Former opposition politician Nicole Seah, who attracted much attention during the 2011 General Election, is back in the limelight – making her movie debut in the highly-anticipated SG50 film, 1965.
Following inquiries to various parties, TODAY can confirm that the former second assistant secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party – who resigned from the party in August – will be playing the main supporting role of Mei, the wife of a police inspector played by Qi Yuwu.
“It seems ironic right? That I moved to Bangkok for some solace and suddenly I’m in a movie,” Ms Seah, 28, said with a laugh during a phone interview on Monday (Dec 8) from Bangkok, where she is now based after moving to the Thai capital earlier this year to further her career in advertising.
Ms Seah, whose debut role sees her portraying a 29-year-old Singaporean housewife and mother of one, will be speaking both Mandarin and Malay in the movie.
1965, a movie to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary next year, follows the stories of locals and immigrants in the years leading up to independence and focuses on the fragility of racial harmony. It also stars Lim Kay Tong as former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and Joanne Peh.
Ms Seah, the second-most popular politician online – after Mr Lee Kuan Yew – during the 2011 polls, said her first instincts were to say “no” when director Randy Ang offered her the role.
“I’m fully aware that there will be huge scrutiny and people are going to say things. And honestly, if it were any other movie, I really wouldn’t have done it,” said Ms Seah, who was genial throughout the interview.
DEALING WITH NAYSAYERS
The film is currently being shot in Batam and TODAY understands Ms Seah has about eight more days of shooting left. Ms Seah said she decided to accept the role as the script was interesting and 1965 is markedly different from other local films.
“I really love local films, but a lot (are) about HDB (Housing and Development Board flats), the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) and yes, all these issues are really relevant to us on a daily basis. But I just think we are so much more than just that. There are so many more dimensions to being Singaporean,” she said.
“And there are parts of our history that people don’t really think about or talk about on a daily basis. So, the fact that we are bringing that aspect, that part of Singapore, to life from the standpoint of people who have lived during that era is really interesting. And it’s not only from a Lee Kuan Yew biopic kind of standpoint.”
As for the possible brickbats that might come her way, Ms Seah is determined to take it on the chin. “There are going to be tons of people out there who will say things like, ‘Oh, politicians and actresses are like the same thing!’.
“There are going to be naysayers who will say I’m just asking for attention. And I’m well and fully aware of the potential backlash that could happen from taking on a role like this.
“But then, I thought to myself, ‘Why should I be governed by what people think? And why should I be so afraid of what people might say or might think of me just because I agree to do a movie?’ ... It’s nothing controversial or something extremely provocative.”
Ms Seah described her involvement in the movie production as a great learning and humbling experience. “It’s been a huge step out of the comfort zone and a challenging experience. But hey, I like challenges. I like being uncomfortable.”