Gavin Yap talks "Take Me To Dinner"

Gavin Yap talks "Take Me To Dinner"

The director and cast of "Take Me To Dinner" (L-R) Gavin Yap, Susan Lankester, U-En Ng and Thor Kah Hoong.

Arriving at selected Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) theatres this week under the banner of GSC International is "Take Me To Dinner". The film stars Patrick Teoh ("The Beautiful Washing Machine") and Susan Lankester ("Relationship Status") as a hitman and the woman he falls for. Edward is an aging hitman who longs to get out of the business, and meeting Jennifer helps him take a step in that direction. Director Gavin Yap makes his directorial feature film debut here, after a long career in theatre.

Cinema Online recently had the opportunity to attend a press conference with Gavin, Susan, U-En Ng and Thor Kah Hoong. Gavin talked about his inspiration for the film, how he got his actors together, why Susan is involved with him again and his self-imposed censorship.

Tell us about how "Take Me To Dinner" came about for you and why a film about aging hitmen?
Gavin: I've always wanted to do a film about hitmen, so "Take Me To Dinner" is kind of like my pet project. At first, I wanted to do a road comedy film about aging hitmen, but we lacked the budget for it, so I had to scrap the idea and turn it into a dinner instead. The film ended up the way it is – lots of inane talking – is because I wanted to explore the bond of friendship between these men.

How long did it take you to shoot the film?
Gavin: We took 12 days to shoot the film, but it took me forever to release it because, as Patrick Teoh puts it, "I'm a lazy b*stard."

What was the casting process like?
Gavin: The truth is, I got all my actors even before I wrote the script. I knew these guys from some work we did together previously, so I was like, "Hey, I'm going to write and direct a film, do you want to be in it?"

Susan, tell us why you choose to work with Gavin again.
Susan: Because he once gave me the lead role in a Sarah Kane's play called "4:49 Psychosis", which he was directing. For two months, I had to live in the character that wanted to extinguish her life – in rehearsals, we were made to do unconventional acting exercises to reach depths of insanity. How could I say no to this director with a keen method of bringing out the best?

Patrick Teoh appears in "Take Me To Dinner" as Edward.

You bleeped out the swear words in the film yourself. What was your reason for doing so?
Gavin: To ensure that my film makes it through the censorship board safely. We first submitted an uncensored version, but it wasn't approved, so instead of editing out scenes, I decided to censor the swear words myself. That way, I can control the amount of censorship and avoid my film from being butchered.

I'm also a big fan of "Arrested Development", and in the show they 'bleep' out the swear words, so I thought, "why not?"

Will we be able to hear the film in its full, uncensored glory on DVD?
Gavin: Yeah, I would love to release my film on DVD, but we would have to see the demand for it first. But I would say that there is not much difference between the censored and uncensored version. Of course it would sound better without the 'bleeps', but since film-wise there wasn't much editing, I would like to think that the 'bleeps' give the film an artistic effect.

Considering your film is hot on the heels of the top-grossing Malaysian film "The Journey", are you worried about how your film will fare against it?
Gavin: Not really. I made this film for myself, so I'm happy that it's out. The audience will watch what they want to watch. And if you make films just to satisfy them, then you don't get to make the films you want. At some point, if you worry too much about how the viewers are going to see it, you'll never be able to get started.

"Take Me To Dinner" will be out in selected GSC cinemas on 13 March!

Related Movies:
Take Me To Dinner (13 Mar 2014)

Dailymotion article page COMY