Lawrence Wong is a very busy man.
And we're not referring to Singapore's Minister for Finance and Multi-ministry Taskforce co-chair (although he must be a very busy man as well).
We're talking about the Singaporean actor with a good number of shows under his belt, including the highly popular "Story of Yanxi Palace".
Despite his tight schedule, Wong managed to slot in a 15-minute phone call with us to talk about his new series "The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang".
"The Ferryman" is iQiyi's new horror and thriller series that also stars Qi Yuwu, Tay Ping Hui, Jeanette Aw and Kate Kinney.
New role made him an even kinder person
In the show, Wong plays Xia Dong Qing, a convenience store worker who has been gifted with the ability to see spirits by a grim reaper.
Unfortunately, we hit some snags during the phone call (because technology isn't always reliable), but it did give me the opportunity to witness the more candid side to Wong.
"You have very cute cats! Are they Maine Coons," the affable actor asked in reference to my app's profile picture, while the team was trying to fix some minor technical issues.
That interaction also reminded me a lot of his good-natured character in "The Ferryman".
In fact, playing the character has made him an even kinder person, Wong said.
"When I was shooting The Ferryman, I realise that I feel so much so easily for everything. Every episode we talk about different stories of different souls and all these stories moved me so easily that while we were going through lines, my tears started to drop. The director would tell me to save the tears for later.
Even outside of that show, when I scroll through Facebook and see cases of animal abuse, they just touch me so much... I feel so much more than usual that I will just cry easily, which doesn't happen to me when I film other shows."
That takes method acting to another level.
Self-confessed horror buff
Ironically, while "The Ferryman" is a supernatural series, most of the cast, including Qi and Kinney, are not big fans of the horror genre.
That's not the case for Wong, though.
This is why it comes as no surprise that he was elated to act in his very first supernatural series.
The self-confessed horror buff told Mothership, "I love horror movies. Even though I'm still scared but I'm one of those people who just like to scare themselves."
"I was excited about it [acting in the series] because, you know, the style of acting is really different from acting in general. I had to strike a balance between what is real and what the audience wants to see."
But just because he gets a thrill from watching thrillers, it definitely doesn't mean that he would want the ability to see spirits and ghouls.
"I definitely do not want to be able to see ghosts. I think that's kind of horrible," Wong quickly retorted.
Thankfully for him, he hasn't had any experiences with the other kind.
Dove five metres into a pool
He did, however, have some memorable experiences with the other humans on the set of "The Ferryman".
For example, the time where he had to spit on Tay Ping Hui.
Or that one time he had to film a drowning scene.
Calling himself a "bad swimmer," Wong recalled having to dive five metres into a pool just for one scene.
"I'm really bad with water and it was raining. We shot from midnight all the way till daylight for that scene," he said.
Grateful for opportunities
"The Ferryman", which began filming in 2020, was mainly shot in parts of Malaysia.
And because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant that he had to stay in his hometown of Johor Bahru for close to five months to film the show.
Now that filming has wrapped, the busy bee has been shuttling between Singapore and China a lot for more work commitments.
So how has he kept up?
With a lot of gratitude, he simply said.
"It sounds very cliche, but it's true. It's not easy to get all these opportunities, being able to do all these things and to travel for work. So I've got to do them well, and I've got to have the energy to do them well."
"A lot of friends will say 'I envy you' because I get to travel. But I travel for work, not for a holiday. That said, being aware that I'm so blessed to be able to work across so many different countries and given today's situation where some people are short of work, while I have work back-to-back, I'm just grateful."
"The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang" is now streaming on iQiyi.
Top image from @ohohlawrence on Instagram and iQiyi.