Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Rabu, Februari 11, 2009

#96. Berita Filem : Between love and hate

09hb Februari, 2009
The New Straits Time
By : Chew Wan Ying

Lee (left) and Wong in a scene from The Wedding Game.

Lovebirds Fann Wong and Christopher Lee, who play celebrities turned enemies in The Wedding Game, tell CHEW WAN YING about the about-turn in their relationship.THE Wedding Game, starring real life lovebirds Fann Wong and Christopher Lee, is the latest work by Ekachai Uekrongtham, who first shot to fame with the moving Beautiful Boxer.

“I’ve wanted to make a movie on weddings as I’m intrigued by the idea of how a private affair like a wedding is turned into a public event in Asia,” said Ekachai.

“The idea of a celebrity couple adds dimension to the story. Celebrities are even more interesting because their relationships are far more public.

“Even though it's a comedy, at the core of The Wedding Game is a conflict between the public and the private, and between truth and lies. Love requires honesty and truth, but these are not valued in the glossy world of the media.”
If the idea of depicting a celebrity couple who hate one other is smart, the genius comes in casting real life partners Wong and Lee in the lead roles.

The pair, who have known one other for 13 years, have collaborated in numerous Singapore based MediaCorp serials, including Brave New World, Looking for Stars and Return of the Condor Heroes.

Despite that, The Wedding Game was a challenge.

“In the film, we hate one other but we are not like that in real life. That’s why half of the time the director had to remind us to act as if we hated one other,” said Wong with a laugh.

But once Wong and Lee got into character, they went on to expand their roles and even choreographed their own wrestling moves for one of the scenes.

No prizes for guessing who usually wins a fight in real life. Wong’s hand immediately shot through the air when the question was raised, with Lee gazing at her lovingly, saying, “I sayang her mah.”

Their upcoming wedding in September is the talk of the town.

Lee recalled how he popped the question.

“I planned with her family to give her a surprise, but I had to keep track of her schedule because she’s so busy! The date of proposing was pushed from Christmas to Chinese New Year, then to Valentine’s Day and eventually, to her birthday.

“The wedding date is not confirmed. In some ways, The Wedding Game is like our wedding present. Maybe we’ll make The Marriage Game instead,” said Wong.

Meanwhile, supporting cast Alice Lau and Charles “Blackie” Chen brought much fun and colour to the set.

On the last day of shooting, Chen’s farewell present for co-star Lau came in the form of a trick.

“We were shooting a scene in the jacuzzi. I was holding my breath under the water, waiting for the director to yell ‘Cut’. Blackie kept on pressing my head. Actually, the camera had stopped rolling!” recalled Lau.

In The Wedding Game, Lau and Chen play publicists for the celebrities.

Chen said: “When Ekachai first offered me the role, I had Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire in mind and thought that was cool. But I soon realised that there's more than meets the eye: it turned out to be a gay character!

“The director wanted me to be subtle about it. There were intimate scenes with Fann. Chris was watching from theside. I was worried that he might start chucking things at me.”

Shooting a movie can be exhausting — even if it’s a comedy — but Ekachai was the life and soul, lifting up everyone’s mood with his loud laughter and infectious charm.

“He’s always the first one to laugh at anything. And because the cast and crew were from Asia, it’s interesting to see how they were communicating in different languages, such as Thai, Mandarin, English, Cantonese and even Singlish, on the set!” said Lau.

In his cap, T-shirt and jeans, Ekachai looks more like a schoolboy than a critically acclaimed director in his 40s.

While his last work, The Coffin is about death, The Wedding Game is about family.

“When you decide to marry someone and make a promise of starting a family together, it’s a big deal.

“Funny moments aside, the movie is about the family you are born into and the one you are going to start.”

In Ekachai’s words, The Wedding Game is “a tribute to what family can do for you” and this is true in the director’s case.

“My family has always been my safety net. I can go out and realise all my crazy dreams and be adventurous because I know that my family will always be behind me.”

Ekacha is indeed daring when it comes to filmmaking. After winning acclaim for Beautiful Boxer, he has dabbled in different genres: indie arty film (Pleasure Factory), horror (The Coffin) and now, comedy.

“It’s a refreshing experience each time. Making a film is like cooking. The tools are the same, it’s the ingredients that are different each time.”

So what’s next for the director who now shuttles between Bangkok and Singapore?

“I would like to make a good thriller. Computer graphics are advanced these days. I’m interested in doing something with fantastical or supernatural elements, something such as Constantine.”

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