Jack Neo and Mark Lee reunite for new film Long Long Time Ago

Mark Lee will be starring in Jack Neo’s new film and commented that acting in his films is like acting in a thriller – you never know what to expect

Jack Neo and Mark Lee reunite after four years

Photos: Teo Sijia

Videos: Tay Yixuan

Last Friday (May 29), local film actor-director Jack Neo announced the main cast of an SG50 themed kampung film Long Long Time Ago about the post-independence life of Chinese kampong dwellers from the 60s and 70s.

The 55-year-old director cracked a joke before the announcement: “As this is an SG50 film to remember our post-independence life, I have invited people from that generation to act in this movie! (laughs)”

Veteran actress Aileen Tan, 48, getai entertainer Wang Lei, 53, and comedian Mark Lee, 46, form the main cast of the film.

The movie will portray kampong life to modern life, weaving in big historical events such as the 1969 racial riots and flood.

The film is slated to begin filming in July and will not only be shot in Singapore but also in Ipoh, Malaysia. The production cost of the movie is almost SGD$5 million, Jack’s most costly film to date.

In Long Long Time Ago, Aileen plays Zhao Di, the unwanted second wife of an older man who is forced to return to her own family. Her father (played by Wang Lei), under the advice of a match-maker, married her off to a coffee shop owner Xiao Qie, but after his unfortunate death, she was chased out the door with five young children to look after.

The actress revealed that she has made a lot of sacrifices for her role in the film, but wishes to keep the details a secret for now: “To sum it up, this will definitely be a breakthrough performance for me.”

As most of the film’s dialogue is in Hokkien dialect, alongside Malay, Mandarin and English, this has posed a challenge for Aileen yet again. The first time she needed to speak Hokkien for a role was playing Lobang’s drug addict of a mother in the recent Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen.

At the press conference, she revealed that her Hokkien probably sounded so broken that a lot of people misunderstood that she was from Guangdong, when she’s actually a Hokkien. Apart from Hokkien, the actress also had to pick up Malay. “It’s a big challenge, because I had to learn from scratch but thankfully I have a very good teacher,” said Aileen in an interview with Toggle.

Click on to the next page to read more and watch the interview.

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