while everyone knew that Men in White will be about
five dead men who go about trying to scare Singaporeans
silly, everyone wanted to know who played what. Shaun
Chen, the most recognizable face of the lot, explained
that his character had a shy personality and what piqued
everyone’s interest was that the character would
be a magician. However, when asked to elaborate, he
stopped short saying that he believes in Kelvin Tong’s
work and will do as he is told.
opposite Shaun is Miss Singapore Universe 2005 runner-up,
Ling Lee, who is fast becoming a rising star on our
television screens. While she is the token love interest,
she also explains that Shaun’s character only
gets to see her back most of the time. Vague? Precisely.
At press time, how the characters learn to fall for
each other is pretty suspect. Xavier Teo rounds off
the cast as a hip-hopper and David Aw as a young director
who also happens to be the only man alive in the film.
for more, Kelvin Tong explained his casting choice as
a move that would appeal to a younger audience. Having
chosen a cast that is younger and more relevant, he
hopes to cater to a wider audience of local film-lovers.
Kelvin also mentioned that with a lack of support for
the arts in general in Singapore as compared to business
or money, there is a disregard for people who believe
in their own craft. Defensive? Not quite. The filmmaker
believes in making his own brand of films, his own stories
to tell, no matter how silly they may seem. A characteristic
a filmmaker in Singapore should possess with the influx
of local films being produced.
movieXclusive.com quizzed the team about the expectations,
Xavier Teo cited that despite this being the first time
most of them were appearing on the silver screen, he
saw it more of a privilege in getting a chance to work
with Kelvin and on a movie too. Kelvin applauded him
and added that it is good to be young, alive and working
with such good company and that pressure was the last
thing on his mind.
asked if Mike Leigh (who wrote and directed Vera Drake
without informing the cast about what the film was actually
about until the end) served as an inspiration to Kelvin’s
choice of filmmaking style on Men in White, Kelvin explained
that it was not the first time he is adopting the method
of “culturing” actors. Previously, on Eating
Air, he had worked with non-actors and he knew that
giving them a complete script would result in a lot
of memorizing and staring at lines instead of really
getting under the skin of the characters. He also stated
matter-of-factly that the end product should not be
exactly as he had dreamt it up. It should be the product
of the actors’ contribution and development.