Dawn Seow

Naughty Is Next

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Filming is underway for filmmaker Jack Neo’s upcoming movie, We Not Naughty.

Contributed By Dawn Seow

The cast of We Not Naughty. CN PHOTOS: Michael Chan.

It felt like a class reunion: the room filled with laughter as host Danny Yeo joked with and teased a group of actors on stage. Such was the atmosphere at the We Not Naughty press conference at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Aug. 15.

We Not Naughty is filmmaker Jack Neo’s upcoming film about the problem of juvenile delinquency in Singapore; the film is currently in mid-production. Due to the tight filming schedule, the artistes were meeting each other for the first time at the press conference, hence the flurry of chatter.

Hong Kong actor-singer Daniel Chan is a veteran in the movie industry, but this is his first time starring in a Singapore production, and working with Neo. “It’s actually very tough because Jack’s movies usually have that comical touch, and it’s the first time I’m acting in such a movie,” he admitted, referring to Neo’s trademark manner of employing humor in communicating real-life issues in Singaporean culture.

For well-known singer-songwriter Loi Fey Huei, We Not Naughty marks his big screen debut. “Jack approached me after watching my performance at a concert. He found me suitable for this role but I thought otherwise. So I asked him if I needed to speak Hokkien or ‘apply’ a tattoo; he said there was no need to. But in the end, I had to do all of the above, so I actually felt cheated,” Loi joked, before admitting that it was “very weird to have to memorize so many lines. But Jack was very patient in guiding me, and so was the rest of the cast.”

Well-known Malaysian singer Eric Moo and Taiwanese actress Cherry Hsia also appear in the film alongside local artistes Xiang Yun, Shawn Lee, Joshua Ang and Jacky Chin.

We Not Naughty revolves around the lives of three average students, Wei Jie (played by Lee), his younger brother, Bao and his best friend, Jian Ren, and how they nearly get involved in a shady deal planned by syndicate leader Boss Ma (Eric Moo).

Explaining the inspiration behind the film, Neo shared that it came from recent news reports on gang fights and youngsters joining triads. “It discusses the situations parents encounter with their defiant children nowadays. Besides punishing them, is there no better way to teach them? These days, do parents really know how to take their children by the hand?

“Though the youth may blame their involvement with gangs on the society and their parents, they are still the ones who have to bear the responsibility and be punished at the end of the day. The film also illustrates the reality that kids are not naughty by nature alone; circumstances and bad influence can cause them to go astray,” said the filmmaker.

We Not Naughty has a S$1 million budget, and is produced by a record number of Singaporean and Malaysian investors including Starhub, MM2 Entertainment, Cornerstone Pictures, PMP Entertainment, Grand Brilliance, J Team and Clover Films. It will be jointly distributed by Clover Films and Golden Village Pictures.

We Not Naughty opens in cinemas from Jan. 19, 2012.

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