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Exploring 3 Years of Dick Lee’s Life Story through ‘Wonder Boy’.

By Flora  /  02 Aug 2017 (Wednesday)

Photo Courtesy of: mm2 Entertainment

In the semi-autobiographical film, Singapore’s illustrious singer-songwriter Dick Lee tells a no holds barred life story of his pubescent years as a rebellious teenager with a big dream. 

“I was quite rebellious,” said Lee yesterday in an interview at 2mm Talent Hub. 

“This is only about 3 years of my life, there is actually a lot more things that happened after that which would take another 10 hours,” Lee laughed. “When Melvin came to me to do this movie, he wanted me to do the film of my whole life but it was just too much. So I proposed it to be how it all began… basically the years between the 1960s to 1980s.”

His teenage years was truly a colourful one, with elements of drugs, sex, and bullying present in the 96-minute feature. It is understandable that Lee holds this film close to his heart, but when it came to authenticity, Lee hopes to portray as much of his life in the film.

“Most of what I went through is in the movie. The only that I would say was that there were lots more characters and people that made up that story that I had to condense. So certain things and certain incidents were rolled into one… it was a condensed version of what I went through.”

He added: “I was a rebel in my own way and I’ve learned from that. If I don’t show that, you don’t see the journey. I had to be bad to learn to be good.”

Directing Journey 

Lee has directed stage plays, but ‘Wonder Boy’ will mark his film directorial debut - and his cast and co-director only had praises for the ‘Fried Rice Paradise’-singer.

“In all honesty, I really like Dick’s directing style. He is so detailed in his work,” said Constance Song, who plays Dick Lee’s mother in the movie. “There’s a lot to uphold, so after each take, I will take a peek to see Dick’s reaction.”

Apart from script-readings and rehearsals, Dick arranged individual sessions with the actors to go through characterizations with them. He would even share stories about his family and his life to help them with their character work. 

“Especially for us as new actors, going on to a movie set for the first time can be very intimidating. I remember there was one time where he actually pulled me to the side and showed me an old picture of his sister,” said Michelle Wong who plays Dick Lee’s sister in ‘Wonder Boy’. “I had some trouble in the beginning and asked a lot of questions, but Dick was always very encouraging about the whole experience.”

An early birthday celebration for Dick Lee and Benjamin Kheng!
Photo Courtesy of: mm2 Entertainment

Follow your Dream

Wonder Boy ultimately urges people to chase their dreams. For lead actor Benjamin Kheng who plays the Dick, his advice is to ‘accept failure and rejections. You have to love the good and bad parts of it.”

“You can’t just be an artist nowadays, you have to be an entrepreneur, you have to be crafty, you know how to sell yourself and it becomes a numbers game. It sorts of detracts away from the actual craft of things and I had this journey before where I questioned my own intentions of why I’m doing it, whether I’m doing it for the right reasons, whether I’m doing art or achieve something else,” recalled Kheng, a band member for The Sam Willows. 

“And I think if you want to start something along this line, you have to love it; you have to love the good and bad parts of it and love the process.”


Wonder Boy also stars Julie Tan, Ryan Ang, Zachary Ibrahim, Chen Yi Xi and Foo Fang Rong, and opensInCinemas 3 August 2017.
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