“The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang,” iQiyi’s first Southeast Asia original, will be premiering on Aug. 24.
The series tells the tale of how an intrepid duo come together to help wandering souls in the mortal world complete their unfinished business.
During an online press conference on Aug. 20, “The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang” stars Lawrence Wong, Qi Yuwu, Kate Kinney, Tay Ping Hui, Jeanette Aw, Debbie Goh, Koe Yeet and Jojo Goh talked about their roles and on-set experiences.
When asked what drew him to his role in the series, Lawrence Wong said he has “always been a horror film buff. But ‘The Ferryman’ doesn’t just have scary visuals, it also has a lot more depth, exploring questions on love and life.”
As the show revolves around the theme of death, he reflected that “filming this show actually reminded me about the many small joys in life that I’ve missed after having worked tirelessly the last few years.”
Kate Kinney, the show’s youngest lead, said she felt stressed before her first day on the set, saying, “I secretly looked my co-actors up, and I found out that they were all extremely experienced actors.” She said other cast members were welcoming and patient during the filming.
Qi Yuwu, who plays the role of grim reaper Zhao Li, said the biggest challenge he faced was his fear of horror genres but decided to take the role up as it was “very rare to see such a large collaboration between Singapore and Malaysian cast and crew” and said he was delighted that “every story in The Ferryman had human elements, and I enjoyed being able to convey these feelings through Zhao Li.”
Conferring with Yuwu, Tay Ping Hui added that his favourite scene was the long monologue he delivered.
“It was a strong message on how to treat others, including animals, with kindness and humanity, filming the scene made me realize that we haven’t been the best with our treatment of animals, and that should definitely change,” he said.
Besides playing a dual role of an upright police woman and an evil spirit who yearns for world domination, Jeanette Aw also had to learn an entire dance sequence for the series, saying, “My dance teacher choreographed the dance for me. I had to learn the entire sequence because the director hoped to capture different angles. We had to shoot the sequence a few times to achieve that and it turned out nicely.”
Meanwhile, Malaysian cast member Debbie Goh, who plays a character that desires immorality, shared that she found herself to be quite dissimilar to her role.
“My character wants to be immortal, but in reality, I don’t want that. I believe we, as human beings, have to learn to accept the natural process of aging, sickness and death, so that we can cherish life even more. She also has a naive perspective on love, wanting to give her all to get it, but I personally have other priorities like investing in my family,” she said. “The stories in the series have a lot of depth, and the audience can expect to take away with them valuable life lessons.”
Meanwhile, an unexpected twist to a well-known character - the King of Hades - is helmed by actress Jojo Goh. Portrayed as a gender fluid being, the King of Hades is seen to be the key influence of the many tales in the series.
Playing such a role for the first time, Jojo said, “When I was sharing about my involvement with friends and family, they were surprised that I was playing a traditionally male character - the King of Hades. My character sometimes appears as female if she wants to, and male if he wants to.”
Lastly, when asked whether the cast had experienced any spooky encounters on set, Koe Yeet answered with a straightforward “no,” adding that “although half of my projects are of the horror genre, I’ve never experienced anything supernatural! This time, my mother had prepared a small talisman consisting of a wild boar’s tooth for me before shooting, and perhaps that is what protected me.”
Starting Aug. 24, “The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang” will have two new episodes released every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m. SGT on the iQiyi International app or iQ.com.