Fann Wong’s motherly instincts kicked in when she was working on her latest project, Packages From Daddy.
The local veteran actress, 45, plays a wife and mother grieving over her husband’s sudden death. At the same time, she has to deal with her son’s and daughter’s outbursts.
The Taiwanese movie, which tackles the issues of death and moving on from it, opens here on Dec 15.
Fann shared how actor Xie Fei, 11, who plays her son, was “stressed out most of the time as he is very young”.
“Sometimes during filming, I tried to de-stress him by playing games and talking to him,” said Fann at the film’s press conference on Wednesday at Shaw Centre.
“I also encouraged him by telling him that he acted well in certain scenes, or asked him why he wanted to be an actor.”
Fann said acting opposite Taiwanese actress Yu Jo Ching, 15, who plays her daughter, “was different as she is slightly older”.
“I would assess the situation first to find out how they felt on that day,” said Fann.
These maternal feelings came from being a mother in real life. She has a two-year-old son, Zed, with her husband of seven years, actor Christopher Lee.
While filming in Taiwan for about a month last year, Fann would make trips back to Singapore during breaks to see Zed.
But she nearly did not take up the role as Zed was a newborn when the script was given to her.
“When I found out that Tsai Yin Chuan was going to be the director, I became interested, especially after reading the script.
“As I had just became a mother then, I realised that I felt more for topics on life or family.”
But her unwillingness to be separated from Zed held her back, and it was Lee who encouraged her to take it up.
“I could not bear to leave my baby. My husband noted my reaction and asked me to accept the role since it was so good.
“He would ask me every day if I had accepted it. Deep down, I wanted him to say no so I could spend more time with Zed. He told me that our baby was young, he would not remember if I left him alone or not,” Fann said, laughing.
“I really have to thank him. If he did not push me out the door, I would not have gotten this role.”
Filming the movie also allowed Fann to think more about her life and family. She learnt to appreciate her relationships more.
She said that during the premiere for Packages From Daddy on Wednesday, she told Lee that he had to live up to 100, and that he had to live longer than her – else, she would end up crying every day.
“In life, we have to face the problems being thrown at us. But when you have to deal with them, it really grips at my heart, especially if it is someone you love,” Fann said.
“After filming a movie with this topic, I feel that I cherish my relationships more, and that my relationships with my husband and baby have changed. I have realised more about myself as well.
“I was more work-oriented previously, but now I am more kids-oriented. I do love my job, but nothing is more important than family.”
Fann said she loved Packages From Daddy as it is thought-provoking.
“It made me think whether I had accidentally disappointed someone, or if I managed to cherish the one I love today.
“These things are like daily homework given to us in life that we have to think about,” she said.
A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper.