Have you caught heartthrob Nathan Hartono and dancer-actress Ferlyn G in Singapore’s first ghost-zombie romance comedy?

The movie, co-written and directed by local filmmaker Han Yew Kwang, tells the story of Pong (Hartono), who turns into a zombie when saving his town from a disaster. He leads a mechanical and aimless life until a female ghost named Zhen Zhen (Ferlyn G) comes into his life. Zhen Zhen, whose raison d’être is “If you have no dreams, you are no different from a walking zombie,” believes one should live life to its fullest. Comedy ensues when Zhen Zhen possesses Pong to fulfil her pageant dreams and forces him to join a “Mr Perfect” competition.

The Popping Post caught up with Hartono and Han to ask them 12 questions about their part in the movie and how they feel about the supernatural. You’d be surprised at what they shared with us via e-mail!

12 questions for Nathan Hartono:

1. Describe your character.

A: Pong is a selfless creature, driven by love and companionship.

2. Are you like the character you play? How so?

In a way, yes. I am a bit of a people-pleaser myself and I love doing things for others, regardless of whether it benefits me or not. Because oftentimes, the act of service is the benefit.

3. What did you do to prepare for your role?

A lot of diet and exercise. The role is a purely physical one, so I spent a lot of time just making sure the physical aspects of myself were in peak condition (or as peak as I could get it at the time). I also practised in front of my phone camera a bunch. Onscreen acting is still something I’m getting used to, and practising with a camera is kind of embarrassing, but also quite necessary to learn.

4. Which supernatural creature are you the most scared of?

Chucky. From Child’s Play. I was terrified of it as a child and am still a little terrified to this day.

5. What other supernatural creatures would you want to play?

A unicorn.

Fann Wong in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

Fann Wong in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

6. What was the most enjoyable part about shooting When Ghost Meets Zombie?

The learning. It’s no secret this movie has a star-studded cast, and several high-profile cameos. Each time I had the opportunity to shoot with these people (i.e. Gurmit Singh, Suhaimi Yusoff, Dennis Chew, etc.) it was such a pleasure and joy. Many of them I have grown up watching. And to learn their craft firsthand, just from observing and reacting, was one of the more unforgettable parts of filming.

Nathan Hartono had to get in shape for his role as Mr Perfect in the pageant. (Credit: GVP)

Nathan Hartono had to get in shape for his role as Mr Perfect in the pageant. He is the one in the middle. (Credit: GVP)

7. What was the most challenging part about shooting When Ghost Meets Zombie?

The dances. There are multiple dance scenes in this movie, some proper, some less so. But both were very unfamiliar territory for me. I rarely let my body do the talking. Oftentimes, the only thing I use to communicate with the audience is my voice. And in this film I didn’t have that.

8. Did you do your own stunts? What were the challenges involved in doing so?

Yeah. It was fun. I was a wild child and would do all kinds of stunts anyway, so to be able to do it for a purpose this time was like living out a childhood dream. I even got to fight with myself (like Edward Norton in Fight Club) and that was a blast.

9. W
ould you date a ghost/zombie?

Lol no.

Ferlyn G and Nathan Hartono in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

Ferlyn G and Nathan Hartono in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

10. How was the chemistry between you and Ferlyn G like? Was there any awkwardness, especially when it came to filming more intimate scenes?

Not really. From the get go we had a very good relationship and mutual respect for each other. We threw ourselves completely into the roles while filming, but never took it home with us. I feel like things only get awkward when one side doesn’t commit completely.

11. Would you rather be a ghost or a zombie, if you had a choice?

Ghost. Ghosts can fly……right?

12. Have you seen a ghost before? Tell us more about it.

Thankfully my third eye is completely shut. I’m terrified of the supernatural and I hate horror movies. I watch them every once in a while, but rarely ever seek them out.

And now, for director Han Yew Kwang:

1. How did you come up with the idea for When Ghost Meets Zombie?

I wanted to make a horror comedy after making a sex comedy in 2014. I always try to create two main characters of opposite characteristics in a story. Therefore, I came with a love story between a ghost and a zombie, as they are very different, completely the opposite of each other.

2. Was the premise of the film based on anything you’ve watched before, such as old Hong Kong movies or such?

I think the premise and the main characters in When Ghost Meets Zombie are quite original except for Gurmit’s priest character who has characteristics of the legendary Lam Ching Ying in Mr Vampire and Chan Yau in Rigor Mortis.

3. What was the writing process like for When Ghost Meets Zombie?

I came out with the initial story concept. My co-writer Liling, my executive producer Molby and myself developed the script together. Liling wrote the first draft and I took over from there. Liling is mainly responsible for the emotional parts and I’m mainly responsible for the comedy parts. Molby supervised the writing process and helped us with the story structure.

Zheng Ge Ping, Jeremy Chan and Andie Chen in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

Zheng Ge Ping, Jeremy Chan and Andie Chen in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

4. What was it like directing When Ghost Meets Zombie, and how was it different from previous films that you’e directed?

When Ghost Meets Zombie was a technical challenge for me. It is my most commercial film to date. It consists of dance sequences, fight sequences and lots of special effects. My previous films are mainly independent films which had less technical challenges.

5. Why did you choose a ghost and a zombie, instead of other supernatural creatures?

A ghost is a soul with a body and a zombie is a body without a soul. I can’t think of any other creature/demon/combination that has such opposite characteristics.

6. What is your favourite supernatural creature?

My fave is the centaur, a supernatural creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse. I will probably faint if I really see one. But due to the complexity of this creature, it probably will never appear in any of my films.

Gurmit Singh is a crazed exorcist in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

Gurmit Singh is a crazed exorcist in When Ghost Meets Zombie. (Credit: GVP)

7. What was the casting process like?

We cast Ferlyn among hundreds of auditionees. I saw Nathan when I watched The Great Wall in 2017. I was very impressed by his performance. Therefore, when his name came out during one of our brainstorming session, my producers and I were excited and we quickly arranged for a meet-up. The most interesting casting choice is Gurmit. When we were still thinking of who to cast for the priest role, we saw Gurmit at the Mediacorp canteen. He bought his food, walked straight to a table and sat facing the wall. He ate his meal while staring blankly at the wall most of the time. It was really quirky. I instantly told myself that I have found my priest.

8. Were there any challenges shooting When Ghost Meets Zombie?

We only had 23 days to shoot the movie. It might sound sufficient but in fact, it was a really tight shoot as all the dance and action sequences needed lots of time to shoot, not to mention the special effect shots as well.

9. Did you have to be extra careful regarding spiritual matters during When Ghost Meets Zombie? Were there any special rituals that you had to do before filming?

No special rituals.

10. Did anything spooky or mysterious happen during the filming?

Nothing spooky happened. I’m so lucky!

From left: Jesseca Liu, Nathan Hartono and Jeremy Chan. (Credit: GVP)

From left: Jesseca Liu, Nathan Hartono and Jeremy Chan. (Credit: GVP)

11. Which is your favourite scene in When Ghost Meets Zombie?

My favourite scene is the scene where Jesseca Liu first appears. Everything is perfect for me for that scene. The mood, the pacing, the acting and the music.

12. Will you do a sequel?

Yes, if the film is a success, I might consider doing a sequel called When Zombie meets Ghost. But this time round, a male ghost meets a female zombie and falls in love with her.


Haven’t caught the movie yet? Hurry and get your tickets here before the film ends its run.


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