After making more than three dozen movies, Alex Fong Lik Sun was surprised that he still got to experience so many firsts with his latest movie All My Goddess.
"It's my first film shoot in Malaysia, my first time in Penang, first time working with director Clifton Ko, first time paired with Annie Liu, and our first scene was a kissing scene!" says the actor at a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.
But the most unusual thing he had to do for his role in this movie, Fong says, was dancing.
"The thing is - I don't dance. So, I'm dancing for the first time. In the past, I wouldn't have dared to attempt anything new. But, now I've forced myself to be brave and try it out," he shares.
He adds that it is very different from singing on stage, where he has to perform for three to four minutes while all eyes are on him.
For movies, they can try out different approaches and edit the footage.
"When the director suggested that I do some dancing for the movie, I decided to go for it. I have a tango sequence with Annie Liu which was absolutely nonsensical. It was fun to shoot and we had a pair of dance teachers come and coach us for those scenes," laughed Fong.
All My Goddess is directed by Hong Kong director Clifton Ko (All's Well Ends Well, I Have A Date With Spring), who adapted the script from a popular Hong Kong musical.
The romantic comedy revolves around four girlfriends trying to decide who should be walking down the aisle while they deal with their respective love interests.
In the movie, the 37-year-old Fong plays a TV director who experiences "love at first sight" when he falls for the girl played by Taiwanese-Canadian actress Liu.
"He feels drawn to the girl the moment he sets eyes on her. So he boldly makes his move by giving her a kiss. If you did that in real life, you'd probably get dragged to the police station. In the movie, she reacts by giving him a slap.
"Since they have to spend the following two nights and three days together to complete the shoot, he makes use of that time to pursue her," he adds.
Fong says that in reality, he could not possibly do that in such a short time.
"It would not be practical for me to fall for someone based only on their outward appearance, since the entertainment industry is full of good-looking women and men. I prefer to take my time getting to know a person well enough before moving on to a more intimate relationship," he says.
A former national swimmer who still holds Hong Kong's national record for the 200m backstroke, Fong used to be known by the nickname Little Flying Fish.
Having been active in the entertainment scene since 2001, he is used to being in the public eye, but prefers a more down-to-earth outlook in his love life.
"I like my partner to be a plain person who is easily contented with the simple pleasures of life. Someone who can cheerily forgo makeup and just throw on a cap and quickly slip out for an impromptu date. Someone who will be glad to dine anywhere with me, and be just as happy regardless of what we are eating, whether it is a simple bowl of noodles or fried rice," says the handsome swimmer-turned-entertainer.
Ninety per cent of All My Goddess was filmed in Penang and Fong spent six days filming for the first time in Malaysia.
"It was a very happy time for me. I have many good friends in Hong Kong who are Malaysians, so I feel very much at home in Malaysia.
"When I was a kid, I used to come to Malaysia for swimming competitions. Filming here for the very first time was a very fresh experience," says Fong, who will next be working on two more movies, one in Hong Kong and the other in China.