Reunion Dinner's Mark Lee says he is 'too old to do slapstick'
In the Chinese New Year drama-comedy Reunion Dinner, a man is forced to choose between his career and a secret pain that has separated him from his mother for years. It is a secret that he has hidden from everyone, including his fiancee.
Buried childhood trauma is an unexpectedly heavy theme for a holiday movie, but actor Mark Lee would not have it any other way.
"I wanted a project that was a comedy, but also warm and meaningful. I think audiences are changing too. They don't want slapstick movies for Chinese New Year," says Lee, 53.
"I'm too old to do slapstick anyway," he adds, speaking to The Straits Times at a press event on Jan 18 at Marina Bay Sands.
Reunion Dinner opens in Singapore on Jan 20.
Li Chao Yang (played by Beijing-based Singaporean actor Lawrence Wong) is a successful advertising agency creative director who becomes distraught when a client forces him to involve his real family, including his parents, in a Chinese New Year reunion dinner product campaign.
Instead of dealing with his issues, Li opts to spin a web of lies to protect the enviable social status he has struggled to achieve.
He ropes in his friend and father figure, freelance actor Wei (Mark Lee), to help maintain his facade. Li's scheme allows him to keep his mother Yan Ling (Singaporean actress Xiang Yun) out of his life.
His girlfriend Liu Zi Hong (Chinese actress Cya Liu), unaware of his deception, invites her father Lan Ting (China-born, Singapore actor Guo Liang) to fly from China to Singapore for the dinner, complicating her fiance's plans.
Reunion Dinner, jointly produced by Chinese media company iQiyi and Singapore's Clover Films, is tentatively scheduled for release in China on the iQiyi service on Jan 27.