Singaporean radio deejay and comic actor Dennis Chew had a brush with the supernatural while filming Ghost On Air, writes Loong Wai Ting
KNOWN for his witty humour and ability to poke fun at almost anything, Dennis Chew takes on a much darker role in his next film, Ghost On Air.
The radio deejay from Singapore is especially well-known for his role as Aunty Lucy — a curly-haired, bespectacled woman who likes tossing her hair and uttering her famous line “so embarrassing!”
Chew is both excited and serious when he talks about his role in the movie horror film, Ghost On Air.
He says he does his best to get into a role as much as possible. “I always try to put myself into the shoes of the character. I can easily get into my character, Ping Xiao, in the movie.”
After all, the 39-year-old actor once hosted Grandpa Zhou’s Ghost Stories, a ghost story segment on radio, just like his character in the movie. However the segment was taken off the air later because of complaints that it was too scary to be aired at night.
“It was pre-recorded and I did the show in the morning. So it didn’t occur to me that it would be a frightening experience for those who listened to it at night. Many of my colleagues who worked the night shift started complaining about its scare factor. Once I had to replace one of them and that was when I realised the impact it had. I freaked myself out with my own story-telling,” he says.
Ghost On Air is about Ping Xiao, a two-time Most Popular DJ award winner who, one day finds himself “robbed” of his successful morning show after being replaced by a younger deejay.
To regain his popularity, he forces himself to dwell in the painful memories of his deceased girlfriend (played by Gan Mei Yan) by telling ghost stories that she had written, on air. Soon, he begins to realise that the stories are not fictitious.
“This is the first time the audience will see a different side of me as I usually play a more comic role. I think it’s a challenge to convince the audience that the Dennis Chew they see on screen is not the usual happy-go-lucky one,” he adds. “You know, sometimes it’s really hard for me to resist cracking jokes on the set.”
“I think it helps that the director, Cheng Ding An (Kallang Roar The Movie) has given me a lot of freedom to express my character. It was a pleasant experience working with him - he knows what he wants,” he says.
Chew shares a personal brush with the supernatural world on the movie set. “There was this party scene that we were shooting on the roof top. I kept hearing whispers the entire night and I felt really sick. At the end of the shoot, I was so sick and nauseated that I had to be admitted to the hospital for a check-up. Every night I dreamt of being on a roller-coaster and would wake in a cold sweat.”
Ghost On Air also stars local MY FM deejay Gan Mei Yan, Eunice Olsen, Samuel Chong and Choo Xiu Feng.