The big family behind "The Kid from the Big Apple 2".
After more than a year since the first film, Malaysian heart-warming family drama "The Kid from the Big Apple" is back with an equally heart-warming sequel titled "The Kid from the Big Apple 2: Before We Forget".
The sequel reunites veteran star Tommy Tam – also known as Ti Lung – and Sarah Tan Qin Lin as the adorable grandfather-granddaughter duo, with the addition of Tommy's real-life son Shaun Tam and Debbie Goh to the cast.
Debbie Goh will be replacing Jessica Hsuan as Sophia Lin, Sarah's mother.
Meanwhile, Jason Tan reprises his role as the witty neighbour Ah Bao, completing the main cast line-up for the film.
Set to be released on 16 November in Malaysia and 17 November in Singapore, followed by other countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan, the movie continues from where the first film left off dealing with when the family moves to a new place, facing new challenges.
Here is what director Jess Teong and the cast have to say about the upcoming movie when met by Cinema Online recently.
Cinema Online: When the first film was in the making you already had plans to make a sequel. Is that true?
Jess Teong: Actually when I was writing for the first film, I drafted some ideas for the second film while I was doing research. So after releasing the first film in 2015, I was waiting for the right time to make the second film because I had fallen in love with several characters in the film, so I wanted to make a continuation.
This is Jess Teong's second feature film.
As you have worked with almost the same team of cast and crew from the first film, would you say that for the second film you have higher expectations for everyone or for yourself in particular?
Jess: Definitely a higher expectation for myself, because I know that I have the room to improve. The first movie was my first directorial debut, so there's definitely a lot of room for me to improve and learn. So of course, for the second film, I want to make it better. But because the two films can stand on their own, I cannot compare the two.
Tommy, when the director announced the sequel did you immediately agree to get on board?
Tommy: When shooting the first film, I initially had my doubts with the director. When we were discussing about the script, I tried testing her on her knowledge. So I gave her this book where we started talking about the meaning behind the character's name to family relations, and the representation of traditional Chinese food like tang yuan, moon cake, etc. So until she knows all this, we can't shoot the second film! [laughs]
I'm happy and very grateful that the Malaysian audience is very accepting towards this film. I'm even more fortunate that I was able to act in the same film as my son, and let's not forget Debbie, Sarah and Jason too. I get to learn a lot from them.
(L-R) Debbie Goh, Tommy Tam and Shaun Tam.
So is it hard playing someone with a dementia?
Tommy: Actually, I've asked my doctor about it before, and he said that I'll be having the disease soon! [laughs]
Shaun: I think he is slowly forgetting too, like sometime he doesn't even recognize the way back home.
What about Debbie? How does it feel to join this big family?
Debbie: I am very honoured and grateful to be in this film. Being a part of this is truly a wonderful experience. As you may know, I rarely act in a Malaysian produced film. My last Malaysian film was "Bullets Over Petaling Street". The director gave me a condition, "Until this film is released in the cinema, please do not accept any other acting offer. I want you to forget about your previous film roles and convince the audience that you are Sophia." So I decided to accept the challenge.
During the shoot, I've come across new rivals, and they are the kids. I've never acted with any of the cast. Before I even met Uncle Tommy, I was already intimidated by the children. They can memorise the whole script easily, they even tested me on my script! [laughs]
There's a scene where you and Tommy had a big fight, and that scene is quite moving. Do you think that it's a huge challenge to play out that emotional scene?
Tommy: I do think that the scene is hard to act out. It's a very sad scene. After acted in that scene, I couldn't get up; I had no energy to even walk because I used up too much energy and feelings in that scene. It was truly a heart-breaking scene.
Sarah Tan and Jason Tan smiling happily at the camera!
The theme of the movie this time around is quite heavy as it revolves around an unavoidable disease.
Jess: But the disease is actually not the theme of the film. It is the family portrait. Family portrait is something that you take with your family members, but in this film, I wanted to highlight that a family doesn't have to be related by blood, it can surpass that. For example the neighbours and friends like Ah Bao who is also consider as part of the family even though he is not related by blood. So this means that you don't have to be blood-related to care about someone.
Are there any last words you would like to say about this movie?
Shaun: I hope that after watching this movie, everyone would go to the photo studio and take a family portrait together with their loved ones.
Cinema Online, 13 November 2017