January 2009, 11.00 am at Swissotel The Stamford
Read Ekachai Uekrongtham’s filmography and you wouldn’t figure him as the director behind a mainstream commercial 'he sui pian' like The Wedding Game. But it appears that this gamble has paid off handsomely for him.
Indeed, the boyish-looking director had an equally, if not more, enjoyable time working on this movie as he did with his previous ones- The Coffin, Pleasure Factory or Beautiful Boxer.
"It was a very happy experience working on the film," he said. "Usually when you’re editing the film, you have to see it again and again. Like for The Coffin, I would be seeing Karen Mok looking scared repeatedly. But for The Wedding Game, I was very happy just watching the film over and over."
His sentiments were shared by Hong Kong actress Alice Lau, who plays the manager of Christopher Lee’s character in the movie. This is her first time acting in a local film, and from her maiden experience, it is not likely to be her last.
"Actually it has been about eight years since I last starred in a movie," said the actress known more for her stage performances. "But when I was offered this part, I took it up immediately. It was really a very wonderful experience acting with an extremely talented regional cast, including Blackie from Taiwan and of course, Fann and Chris from Singapore."
According to Ekachai, the idea for the film actually came from Lim Teck (chief operating officer of Scorpio East) who wanted to do a 'wedding movie', and in fact the two of them had been mulling over it for about two years.
"He (Lim Teck) thought that it would be interesting, because although a wedding is supposed to be something between two people, in our Asian context and in our Chinese culture it just happens to become very public."
It was only after they started to think about casting that Ekachai thought of Fann Wong and Christopher Lee and also making the couple at the centre of the marriage a celebrity couple.
Of course, getting the real-life couple to star in this movie clearly had its perks.
"I wanted the film to be less slapstick than physical comedy so there were many parts in the movie that required the characters to be very physical with each other," said Ekachai. "The fact that both Fann and Chris were very comfortable with each other only made it much easier, especially during a wrestling scene in the film which can be very dangerous if it isn’t done properly."
Not only that, shooting the movie also became a breeze for Ekachai. "In fact this is a movie where we actually did so few takes," he said. "Sometimes after just one take we already had it right, but we would do another just in case."
Besides their professionalism, Ekachai also came off the movie clearly moved by the couple’s love for each other. "One of the things that I remember was when we were on the bus to Malacca and Fann was sleeping. Chris took out his camera and started pictures of her. It’s almost like one of those Love Actually moments," he gushed.
Like most of his previous movies, Ekachai hopes that audiences will be able to take home a message from watching The Wedding Game. In addition to the importance of love for a couple, Ekachai hopes that viewers will also realise the significance of love within a family, After all, as he said, marriage is all about starting a new family.
"In good times and in bad, it’s always very lucky to have a family that loves you and that you love. That will always help us go through any obstacles. And I think that is what this film is ultimately about."
links below for more:
with stars Fann Wong and Christopher Lee
Wedding Game" opens on 25 January and is reviewed