(L-R) Aimee Chan, Chapman To, Daphne Low and Tommy Kuan.
Hong Kong comedian and actor Chapman To makes his directorial debut with the Singapore-Malaysia produced comedy, "Let's Eat", starring an ensemble cast from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore!
Some of the notable names include Canadian-born Hong Kong actress Aimee Chan, Malaysian talents Daphne Low, Tommy Kuan and Henley Hii, veteran Hong Kong actor Lo Hoi Pang, as well as Singaporean actor Henry Thia and Patricia Mok.
We caught up with the cast during their promo rounds in the region and here's what the funny bunch have to say!
This would be your very first time in directing a movie. What was the biggest challenge for you?
Chapman: Like you said, this was my first time being a director. So I guess I had a problem, financially. That is why I always have a few part-time jobs. So, other than being a director, a screenwriter and an actor, at night, I drive Uber too. [laughs] In total, I have four jobs!
So for "Let's Eat" you get to take home three salaries? For directing, acting and screenwriting?
Chapman: That's why I didn't take the directorial fee. Then I opened an empty shell company. [laughs] I received "personal donations" from director Roger Cheng and he told me that I don't need to return the money! [laughs] There's no condition or reason, he just donated the money to me like that, so that's not a directorial fee at all!
What is the biggest improvement for you in this film?
Chapman: My biggest improvement of course is receiving the donation! [laughs]
Chapman To makes the audience laugh with his sarcastic jokes!
I meant something other than the "donation".
Chapman: There's not much improvement in terms of acting. I guess the biggest improvement for me is that I need to direct and act at the same time.
And I think the biggest problem among actors is their chemistry with the director. Of course, I'm very compatible with Mahjong director Adrian Teh (Co-founder of Dream Moon Sdn Bhd, Chapman's Malaysia-based production company), but that doesn't mean that I'm compatible with every other director out there. So I guess by directing and acting at the same, it is a big improvement for me.
What about Daphne? Do you feel pressured acting with so many veterans in this movie?
Daphne: Yes, I do feel pressured acting with so many seniors.
Chapman: She's very smart, she turned the question that was asked to her, into her own answer. [laughs]
I heard that in this film, you ate a lot, especially snacks like potato chips.
Daphne: Yes. I do eat a lot. I feel like I'm getting fatter and fatter!
Was it the director's instruction for you to eat more?
Daphne: The director feels that I look better with a fuller body, that's why I have a lot of eating scenes in the film. Also, because we always shoot until late at night, so after that, all of us would go out and eat late dinner.
Daphne Low plays Lo Hoi Pang's daughter in the movie.
Since there are a lot of funny scenes in this movie, did you ever accidentally laugh out loud during the shooting?
Daphne: I did.
Were you scolded by the director afterward?
Chapman: I couldn't care less about her! [laughs] I don't have the chance to scold her because Lo Hoi Pang already beat me to it!
So how do you feel about working with Lo Hoi Pang?
Chapman: I always knew that he is a great actor. He is one of the most talented actors in Hong Kong. I have always dreamed of working with him, and in this film, I learned a lot from him.
It seems that Aimee and Malaysia have a lot of history together.
Chapman: Exactly! She was pregnant with her firstborn in Penang while she was shooting a drama, And now, she is pregnant with her third in Malaysia.
As this is your first time acting in a Malaysian co-production film, what are your thoughts on this?
Aimee: I think that the film itself is like cooking! When you see how each of them brings their characters to life and the feelings they've put to develop their characters, it is like different ingredients being put together and then becoming a very delicious dish. So, this film becomes a really great film at the end!
Pregnant women are said to be lucky. Do you think the presence of Aimee would somehow bring luck to the movie in terms of its box office performance?
Aimee was late to the press conference because her flight was delayed.
Chapman: Of course! Where else can you find a pregnant woman in a Chinese New Year movie? Other movies may have actors like Chow Yun Fat, but they don't have pregnant woman! [laughs]
Even though I hope that her luck can somehow help the performance of the film, but she is already an amazing actress. I am very lucky to have someone as talented as her in my first directorial film.
A film needs to have good actors to perform well, so I feel that I'm really lucky to have this group of talented cast with me.
"Let's Eat" is now showing in cinemas.
Cinema Online, 05 February 2016