Joanne Peh: Baby bump didn’t stop intense filming

Joanne Peh chats with director Randy Ang (left) about filming 1965 while being newly pregnant

New mom Joanne Peh has been the talk of the town since her marriage to fellow actor Qi Yuwu – she tells Weekender about her experience filming a movie while with child

Joanne Peh chats with director Randy Ang (left) about filming 1965 while being newly pregnant
Joanne Peh chats with director Randy Ang (left) about filming 1965 while being newly pregnant

Upcoming drama thriller 1965 had me gripping my seat handles in nervous suspense – but probably not for reasons you’re thinking.

The intense scene I saw at the preview featured actress Joanne Peh as Chinese immigrant Zhou Jun at her family’s coffee shop during the chaotic riots of 1964. She’s being pushed and shoved by a relentless horde of rioters looting her shop. Joanne was pregnant when she filmed that scene.

Now, at nine months pregnant, Joanne sports what many call “the glow”. She was excited to tell us about her baby plans – although she continues to remain secretive about her child’s gender. I dug deeper to find out more.

How have things been since your pregnancy began?

It’s [the baby is] starting to move around a lot! It was kicking quite a bit just now, so I had to hurry to the ladies’. But I’ve been enjoying and appreciating this experience!

Joanne Peh (right) as Zhou Jun, with co-star James Seah as Zhou Jun’s suitor, Seng
Joanne Peh (right) as Zhou Jun, with co-star James Seah as Zhou Jun’s suitor, Seng

That looting sequence was intense. How did you feel during that scene?

I was a little bit scared that they would push me over and I’d fall. But I didn’t want to compromise on realism – I needed them to be real so I could react. If they were doing a half-hearted attempt, it would be really difficult for me to [portray] a real sense of danger and threat.

But when we saw the clip just now, I actually felt quite nervous!

 

I didn’t want to compromise on realism – I needed them to be real so I could react.

 

You’re not the only one! You only found out halfway through filming that you’re pregnant. How different might things have been if you’d known from the start?

It was good that I didn’t know at first, or I wouldn’t have done a lot of things. I would’ve been less daring, and the end product would be different.

Dramatic thriller 1965 stars Joanne Peh as Chinese immigrant Zhou Jun during the chaotic period in Singapore’s history
Dramatic thriller 1965 stars Joanne Peh as Chinese immigrant Zhou Jun during the chaotic period in Singapore’s history

Your husband, Yuwu, also stars in 1965. How did you two work together?

I turned to my husband for inspiration [for my character], because he came from China and had to find his sense of home here.

He told me that his sense of home is having friends and family here. That’s very true – and that’s also how it is for Zhou Jun.

Will Yuwu accompany you into the delivery room?

Yes, he plans to!

What does your baby respond most to?

I always imagine the baby dodging food or something because it’s really active when I’m eating! The movement is much bigger than normal and I’d jump.

So, recently, have you been resting at home or are you taking on new projects?

My energy is definitely waning, so I’ll have to start resting around mid-July. But right now we’re starting to film for a variety show that charts my progress.

I’ve also found my photographer for my photo shoot. [Joanne had previously expressed her desire for a nude pregnancy photo shoot.] I definitely want to record and remember this – I feel really beautiful during my pregnancy!

 
By Pamela Chow

The film 1965 will be released in theatres on Jul 30.

 

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