Peter Davis. One and a half years ago, the good
looking 27 year old was spotted by filmmaker Yeo
Joon Han in a Kuala Lumpur carpark and now, he’s
the leading man of a feature film. And to make
things a little more interesting, he gets to show
off his vocals in this musical movie.
can’t sing for s***,” laughs the charismatic
actor during an interview with movieXclusive.com.
Davis and Yeo were in Singapore to promote the
film Sell Out!, which is competing in the Asian
Feature Film Competition of the 22nd Singapore
International Film Festival’s Silver Screen
son of an English father and a Malaysian mother,
Davis tells us that he
began his career in the finance industry, and
no thanks to the recession, he took up some modelling
jobs and while sourcing for a cheap car in Kuala
Lumpur that fateful day in 2007, he was approached
by Yeo, who wanted to cast him as the hero in
his debut feature.
I’ve always wanted to be a Hong Kong action
movie star,” he sighs cheekily.
his strong Southern English accent, he says: “I’ve
never thought that I would hear myself sing. It
took a lot of effort, and now I can happily say
that there’s another I can tick off on the
list of things I want to do in life.”
nine year old Yeo is a lucky man too. He was a
lawyer turned copywriter who gave up his well
paying job ten years ago to become a fulltime
it a wrong move? Not exactly, because the chatty
filmmaker who hails from Seremban went on to make
his first short film Adults Only in 2001. It was
produced on 35mm format and shortlisted for the
63rd Venice Film Festival, making Yeo the first
every Malaysian director to compete in the festival
and receiving a Special Mention for it.
next was this feature film funded by Astro Shaw,
a leading Malaysian film production company. And
it is through working with this media conglomerate
company that Yeo realised that he is indeed a
first, I thought that I had to play it safe since
it’s such a heavy investment from Astro
Shaw. To my surprise, they told me to keep pushing
the envelopes and let the censorship folks do
I didn’t face any problems from the censorship
board,” Yeo says proudly.
initial concerns are valid, considering that the
film deals with Malaysia’s capitalistic
aspects and exaggerates them to ridiculous proportions.
The musical approach pokes fun at the evils of
capitalism and the pretensions of art, which makes
this parody engagingly enjoyable for audiences.
In fact, the film has gotten quite a bit of international
attention, having travelled to over 15 film festivals
like Pusan International Film Festival and Vancouver
International Film Festival. To add to the accolades,
it also clinched the NETPAC Award at Taipei’s
Golden Horse Film Festival in 2008 and the Young
Cinema Award for Alternative Vision at the Venice
continues to tell us how he felt when he had to
find the balance between personal artistic satisfaction
and business commercial concerns while making
always this struggle for me. What’s pretentious?
the result is a hilarious opening scene where
the female protagonist, a self absorbed TV host
(played by Malaysian theatre actress Jerrica Lai)
interviews a self absorbed filmmaker by the name
of, surprise, surprise, Yeo Joon Han.
chuckles while describing that memorable scene:
“I think it’s important to entertain
people in this day and age. I enjoy hearing the
sound of laughter.
there is so much suffering around us, why don’t
we have a few more happy faces to perk things
By John Li