Royal treat­ment

All is fair in love and war in the pop­u­lar Thai drama Princess Hours.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Front Page - By SETO KIT YAN and BITRIN SOLUNGIN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

WHEN the cast of Princess Hours made their first visit to Malaysia re­cently, fans were prac­ti­cally rolling out the red car­pet for their favourite Thai stars.

It may have been more than a decade since the smash hit Korean drama Princess Hours, also known as Goong, gained pop­u­lar­ity across Asia, but when the Thai ver­sion aired in Thai­land from April,

Goong fever was ig­nited all over again.

As part of their “royal visit”,

Princess Hours’ main cast mem­bers Tao (Sat­taphong Phi­ang­phor), Pat­tie (Ung­suma­lynn Si­ra­p­at­sak­metha), Phan (Stephane Saisean Pag­niez) and Bebe (Than­chanok Rit­naka) con­ducted a press con­fer­ence, pri­vate screen­ing party as well as a fan-meet.

Set in a fic­ti­tious coun­try known as the King­dom of Bhutin, where monar­chy still ex­ists, Princess Hours re­volves around the tu­mul­tuous re­la­tion­ship of Crown Prince In­dra (Tao) and his com­moner bride Princess Khan­ing (Pat­tie), as well as their re­spec­tive love in­ter­ests Min­nie (Bebe) and Prince Nakhun (Phan).

Crown Prince In­dra, who has just been re­called from his stud­ies in Bri­tain, wants to marry his child­hood sweet­heart Min­nie, but has been in­structed to help his fam­ily re­tain the throne by ful­fill­ing his grand­fa­ther’s wish for him to take a com­moner as his con­sort.

The big­gest chal­lenge for him, Tao said, was hav­ing to act like roy­alty and be­have in an aris­to­cratic man­ner.

“I am not a prince so it was re­ally hard for me. I need to walk straight with proper pos­ture, and speak and move slowly,” shared the 27-year-old pop­u­lar lead­ing man.

Pic­tured sport­ing a bright blue ki­ne­sio­tape on his thumb due to a foot­ball in­jury, Tao con­tin­ued: “If there is an op­por­tu­nity to choose a char­ac­ter to play, I would go for a sporty one where I can show some of my skills. I’ve never played such char­ac­ters any­way, and I love sports.”

Then, he de­scribed an amus­ing in­ci­dent which hap­pened while they were shoot­ing a scene where Prince In­dra had to stop Khan­ing from speak­ing.

“I was sup­posed to stop her by putting my in­dex fin­ger on her lips. But, I ended up pok­ing my fin­ger into her up­per lip, in­stead.

“At that time, I wanted to laugh but I couldn’t, be­cause it was a ro­man­tic-com­edy scene so I had to carry on,” he re­called.

Pat­tie, who turned 26 re­cently, plays the bub­bly Khan­ing who dreams of meet­ing her own prince. As a head­strong girl who is pas­sion­ate about art, Khan­ing starts off on the wrong foot with Prince In­dra, but soon finds her­self to be be­trothed to him due to an agree­ment be­tween their re­spec­tive grand­fa­thers.

Play­ing an amus­ing young lady who has to learn to be­have like a Crown Princess, Pat­tie said her favourite scenes are the one where she plays a com­moner.

“It was the part that I en­joyed the most, es­pe­cially in the scene where we were play­ing cards. Be­cause, I could be my­self. The fam­ily was full of love and warmth. It was very dif­fer­ent from the (scenes in the) cas­tle where I had to be so se­ri­ous and act in a proper man­ner,” said Pat­tie.

New­comer Phan, 24, plays Prince Nakhun who falls for his quirky school­mate Khan­ing and later finds out that she is en­gaged to his cousin Prince In­dra.

Prince Nakhun’s ag­gres­sive mother is the for­mer crown princess, who emerges af­ter spend­ing many years in ex­ile and pushes him to re­claim his birthright and fight for the throne as well as Khan­ing’s love.

Phan, who is of French-Thai des­cent, said that por­tray­ing Prince Nakhun’s char­ac­ter had left a deep im­pres­sion on him as he en­joyed get­ting into a char­ac­ter that was so dif­fer­ent from him­self.

“I re­call a scene where I plunged into de­pres­sion be­cause Princess Khan­ing re­jected my love, and I be­came stressed out be­cause my char­ac­ter had to sat­isfy his mother’s goal to win back the throne and the ti­tle of Crown Prince.

“It was very tough, a method act­ing that I had never tried be­fore, but I like it since I can ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing new. It took months for me to re­cover from the scene,” said Phan.

There’s a slight change in the Thai ver­sion of the se­ries com­pared to the orig­i­nal K-drama.

In the Korean ver­sion, the sec­ond fe­male lead Min Hyo-rin (played by Song Ji-hyo) is a bal­let dancer. In the Thai ver­sion, Min­nie is an Olympic archer, a sporty sort of girl.

As one of the top fit­ness in­flu­encers in Thai­land, ac­tress Bebe shared that she re­ally en­joyed play­ing a char­ac­ter who is sporty, and was de­ter­mined to look like a pro­fes­sional ath­lete so she put in hours of train­ing to learn the new sport.

“It was the first time I tried archery, so I prac­tised for al­most 10 hours. I had to learn how to grip the bow and shoot the ar­row like a pro­fes­sional.

“It’s quite tough be­cause the bow was very heavy. But I en­joyed it,” said the 29-year-old fit­ness en­thu­si­ast, who has her own col­lec­tion of ac­tivewear.

In the drama, Min­nie de­clines Prince In­dra’s mar­riage pro­posal as she yearns for Olympic glory. But in real life, Bebe says (the char­ac­ter might) re­con­sider if the prince told her the true rea­son for his hur­ried pro­posal.

“Min­nie is still young and wishes to fo­cus on achiev­ing her Olympic dream. But, if he told her the truth, that he has to get mar­ried in or­der to re­tain the throne, she would def­i­nitely ac­cept his pro­posal, as she truly loves him.”

All 20 episodes of Princess Hours, with English sub­ti­tles, are avail­able on dim­sum. Down­load the dim­sum app from Ap­ple App Store or Google Play Store, or stream di­rectly at dim­sum. my. All new sub­scribers are en­ti­tled to a free 30-day trial. A sub­scrip­tion fee of RM15 a month of­fers ac­cess of up to five con­cur­rent users or de­vices with one ac­count. The stream­ing ser­vice sup­ports Chrome­cast and Air­Play for sub­scribers to binge­watch shows on TV. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to dim­sum’s of­fi­cial Face­book (face­­ and In­sta­gram (@dim­

Photo: SAM THAM/The Star

The cast of Princess Hours dur­ing a meet and greet ses­sion in Sun­way Pyra­mid, Petaling Jaya. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Princess Hours fea­tures pop­u­lar Thai idols (from left) Phan, Bebe, Pat­tie and Tao. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

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