For Chen Tianwen, it's now Mr Unbelievable the movie
Will online success of Chen Tianwen's Unbelievable music video put bums on cinema seats for big-screen spin-off?
Can 3.2 million views on YouTube and Facebook translate into box-office success?
Local actor Chen Tianwen, who plays the titular protagonist in upcoming Mandarin comedy Mr Unbelievable, a spin-off of his viral music video Unbelievable, is certainly banking on that.
The 52-year-old is also feeling the heat of playing the lead in a movie for the first time.
Speaking to The New Paper at a media conference for the film yesterday, he said in Mandarin: "Of course I feel the pressure when it comes to box-office takings. The music video did so well online, it's natural to hope for the movie to do well."
He added: "I looked at the script, it's quite exciting. The actors are all veterans too, so I am not too worried or scared. I will let nature take its course."
In April, Chen got Singaporeans "stunned like vegetable" when he sang and starred in the MV, which featured him dressed in a retro 70s outfit complete with a wig and singing catchy but nonsensical lyrics.
It was produced for the Channel 5 sitcom Spouse For House 2, in which Chen plays Ah Beng supporting character Eric Kwek.
The director of Mr Unbelievable, Mr Ong Kuo Sin, who also helmed Spouse For House, had discussed making the movie with Chen after the MV went viral.
In Mr Unbelievable, which cost around $1 million and will be released on Dec 3, Chen's character goes by the same name but is slightly different. Eric Kwek is an 80s singer who incorporates English words into his Hokkien songs. And yes, he'll be belting out Unbelievable and its follow-up Sandcastle In My Heart.
He receives vocal lessons from his master (Marcus Chin) and has a girlfriend (Liu Ling Ling) who sells beer for a living.
Besides getai veterans Liu and Chin, FLY Entertainment artiste Jaime Teo and popular Ah Boys To Men actor Tosh Zhang also star in the film.
Chen, who has been in showbiz for three decades, is milking the second wind in his career - five months after Unbelievable's release.
His last movie was Jack Neo's The Lion Men (2014) and he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards for his role as a disgruntled husband in the award-winning local film Ilo Ilo (2013).
As his popularity soared, Chen has also been hired for getai performances recently, where he performs his signature hit on stage.
Looking back on his unbelievable year, he said: "I am very lucky and blessed to be able to play the leading man in a movie but I try to look at all this normally with not much expectations."
Filming for Mr Unbelievable started on Monday.
In his first scene, Chen had to cry by the beach, something he said was a "tall order".
"It was 7am in the morning and the director said, 'Cry!' I was like, 'How do I cry so early in the morning'?" Chen said with a laugh.
SAD LOVE SONG
"So I listened to the sad Chinese love song (Waiting For You Till My Heart Aches) for a few minutes and cried within one take."
Chen also said that there are some songwriters who are keen to pen a few tracks for him. He does not rule out the idea of releasing an album but thinks that it may not happen.
The pragmatic veteran said matter-of-factly: "If a label wants to sign me, it will be great. However, these days, no one buys albums anymore, everyone just downloads songs."
Chen, who welcomed his son Genghis with his China-born wife Bao Xiao Hui, 30, in June, said that Genghis might appear in Mr Unbelievable as the infant version of his character - together with a special appearance by the famous vegetable referenced in the song.
The first-time dad added: "The scene will be of an abandoned baby in a basket by the road, with a piece of broccoli next to him. You will get to see my son in that scene as my mini-me."
Jaime learns to sing in Hokkien
It was a huge challenge for former beauty queen Jaime Teo, to sing Hokkien songs for her role in Mr Unbelievable.
The affable 38-year-old local actress (above) plays the ex-girlfriend of Eric Kwek (Chen Tianwen) and the daughter of Kwek's master (Marcus Chin).
She told TNP: "I don't speak any dialects so it was very difficult to sing and speak in Hokkien. I'm learning how to sing from watching videos on YouTube."
She added: "These days, I go to sleep with Hokkien songs in my mind."
Teo, winner of Miss Singapore Universe 2001 and owner of local cake chain Twelve Cupcakes, has not acted in six years.
She last worked with Mr Unbelievable director Ong Kuo Sin on her 2009 Channel 8 drama Mr & Mrs Kok.
She said: "He follows me on Instagram and saw that I can sing, which I think is why he cast me. I am comfortable with him and he is nice to work with, so I took on the role."
Teo, who has a five-year-old daughter Renee with ex-radio DJ Daniel Ong, 40, said her husband is supportive of her returning to acting.
She added: "Daniel said in jest, 'Got hold hands or not? Why your skirt so short?' He supports me and even helped me practise Hokkien at home."
On whether she plans to have a second child, she said: "Raising a kid is very tough. It requires a lot of energy, especially in the first few years. I finally had some time to myself in the last two years, so there are no plans yet."