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Sat, Jan 24, 2009
The New Paper
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Hey isn't that...
by Germaine Lim

EXTRAS usually receive little, if any, attention. Most of the time, an actor would count himself lucky that his minor role is even credited.

But not these 'actors' in The Wedding Game.

Definitely not when they include local personalities like Team Singapore athletes and showbiz veteran Man Shu Sum.

No, the sportsmen are not making the crossover to acting.

And no, Mr Man, 56, is not ditching his day job as chief executive of Mark Burnett Productions Asia.

(The production company brought us programmes such as reality series The Apprentice and Survivor, and game show Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?)

They are part of the stellar cameo cast of The Wedding Game which opens in cinemas on Sunday.

Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham and starring real-life couple Christopher Lee and Fann Wong, the film centres on actors Jack Fang (Christopher) and Vikki Tse (Fann) who orchestrate a faux engagement to boost their careers.

The Wedding Game also features Taiwanese host Hei Ren and Hong Kong veteran actress Alice Lau.

How did national sportsmen and an industry veteran, who were given a token sum for their participation, get 'embroiled' in a staged nuptial?

Mr Lim Teck, COO of production company Scorpio East Pictures which conceptualised the movie, says these personalities add oomph to the movie.

He said: 'Such a big cast is not typical of a movie but since it is opening during the Chinese New Year period, we wanted to make it fun and create a rowdy atmosphere by having more people.

'The movie also introduces different media personalities from the industry which made it more interesting. We were lucky that everyone we approached was keen on it.'

Maybe ex-table tennis champion Jing Junhong has a second opinion. She joked: 'I had no choice! I was roped in at the last minute.

'Deadlines were pressing and since other sportsmen were away at the time of filming, I became the substitute.'

The Wedding Game marks Singapore Sports Council and production company Raintree Pictures' first silver screen collaboration.

This is also the first time Team Singapore athletes are featured in a movie.

Junhong, 41, said: 'I told them, 'I'm so old. You're better off finding the younger ones'.'

In The Wedding Game, Junhong, who plays herself congratulates Jack on his impending matrimony when they bump into each other during a morning jog at Queenstown Stadium.

Junhong's only other 'acting experience' is an Olympics promotional advertisement with table tennis champion Li Jiawei in 2000.


Of her acting debut, Junhong, who now works with the Singapore Sports Council, said: 'Christopher just told me to relax and act natural.

'We had to do a few re-takes because either I was speaking too fast and finished my lines before my destination, or I was speaking too slowly and couldn't finish my lines before the destination.

'Other times, there were distractions like a passing motorcycle and passers-by.

'The director also reduced my lines because of the short running distance. Maybe the original lines would seem unnatural for a first-timer like me to say.'

Besides Junhong, swimming ace Tao Li also stars in the movie.

The 19-year-old thought someone was playing a prank on her when she was first offered the cameo role.

She said: 'One of the producers SMSed me when I was at the Fina/Arena World Cup in Berlin last November. I don't know how he got my number. I actually thought my friends were playing a prank on me.

'I've always wanted to experience acting and see if I have the chops for it. I think I did okay.'

She plays a reporter who interviews Jack and Vikki at a press conference. It sounds like familiar territory since she is frequently interviewed by the press.

She said: 'Now I have 'first-hand experience' at interviewing someone. The process can be tiring. I think the ideal role for me would be that of a swimming coach.'She was also asked to take on a second cameo role as a film assistant who applies sun-tanning oil on Jack.

She rejected it. She said: 'I don't think I'll do something like (applying sun-tanning oil for someone) in real life - it's unlike me.

'Besides it's the first time I'm appearing in a movie so I thought accepting that sort of role wouldn't be a good choice.'

But she won't be ditching the pool for the big screen. She feels that 'acting is very tiring'.

'For sportsmen, it's just a few hours of intense training. But actors have to be on the set very early in the morning. They may wrap up very late at night. And they still have arrive for work early the next morning.

'Fann was surprised to hear that we train for six hours. But I told her actors work even longer hours.'

Another person who was 'forced' into accepting his cameo role is Mr Man. Like Junhong, he admitted he had 'no choice' but to accept it.

He said it was Mr Lim, who also appears in the film, who made the offer.

'When Lim Teck called me, he made me agree to it and I didn't know what 'it' was. Ekachai is also a good friend, so I couldn't reject him.'

But Mr Man had two conditions: One, that he has 'no lines' and two, that Mr Lim would appear in the scene with him.

He got his wish. In the end, both men play coffee shop patrons who witness Jack's televised proposal.

Mr Lim joked: 'I sacrificed and disguised myself. I had white streaks in my hair so no one would recognise me.'

While this is Mr Lim's acting debut, Mr Man is an old hand at this. He played a 'friendly ghost' in Channel U drama Zero (2004).

Other cameos in The Wedding Game include Malaysian comedian Saiful Apek, as well as YES 933 radio DJ Lin Peifen.

Saiful plays Vikki's neighbour in Malacca and Peifen is an awards show presenter.

While Saiful, 40, has made a name for himself playing superhero Cicakman in the hit Malaysian movie, Peifen finds it strange being a face instead of just a voice.

She said: 'I think I'm going to cringe when I watch myself in the movie. Every flaw is magnified on the big screen.'

So will we see more of these silver screen debutantes?

Junhong joked: 'If I have no choice, I'll do it. But if I can avoid, I will.'

Mr Man said: 'I still stick by my stand: no lines. It's challenging to deliver lines and express emotions at the same time.

'If I really have to speak in a movie, one line is the furthest I'll go.'

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 22, 2009.

readers' comments
In future contact me to act as I don't mind.I'm a S'porean handsome(serious,many pple said so) male.
Posted by cheersall888 on Mon, 26 Jan 2009 at 01:53 AM

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