From mum and son in Ilo Ilo to illicit lovers in new film Wet Season
Ilo Ilo co-stars Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler stay professional, overcome awkwardness as they play lovers in new film
They played mother and son in Anthony Chen's award-winning 2013 film, Ilo Ilo.
Six years later, Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler reunite on screen as illicit lovers in the local director's new film, Wet Season.
Opening here on Nov 28, it revolves around a Chinese language teacher (Yeo) from Malaysia, whose marriage and school life in Singapore are falling apart because she is unable to bear a child.
But an unlikely relationship with her student (Koh) helps her reaffirm her identity as a woman.
The movie is still unrated.
Koh, now 18, had been calling Yeo, 42, mum since he was 11.
She said: "When we started filming this movie, I told him to stop calling me mum, and that we are colleagues now and we can do this together."
Yeo was speaking to the local media on Tuesday during a Skype dialogue session from the Toronto International Film Festival, where Wet Season held its world premiere and which she attended alongside Chen.
She and Koh also managed to remain professional and overcome their awkwardness for their sex scene.
While he admitted that he felt a little "scared and weird", he said Chen directed him throughout the scene, which he rehearsed for 12 hours and about 10 times before getting it right.
Joking that Chen was more skilful than his parents in providing guidance, Koh - who does not have a girlfriend - told the local media separately: "That is why he just had a baby."
Chen, 35, assured that Koh's parents were not worried about the scene.
He said: "I have known them since he was 11 and he already had to strip naked in Ilo Ilo, so they trusted me enough to put him in my care."
But he said Wet Season is not solely about a scandalous teacher-student affair.
"It is not how I shot the film or tried to depict the characters."
Emphasising that there is much more to it, he said it is about two lonely people who come together and find warmth between them.
He said: "There are several layers to this. Is the protagonist looking for a lover, a non-existent husband or a son she never had? Furthermore, beneath this story lies a lot of underlying themes relating to Singapore's education system and Singapore's relationship with Malaysia.
"It is really just an honest piece of work where the emotions are so naked, and I hope people can feel that."