I changed my unhealthy diet after being hospitalised: Peechaya Wattanamontree, star of new film Go Away, Mr Tumor

PHOTO: Instagram/Peechaya Wattanamontree

It often takes a huge event for us to turn our life around.

That's what happened to Thai actress Peechaya Wattanamontree as it took a trip to the hospital for her to kick her unhealthy eating habits.

In an interview with AsiaOne for her new film Go Away, Mr Tumor, the 32-year-old said: "Before filming the movie, I was passionate about health and gathering knowledge on wellness. I personally experienced loved ones passing away from cancer.

"I believe that people have basic knowledge and discernment between healthy and unhealthy habits — but only those who have close encounters with the severe consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle will put their knowledge into action.

"During my early days in the entertainment industry, I used to enjoy unhealthy meals and was often warned by my mum to change this habit — very similar to [my character's] mum. After I was hospitalised, I immediately practised healthy habits to this very day."

Peechaya, who also goes by the nickname Min, added that this health scare allowed her to "relate to and deeply understand" her character Pakkad.

In Go Away, Mr Tumor, Peechaya plays Pakkad, an unlucky graphic designer who encounter a series of unfortunate events when she turned 25. It started with her quitting her job furiously. Then she witnesses first-hand her boyfriend's affair and her day ends with her being diagnosed with cancer.

Though the world is collapsing in front of her, Pakkad finds her heart at ease and bounces back easily with friends and family who stand by her side. The unexpected occurs when she develops a big crush on Dr Kawin (Ananda Everingham), her stern-looking doctor with a gloomy past.

Peechaya Wattanamontree as Pakkad with Ananda Everingham as Dr Kawin. PHOTO: mm2 Entertainment

Knowing that death is coming is a scary notion but Peechaya, like Pakkad, admitted that she will be able to project positivity if faced with the same scenario. This is because she strongly believes in "making the very best out of each moment while taking every possible opportunity to express love to those around me".

She shared: "If I was personally facing this situation, I would take time to reflect and process my fears and emotions. Once my fears subside, I would carefully plan ways to help my loved ones cope with this harsh reality and continue their lives after my passing...

"I live life to the fullest and without regrets. This mindset enables me to not only understand the character of Pakkad, but to handle the situation bravely should it happen to me."

However, that doesn't mean that Peechaya wasn't emotionally affected by her character's journey. She was "in tears even during scenes when Pakkad was not facing the camera", she said.

"This is because I feel a strong chemistry between myself and the character. I deeply understand Pakkad's strengths and weaknesses and was able to feel her emotions as if they were my own. Pakkad was able to overcome her fear with love — a mindset that I admire and personally believe in. Pakkad's tears were channeled into love and positivity."

The film explores death and illness, but it also explores love in its many forms — romantic, familial and platonic.

PHOTO: mm2 Entertainment

When asked about the movie's portrayal of love, Peechaya replied: "I personally find this portrayal of love in the film beautiful, since love is powerful and pervasive. It accurately reflects the reality of love, which is not limited to the single aspect of romance. Love is a driving force that strengthens families, friends and mankind...

"The movie beautifully portrays Pakkad's mindset of when faced with the looming threat of death. Knowing that her days are numbered, she seeks to express her deep love to all around her...

"I personally love this message and hope that the audience find it applicable to their lives — cherish every moment and those around you with love."

Go Away, Mr Tumor is now screening at Cathay Cineplexes.

bryanlim@asiaone.com