Jack Neo’s latest Chinese New Year blockbuster
Ah Long Pte Ltd may be up against CJ7 and Kung Fu Dunk
(starring Stephen Chow and Jay Chou respectively), but
local actor-comedian-host Mark Lee is not in the least
bit worried about the competition.
two Chou’s cannot beat one Lee,” he proclaims
proudly in Mandarin during an interview at AMK Hub recently.
The 39-year-old funnyman plays an effeminate dance instructor
and image stylist in Neo’s latest work.
in a bright pink T-shirt, Lee tells us why Singaporeans
will flock to cinemas to watch this movie: “Stephen
Chow’s movie is often out of this world, and Jay
Chou’s movie is meant for the younger audience.
On the other hand, Jack Neo’s movies are for everyone
from 8 to 65.”
greatest takeaway of Neo’s last hit Just Follow
Law has to be its Best Actor nomination at the prestigious
Golden Horse Awards. This brought another local funnyman
Gurmit Singh into Taiwan’s media limelight. Does
Lee hope to strike gold with his starring role in his
latest big screen outing?
I think it’s quite difficult because both our
characters are men being ladylike, so the judges may
not think it’s anything new.’
if they decide to nominate me, then I can say that they
are being very fair and square,” Lee jokingly
co-star in the movie is none other than the luminous
Fann Wong, who also starred in Neo’s last movie.
She is also the “wife” belonging to Lee
at last year’s Star Awards organized by Mediacorp
TV. When Wong enters the interview room, Lee cheekily
teases us: “See, once the star comes in, you all
don’t want to interview me anymore!”
apologize for the slight distraction because it is difficult
not to take notice of the 37-year-old actress, who is
dressed in a stunning red dress for the interview. She
shoots a feigned angry look at her on-screen husband
before taking her seat.
asked whether she’d be playing husband and wife
with the other Mr. Lee (Christopher, her boyfriend in
real life), Wong assures us that it won’t be happening
kind of difficult because we know each other too well,”
she says coyly in Mandarin.
it’s very hard to find time too,” she laughs
playing a man trapped in a woman’s body in her
last movie, Wong plays a girl who tries to restructure
her loan shark triad to one that does not resort to
violence. She does not feel that these are similar roles.
a female through and through in this movie. Other than
the action sequences which I need to fight, I still
get to be feminine when it comes to the lovey dovey
the experienced actress, acting in a movie is also not
a similar experience as compared to acting in a TV drama,
because there is a need to flesh out a movie character
in two hours as compared to a TV drama’s 30 episodes.
a different kind of satisfaction and a different kind
of difficulty,” adds the pretty actress.
cast member Richard Low agrees on this, and feels that
although there are tiring and hectic schedules to be
followed when shooting a movie, there are its perks
too. In this case, Low had his ultimate wish come true
– to have Wong swallow his spit.
know there are other actors out there who are wishing
that Fann will swallow their spits, but you heard it
here first – I had this privilege in this movie,”
chuckles the well-mannered veteran actor wittily in
Mandarin. Coincidentally, he is also dressed in an auspicious
red shirt for this interview.
55-year-old is no stranger to Neo’s movie. You
may remember him as the loud father in I Not Stupid
(2002) and the indecisive husband in The Best Bet (2004).
In his latest collaboration with Neo, Low plays a retiring
triad leader, and it has definitely not been an easy
filming this movie.
recalls the scene where his character is tortured: “You
have to see it to believe it – This is be the
most difficult scene for me in this movie.
when you are working with Jack, don’t you let
him find out you are only giving him 99 per cent. He
will ask you for that extra one per cent.”
Neo strongly believes this philosophy of getting the
best out of his cast. In fluent Mandarin, the 47-year-old
filmmaker tells us: “In this way, I can be sure
that audiences get the best movie I can make.”
tackling social issues like education and family, Neo
takes on the controversial subject matter of loan sharks
in Singapore. He feels that most people have the perception
that loan sharks are “heartless and evil”,
but after doing research in this field, he has found
out that there are “kind and caring” loan
sharks as well.
half a year of scriptwriting, 35 days of shoots and
a few tweaks to the original plot during post production,
the movie is ready to take on the Chinese New Year blockbuster
season. He is confident that Singaporeans will be entertained
by his latest movie.
can guarantee that you’d get your money’s
worth after walking out of the cinema.”
Long Pte Ltd opens 7 February 2008
& Trailer of Ah Long Pte Ltd can be found here