If you happen to see some familiar locations in new spy thriller The Hiddens, don’t be surprised – part of the series was actually secretly filmed in Malaysia!

The Hiddens (Cantonese title Yan Sai Je Mun), which premieres on Astro today, was filmed in several different countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Malaysia. The parts filmed here also features local talents from Astro, including Miss Astro Chinese Denise Camillia Tan, Vivienne Onn, Shian Ter, Kevin Soo, Nicholas King, Chung Lai Chan and Thang Hoo Ley.

Starring Jessica Hester Hsuan, Michael Tao, William So and Lawrence Ng, The Hiddens revolves around the adventures of a bunch of quirky lawbreakers with fascinating skill-sets who are recruited to be undercover operatives that carry out dangerous missions.

The Hiddens serves as a reunion of sorts for Hsuan, Tao, So and Ng, who were the main cast members of well-loved nineties Hong Kong TVB drama File Of Justice. In the drama, ruthless team leader Wai Ming (Hsuan) is in charge of recruiting the wayward members of this ‘Suicide Squad’ and keeping them in line. Gong Ning (Ng) is the master strategist who also skilled in armed combat. Yau Jung Tai (So) is a master of disguise who has never been identified. Meanwhile, Cheung Sun On (Tao) is a police inspector who is hot on their trail.

Tao, So, and Ng were in Malaysia recently for a press conference to promote the series. During the press conference, the show’s producer and screenwriter Gary Tang (who also created File Of Justice and Healing Hands, another popular TVB drama) revealed that he had already conceptualised the drama some 20 years ago, so he was glad he finally got to see his project come to fruition.

Ng explained that The Hiddens is a team of secret agents, sourced with unorthodox means. “I play the leader. Jessica is the boss, who recruits me using blackmail. I got convicted for a crime and she was my ticket out of jail. She gathers the rest of the team in much the same way. Together, we do the dirty work that the ‘good guys’ cannot do,” he said.

However, So clarified that his character had other reasons for joining the squad, and was not persuaded to join because of Wai’s strong-arm tactics. “Yau only agrees to participate due to his admiration for Gong. He is an expert in disguise. Nobody has seen what he actually looks like. So, anybody can act the part,” So said.

While Tao, 53, and Ng, 52, were glad to be still be fit enough to handle the action scenes, So, 48, playfully groused: “Almost 30 years ago, when we were younger and better equipped to tough it out, he (Tang) only made us sit down for court house dramas, or hold a scalpel and play a surgeon. Now, decades later, when we are older, he wants us to do wirework! Just check out the clips where Lawrence and Michael have to fight like Donnie Yen!” So jested.

So, who performed at his Band of Brothers concert in Genting together with Richie Jen, Edmond Leung, and Steve Wong in June this year, added that the others were mainly professional actors while he is a professional singer who is acting in dramas on the side. “Thanks to Astro, I’m here as an actor. Usually, I’m here as a singer!” he mused.

Paired with Hsuan in the drama, Tao commented that he is always running into her in TV dramas. “And, in every one of our collaborations, we always had to do kissing scenes. We’ve kissed each other so many times there is no need for any warming up, nor do we require much communication to develop a mutual understanding of our intimate scenes.”

Filming on location in different countries also introduced variety to the cast. While filming in Hong Kong and Macau, the series also features young actors like Duncan Lai, Felix Lok, Wylie Chiu, and Coffee Lu. The Japanese cast included actresses Naomi Watanabe and Reina Ikehata.

Since Tang is known for his constant last-minute change of script, Tao praised his Malaysian cast members Tan and Onn, who managed to learn their lines quickly.

Hsuan, who was unable to attend the press conference as she was currently filming a Hong Kong drama, still managed to call in to say she was elated to join the cast as the leader of a team of misfits ‘because filming the drama was just like meeting old friends on the set.’

The Hiddens airs on Astro Wah Lai Toi (Ch 311 & HD 310) at 9.30pm every Monday to Friday. The series will also be made available on Astro On The Go and Astro On Demand.