Fake tears, forced anguish and knotted nerves marked the auditions for Jack Neo’s new movie I Not Naughty.
Contributed By Amanda Jayne Lee
Local film director Jack Neo is on the hunt for the stars of his next movie. Over the last weekend on May 14 and 15, he held auditions in the hopes of finding suitable actors and actresses for his new movie, I Not Naughty, at Suntec Singapore. The pre-public auditions were open to City Harvest Church members and publicized on his blog as well.
There was no shortage of interested parties, as the meeting rooms on level two of Suntec Singapore quickly filled up with teenagers, children and young adults—all between the ages 10 and 20—as they waited to showcase their acting talents.
I Not Naughty is about importance of understanding between parents and their children. “We don’t realize that a lot of the things that we do as adults hurt children, for example, not giving them praise when it is deserved,” Neo explained. “We also want to show the kids that they can’t think that just because they’re not shown affection, it means they can act out. We want to show that they also have to stay strong.”
Aspiring actors were given either an English or Mandarin script, which was put in front of a camera. A casting director presided over the auditions as various parties tried their best to give an emotional delivery of the monologue. But messing up one’s lines wasn’t the only worry they had to overcome; they also had to contend with the distractions coming in from the other corner of the room, where another round of auditions was taking place simultaneously.
Vevien Ong, 16, had that problem. “I’m a very easily distracted person!” she said. She had requested to re-audition after being distracted by another actor auditioning next to her. Having performed before in several local musical productions, she managed to keep her calm and deliver her lines. “I think I did better than I expected; I was nervous at first because I thought there would be a panel of judges, but it was just one camera, so it wasn’t that bad!”
The script given to the aspiring actors was an emotional one, calling for them to shed a few tears. While there were those who managed to achieve just that, such as Jazmin Quek, 16, seen wiping her red eyes dry after her turn, others, like Lim Chu Yeang, had to employ other methods. The 11-year-old didn’t manage to shed a tear but impressed the casting director nevertheless by dropping to his knees while delivering his lines to drive across his anguish.
Neo himself was impressed by the standard of auditions he had seen over the past two days, “I feel that City Harvest Church has a lot of talent!” he said. “We have already found quite a few potentials.”