, I wouldn't really know. Just my two cents.

A quick summary: Table for Two is a TV series which is an extension of the Pond's advertisments on TV. They follow the continuing trails and tribulations of a budding romance between a young lady who uses whitening-cream and her new man. No, really. Read my previous post for more.

The two leads in the show are played by Azizan Nin and Melissa Maureen Rizal. You know them from the Ponds ad. As a caveat, I have to say that my entire knowledge of them stems from my few days on set. This is my disclaimer, in case anyone out there should read this and believe everything I write. I don't really know them, honest.

Azizan plays Adam. He seems a nice guy but I think he's miscast for his role. Adam is meant to be this cool guy from college that all the girls wowed over. Azizan is just a nice guy. I suppose actors are meant to act, but it's difficult to pull off a naturally cool and hip exterior if you're not that sort of person. On top of all that, these two episodes show Adam as being idiotic and desperate, touched with a smidgen of vulnerability. The objective was to throw a kink in the relationship, and me being the guy I am, writing what I know, the guy ended up a bit, well, idiotic, desperate and vulnerable. Don't blame me, blame my life experiences.

Melissa Maureen plays Sue. Now that I've written this up, I anticipate a slew of Google searches in this direction, seeing the intrest she drummed up on at least a few notice boards when she did the Ponds ad. She also gets confused for that cute Nokia girl, for some reason. (No, I don't know how you can get in touch with Melissa, I don't have her phone number/email/fax/telex/address - but if you want to send her jewelry and gifts, you can pass them on to me. But nothing in pink, please.)

Melissa is, I think, the one main reason why people will tune in week after week after week. Let's face it, she's a pretty girl. And a pretty good actress. Even if I didn't write a script to help show that. But I think she looks good on-screen and has a nice natural style. Even when grumpy.

I wrote this scene where Adam gets extremely upset with Sue and acts like a bit of an idiot. Sue, of course, doesn't take it well and gets upset back with Adam. The thing is, the dialogue was getting Melissa genuinely upset. "If this was my boyfriend, I would have dumped him already," she fumed. And then she bore a stare straight through me. My words, my fault? Well, at least I know idiotic male dialogue. I write what I know.

Bernie Chan plays Auntie Syaz, Sue's aunt. She's meant to be one of the sensible voices in the show, I guess. She's like the "you know, Timmy" part of any sitcom - after the trials and tribulation there is a brief five minutes when the lesson of the day, is learnt. (You can see I've stopped watching TV for fun and started watching TV for analysis. The stress on the "anal", please.)

I know Bernie from my brief days as a Dramalab gopher. She rather stands out in a crowd, and if instead she was shorter and not so good looking, she'd still do a good job advertising her presence. I like Bernie. She's fun to be with and is definitely one of the better actors.

The incredibly talented Cheryl Samad plays Zoe, Sue's good friend and confidante. That and the fact she used to be a VJ on MTV Pulse is all I can say, really, because I don't know her at all, and only watched from the sidelines while she did her stuff. I hate the fact that she's pretty, can act, can sing and is an all-round bon vivante. Nobody should be that talented. Cheryl is an alumni of Ping's previous show, Each Other, and it's clear he thinks very highly of her.

Alvin Wong plays Sam, Adam's close friend and confidante, although you couldn't really say he was a good influence on Adam. He's a little wild, a little woolly but can ultimately be trusted upon. And Alvin is similarly wild and wooolly too. Pretty much how I imagined him to be from the beginning, except that Ping had originally said he was Indian (hence the proliferation of "ayo's" in the original scripts). Alvin was also in Each Other.

Soo Kui Jien, of Disney Buzz fame, plays Pete, Sue's work-mate and secret admirer. Jien's stock is sure to rise as he will be hosting Malaysian Idol - my comment to him was, "You know Ryan Seacrest? I can't stand him". Here's to a distinctly un-Seacrest-like Jien.

My two episodes deal heavily with Pete's crush on Sue, so I got to see quite a bit of Jien in action.

Jien's partner-in-crime on the Disney channel, Azura Zainal, is also into the act - she plays Amy, who is Adam's ex. My episodes have very little of Amy, who only serves as a prop for the party scene - sorry!

There's also Zara, who's played by Wong Sze Zen. Keeping in tradition with Ping's habit of hiring beautiful young women, Zen just happens to be Miss Malaysia / World 2003. It must be a hard life being a TV producer. Zara is my creation - I invented and fleshed her out, unlike the rest who already existed, so I feel a bit of pride seeing her brought to the screen. She actually has a few appearances after my episodes, so if Table for Two makes it to a second season (cough, cough), here's to seeing more of her.

Then there's Bobby, who is Adam's boss, but I haven't met him yet. More on this later.


posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - permalink
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