In Conversation With Eddie Peng
Into the off-script world with one of Asia's most recognised leading men.
BY Nicholas Ng | Jan 24, 2017 | Film & TV
Int. Studio room—DAY
After the photography session, a fresh-faced EDDIE PENG, 34, enters. He’s in a blue t-shirt and sport shorts. He surveys the room and sees NICHOLAS NG, 32. Ng’s expression is of calm waters, but beneath that is a roiling undercurrent. For the briefest moment, he mentally compares himself with the Chinese actor, singer and model, and feels the plummet of his self-esteem.
Nervously, Ng stands with his right hand extended. Peng returns with a hearty handshake.
Ng says that a little too loudly, a little too forcedly. He giggles at his quip. It goes on for a little too long, and later, when Ng looks back on the incident, it’s not even a joke to begin with. To his credit, Peng did not display any reaction to that. The two men take their seats and Ng, reading from his notes, fires off his first salvo.
(Note: The film in question is Cold War 2 (2016), starring Aaron Kwok, Chow Yun-fat and Peng, himself, as the antagonist from the last instalment. In this latest outing, Kwok’s character is blackmailed into letting Peng’s character go in exchange for the freedom of his wife.)
(Note: In Hear Me (2009), Peng’s character falls in love with a hearing-impaired woman, played by Ivy Chen but— surprise surprise—the woman wasn’t deaf to begin with.)
Ng makes a sound, almost inaudible to Peng’s ears. It’s a noise that’s something akin to hope; hope that the next sentence will be Peng casually asking if Ng will take him sightseeing.
Ng deflates. We have a brief animation of nails being hammered into a heart.
(Note: Notable and recent films that Peng refers to are Ilo Ilo, A Yellow Bird and Apprentice. #gottawatchthemall)
(Note: Based on the Mekong River massacre, Peng plays a Chinese immigrant who is embroiled in the attack. Peng is currently in Beijing, where they are now, promoting the film.)
Ng gasps in surprise, but sounds like a wounded animal. Fortunately, for Ng, Peng misses it and continues.
The soft, steady tunes of Pong Lang Sa On play in the background.
The music stops.
At that moment, Peng’s MANAGER and TWO OTHER STUDIO EXECUTIVES enter the room. They display no expression, nothing Ng can divine from.
CUT TO: Ext.
The COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR addresses a younger-looking Eddie Peng.
(Note: Tomorrow is a Taiwanese show based on the manga series, Asunaro Hakusho, about five friends who have to deal with a death and love among themselves.)
CLOSE IN ON the young Peng.
Int. Studio room—DAY
We’re back in the room with Peng, Ng, the Manager and Studio Executives.
(Note: Scent of Love (2003-2004) propelled Peng into the public consciousness.)
Peng appears to dismiss the question. Maybe not. But there is no denying that he has been asked this over and over again. Ng feels a lump in his throat.
Ng fumbles with his notepad, riffling through his notes and scribbles. In the back, the Manager and the Studio Executives fumble with their individual mobile phones.
Peng smiles. He straightens up.
Ng almost flinches. He thinks someone, either the Manager or one of the Studio Executive gestures to him. Oh wait, it’s just the Manager addressing an itch.
Ng stares at Peng for a beat.
Ng scratches his chin.
The answer doesn’t satisfy Ng. Peng sees that, so he tries a different approach.
(Note: A sports drama about cycling competition. Everything about hard work and determination, nothing about drugs.)
The Manager giggles at the back. Ng looks up nervously. What does that mean? Is that good? Is it time for me to go? Ng glances at his watch. How long did I take?
Peng pedals furiously on a stationary bicycle. His body is drenched in sweat. The muscles in his back are tense.
Back against the wall, Peng slides down, dog-tired.
Int. Studio room—DAY
Peng continues talking to Ng.
Peng shifts in his seat. He’s been asked this before and is now formulating a different response than the ones given previously.
Ng flips through his notes. He’d ask everything on his list. Ng looks up and sees the Manager smiling at him. Should I go on and capitalise on the moment to keep talking or- Why isn’t anyone stopping me?
Ng nods slowly and exits this scene leaving Peng to continue whatever he has left to the end.
FADE TO BLACK
Production by CHING CREATIVE.