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HBO Asia’s first original co-production with Australia, Serangoon Road, is adding veteran actress Joan Chen and rising Indonesian talent Ario Bayu to its Singapore shoot.
Co-produced with Australia’s ABC TV, the new ten-episode detective drama is set in the heady days of 1960s Singapore, a time when traders, gangsters and well-healed international expatriates intermingled in secret societies and along the colorful sidewalks of Serangoon Road – Singapore’s first major throughway, which linked the island’s many vibrant ethnic communities.
Chen, who is best known for her appearances in The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks, and Mao’s Last Dancer, has signed on in the leading role. Chen’s latest appearance was a supporting role in HBO’s 2012 Emmy-winning original movie, Hemingway & Gellhorn, opposite Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.
“Although filming has started, the series continues to attract additional talented cast and crew from around the world,” said Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia at a press conference in Singapore Wednesday afternoon.
Also joining the production in a lead part is Indonesian talent, Ario Bayu, who picked up a best supporting nod at the Indonesia Movie Awards last year, and will co-star in director Conor Allyn’s terrorist-thriller Java Heat, opposite Mickey Rourke and Kellan Lutz – due for release in late 2013.
Chen and Bayu will star alongside Australian actor, Don Hany (East West 101; Offspring), as regular cast. Other cast include, Chin Han (The Dark Knight, Contagion) Singapore’s Alaric Tay (The Noose) and Pamelyn Chee (Little Nyonya); Australia’s Maeve Dermody (Rake; Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms) and Rachael Blake (Wildside; The Straits). And guest appearances will be made by U.S.-based Russell Wong (Romeo Must Die, The Mummy – Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor, The Joy Luck Club), local television and film veteran Xiang Yun (We Not Naughty).
Location shoots have already taken place at some of Singpore’s best known landmarks, including the Raffles Hotel (inventor of the Singapore Sling) and former colonial houses and heritage buildings. Shooting will continue at Infinite Studios’ facilities in Batam, Indonesia, where replicas of the Bugis Street and Chinatown of old Singapore have been built.
Serangoon Road is HBO Asia’s latest effort in regionally produced HBO Original programming. On the opposite side of earth, meanwhile, HBO Latino’s regional crime-thriller Prófugos (Fugitives), set in the Chilean dessert with local megastar Francisco Reyes, has won rave reviews and attracted a global audience to the regional banner.
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