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Jack Neo Unveils Cast of New SG50 Film 'Long Long Time Ago'.

By InCinemas  /  01 Jun 2015 (Monday)

Actress Aileen Tan, comedy king Mark Lee and getai veteran Wang Lei will star in Jack Neo’s new kampong movie ‘Long Long Time Ago’, set to release during next year’s Chinese New Year.

Tan plays the lead character Zhao Di who is forced to return home to her own patriarchal and conservative family after the demise of her husband. Lee will play Zhao Di’s egoistic younger brother while Wang will play their traditional-thinking father who favours boys over girls.

“Previously when I asked her to act Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen, she didn’t hesitate and agreed immediately. I like actors who are not calculative on the amount of screen time they have. Moreover, she is a very professional actress,” said Neo at the press conference last Friday. “When I was writing the script, the lead character has to be very fluent in Hokkien. Aileen’s Hokkien feels very natural and pleasant.”

Tan, who played Lobang King’s (Wang Weiliang) mother in the army movie, shared that she didn’t expect to star in ‘Long Long Time Ago’. “It is fate that I am able to act in Jack’s films. I really didn’t think he (Neo) would to ask me to star in this film, what more to act as the lead.

The Hokkien dialect will make up bulk of the film, in addition to other languages such as Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. With the combination of all, Neo feels that it will turn out ‘balanced’, and will not exceed the language restriction guidelines. “I understand that this is going to be a challenge for me,” he said, adding: “For now, I can’t put a number as to how much of Hokkien will be used, but I will always keep that in mind when filming.”


Having grown up in Kampong Chai Chee in his younger days, Neo revealed that he reminisces those days a lot, especially during his research process when coming up with the script. “I realised I really missed the happy days in Kampong… it’s pretty much impossible to go back to those days now.”

The film, which has a projected budget of $4 to $5 million is set to begin shoot in July for over a three-month period in Singapore and Ipoh. Touching on issues during the 1960s - 1970s of Singapore such as shifting of homes to HDBs; the kampong spirit; gender imbalance amongst others, Neo hopes to ‘bring out the kampong spirit’ and ‘showcase how Singapore was like in the past’ through this film.

“I’ve shot 24 films throughout these years but I only filmed one period film - and that is Home Run. Even for that film, the focus was on the kids. For all these years, a proper kampong film has never been made.”

The director of the famed ‘Ah Boys To Men’ series mentioned that a few of his key cast members will be making a cameo appearance as well!

Jack Neo wants your Photos!

If you have a photo showcasing snippets of your family’s kampong life, Jack Neo wants to feature them in ‘Long Long Time Ago’! Email them to kampongday@gmail.com.
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