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[InC-terview] Bryan Wong on his directorial debut in "The Playbook"

By Flora  /  18 Sep 2019 (Wednesday)

Image credit: The Playbook

Local artiste Bryan Wong will screen his special feature film at a one-night-only screening tomorrow, at the Shaw Paya Lebar Quarter. Tickets for the screenings are selling fast, with most of the slots already sold out. This will probably be the only time you’ll be able to catch the extended cut of “The Playbook”, Wong’s directorial debut film featuring Sheila Sim, Ayden Sng, Lina Ng and Roy Lee. Sim and Sng will be interacting with the fans at a meet-and-greet session at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at S$23 and are available via www.shaw.sg. Proceeds will go to the Mediacorp Enable Fund to help people who are differently-abled.

It started out as a Mediacorp initiative, Fresh Takes!, to promote new talent in the local entertainment industry. Along with other stars like Romeo Tan, Joanne Peh, Priscelia Chan, Ian Fang and Shane Pow, Wong’s 46-minute episode screened on Toggle earlier in March. If you enjoyed his romance drama, this 85-minute film will feature a lot more deleted scenes and extended scenes that were shortened to accommodate the TV’s screen time. 

“For a project of this genre, I believe that more reaction time is needed for both the actors and the audience watching because you need enough pauses and silences in between in order for the message to sink in,” said Wong, in an interview with InCinemas.

The Playbook tells the story about Yuyan (Sim) who is stricken with cancer and has 30 days to live. To fulfil her only item on her bucket list - to fall in love -, her best friends created a ‘playbook’ where she will recreate various scenes from familiar romance movies with her leading man, Yu Heng (Sng). 

Image credit: The Playbook

When asked about his inspiration for the story, Wong shared that being ‘quite a melodramatic person’ helped him in his storytelling. “I do enjoy sad stories and there are more than once that I imagined myself left with limited number of days in my life and what will happen”

He added: “I am quite old school - I adore ‘Ghost’, I love “Pretty Woman” and “Notting Hill”, and definitely “La La Land”. These movies are at my fingertips and of course, there are other iconic scenes that we wanted to do but we had to limit ourselves due to the time duration.”

Having a background in acting and hosting sure helped Wong in his directing and writing abilities. “My approach (to directing) is through the eyes of an actor, so I’m not as hard-handed because I understand that to a certain degree, all the actors do need a bit of space to have their own creations thrown in… Frankly, I guess I am lucky to have this awesome group of cast and production people because we are all on the same page and we are very much together - that is trying to create something so different and endearing.”

Image credit: The Playbook

It is safe to say that Wong caught the directing-writing bug. He is working on some personal stories and shared that “writing and directing is definitely in the pipeline in the near future”. Although there is nothing concrete at this point, he knows that the films he would like to tell are stories that are ‘uncommon’. “I think there must be a certain level of something that you don’t get to see that often or something that you’ve heard but find it kind of unbelievable… That is why we watch some films isn’t it, to escape our daily routine life or stories that are common to be in the world where you find yourself somewhere not common.”

“Hey this might be my calling after all,” said director Wong.
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