After his success in Chiu Keng Guan's "The Journey", Frankie Lee Sai Peng, or better known as Uncle Frankie, is now acting in his second feature length film, "Special Forces" directed by Michael Chuah (not counting his cameo in "Ola Bola").
In the film, Uncle Frankie plays the leader of a team of retirees who form a neighbourhood watch due to the rising crime rates, looking after their small town as they imagine themselves as action heroes.
During the press conference of "Special Forces" held at Cathay Cineplex, eCurve, Uncle Frankie explained to Cinema Online about his role and experience in his second film and how is it vastly different from his first one.
What are your views on the concept of "Special Forces"?
Frankie Lee: I feel that this movie is different. My first movie is about family and is more of a slice of life kind of film. This film is a comedy with some action and cultural interests in it. That's why I feel that this film is special too, as it educates people about the "Rukun Tetangga" and it focuses on the importance of cooperation.
Is your role in "Special Forces" vastly different from the one in "The Journey"?
Yes, because "The Journey" is a story about family with an actual plot. In "The Journey", I played a single father with a daughter, and the story focuses on my character's relationship with his daughter and her foreign boyfriend.
In "Special Forces", the plot is more relaxed and funny, and it doesn't deal with a lot of emotions. It's about a team who takes on bad people that are causing trouble in the neighbourhood.
How is it working with Michael Chuah?
It was great! Even when I made mistakes, he wouldn't scold me. He will let me do as many takes as I can until I get it right. He also gave me a lot of freedom to interpret my character, so it was really fun working with him.
What are the main challenges or difficulty you have faced while acting in this film?
I actually did not study Mandarin Chinese so I have a tough time reading the script. It is the same problem that I faced when shooting "The Journey". I had to ask someone to translate the Chinese script into English and then, I translated it again to a Cantonese dialogue.
Also, during the filming, I made a lot of mistakes, so theres a lot of cuts. But I think I have improved a lot compared to when I filmed "The Journey".
Last year, you won Best Actor at the 25th Festival Filem Malaysia. Is there a chance for you to achieve something like that with this film as well?
It's a bit unlikely, because this film and my previous film are totally different genres. Not that it's impossible, but the chances are quite low. Because "The Journey" is meaningful and it has a larger impact, this one doesn't have a solid plot as it is just a fun comedy with action sequences, that's aiming to make people laugh.
Of course, I do hope that this film could gain recognition or achievement as it is also a great movie!
What is your next project?
It's not confirmed what I'll be doing next, but I did receive some offers and invitations from a number of small companies. But because I've already signed a contract with Astro, I cannot simple accept them. Everything has to go through Astro first.
Nevertheless, I am grateful that people are still giving me the chance despite my age. As long as they have faith in me, I will do my very best. I will keep acting until I can't anymore!
You have set a great example to many people in Malaysia that age and experience doesn't matter when it comes to acting. How does this make you feel?
Although I won an award in Malaysia, I still have much to learn. I hope that many other people would keep on chasing their dreams until the very end. I want the people to know that even someone like me can achieve something. Hopefully, this would somehow encourage people to keep following their dreams because I believe that one day, the time will surely come!
"Special Forces" is now showing in cinemas.