From portraying the Queen of Gamblers in The Unbeatables to acting as a successful career woman in recent TV drama The Dream Makers, Zoe Tay has played countless roles in over two decades in showbiz.
But there’s a role that the 45-year-old Caldecott Hill Ah Jie (big sister in English) still feels uncomfortable with: intimate bed scenes, reports The New Paper.
At an interview yesterday to promote her latest Channel 8 telemovie, Recipe, Tay said: “I have a phobia of bed scenes and kissing scenes. I feel awkward if I have to act in them and I will break out into cold sweat.”
She said: “It’s not because I am an Ah Jie now, or because I am a mother and a wife.
“All along, I have resisted it. It’s a mental barrier that I cannot overcome. Unless the plot strictly requires it, I will not do it.”
Tay, who is married with three young sons, recalls her experience when she had to get physical with her lead actors in local movie Love Cuts (2010) and upcoming international arthouse film Mister John.
She said: “I remember I flinched when my male co-star hugged me, and I told him, ‘Is it okay if you don’t touch me?’
“I felt very scared.
“I even almost pulled out of Mister John’s filming because I felt that I simply couldn’t do it.”
In the end, the kissing scene still took place under the guidance of British husband-and-wife indie directorial team Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, who are helming Mister John.
“My co-star was very gentlemanly and we only did two to three takes for the kissing scene and it was quite a smooth process. However, it was still very awkward having to kiss a Caucasian actor whom I barely know in front of so many crew members.”
For her new acting venture, Recipe, Tay does not have to get physical with any of her co-stars.
Instead, the telemovie sees her as a chef and the daughter of a woman with dementia.
Commissioned by the Health Promotion Board, Recipe, which will air on Channel 8 on Sept 29 at 9pm, is helmed by renowned local director Eric Khoo and centres on the topic of dementia.