Jack Neo back with CNY movie
After the successes of his Ah Boys To Men, The Lion Men and Long Long Time Ago movies, local film-maker Jack Neo looks set to rule the Chinese New Year box office next year with his new film TAKE 2.
However, this time, he isn't the one directing.
Neo will be co-producing it and writing the screenplay with newbie director Ivan Ho.
TAKE 2 is a comedy which tells the story of four inmates who return to society after completing their prison sentence and are determined to turn over a new leaf.
However, they face a challenging and bumpy ride along the way.
It stars Ryan Lian, Maxi Lim, Wang Lei and Gadrick Chin as the lead quartet.
Neo, 56, told The New Paper at the film commencement ceremony of TAKE 2 on Thursday (June 23): "We had the idea for this film about four years ago. We wanted to show the struggles and challenges that ex-convicts go through after they get out of prison because people are unaware of it."
The budget for the film is $1.3 million and will take slightly more than one month to shoot.
When asked if he feels any pressure to dominate the box office during Chinese New Year again, Neo said: "To be honest, I think this type of film has a very strong 'money power' because during (the festive season), if you do comedy films, people will watch.
"If you compare this film to the (period drama) Long Long Time Ago, it's a very different style, but the comedy element in this film definitely won't lose."
Local actor Lian, 31, last worked with Neo in the Long Long Time Ago series, where he had a supporting role as a gangster.
He told TNP in a separate interview: "I feel more pressure and stress because this time, I'm playing the lead, unlike in Long Long Time Ago, where I didn't have that many scenes.
"I think it's a good thing to feel the pressure because it can be a motivation for me to do better."
For Lian, it is also the first time in his 16 years of acting to be cast in a main role.
Local actor Lim, 29, best known for portraying Wayang King in the Ah Boys To Men movie series, said jokingly: "I wouldn't say this role is very different from the ones I've played before, but the main difference is that I now have hair on my head."
He added: "(I play) a teacher before I go to prison and also after (being released). I used to have a bit of teaching experience in film-making, so I'm going to tap on that to help me for my role."