Mark Lee, lead actor of "A Fantastic Ghost Wedding".
"A Fantastic Ghost Wedding" follows a medium and his son who are hired to find a bride for a deceased teenager. When the bride turns out to be an unexpected person, the overprotective mother gets upset with the father-son duo and they have to find a way to convince her she was making a mistake for not letting her son marry the person of his choice.
Well-known Singaporean actor, director, TV host and radio DJ, Mark Lee, plays the lead role, using his usual comedic charm to act the part of a medium who wishes to maintain the family's traditional business but is oblivious to his son's disinterest.
Though the 46-year-old actor has appeared in many comedies over the years, such as "Where Got Ghost?", "Taxi! Taxi!" and "Ghost Buddies", this is the first for him to act in a comedic drama film focused more on parental values.
During a recent interview at TGV 1 Utama, Mark Lee talks to Cinema Online about ghost marriage, working with Hong Kong star Sandra Ng, and how riding a motorcycle is simultaneously the best and worst part of filming for him.
Mark Lee showing off the film's poster.
Cinema Online: Hi Mark, can you tell us why you decided to take on this project?
Mark Lee: When I first read the script, I immediately fell for the story. It talks about how parents really take care of their children, to the point of being overprotective. Nowadays, parents have already arranged everything for their children. Of course, the parents won't ask the children to learn bad things, but it doesn't mean the children would like it. This is a worldwide problem. The movie is trying to tell parents like these to lay off a bit. Of course, the message is conveyed in a comedic way. This is the first time for me to do a movie about something that really happens around us, not just about comedy or gangsters.
If you were not a married man, and you pass away (knock on wood), would you like your family to arrange a wedding for you?
I don't mind. (Jokes) Because I don't need to pay, my family does. It is a Chinese tradition to find a bride or groom for your deceased son or daughter. (Jokes) If my family chooses someone I don't like, no worries, I'll make her pretty when she joins me later.
This is your first time working with Hong Kong actress, Sandra Ng, how was it like?
It was a happy experience, we enjoyed working with each other. We connect well because we both have our own family, we both love the script and most importantly, we both love movies. She even gave me advice on my acting. Let's say if we had an idea on how the scene should go, we would tell the director about it.
Sandra Ng and Jim Chim as Mr and Mrs Wu.
Doesn't this cause any clashing of ideas with the director, Meng Ong?
No, we respect the director. We would tell him our ideas and if he had his own thoughts to throw in, he'd voice it out. He would tell us his vision for the scene, how he wanted us to act in a certain way because later during editing, he would like to cut the film in that way. Working like this is what makes the filming meaningful and fun.
How about the rest of the cast, no issues?
Everyone was really happy on set. Even though we were facing the worst weather in Singapore at the time, there was haze – 400 PSI. Sandra was actually unwell due to it. Hong Kong weather is very different, but she still finished her scenes every day.
What was the best part during filming?
In this film, in the first scene, they [the production] wanted me to ride a motorcycle. I have a license for motorcycles but my family doesn't like me riding motorcycles, they prefer me driving a car. My car license was given to me by the army, during National Service. (Jokes) So I was a very important person in NS because without a driver, the soldiers would have to walk to war. But yes, the best part was I get to ride a motorcycle.
Mark Lee with Keane Chan (Boy) and Sandra Ng.
And the worst part?
Also the motorcycle! Riding it on the highway with Sandra and my [onscreen] son, Boy, was very stressful for me, because one is a superstar and the other just a small boy. His mother was there and I think she was even more stressed watching us. The motorcycle was designed to look very old. It's very hard to find in Singapore, we had to pay an old uncle for it, rent it from him. Then made it look older and added in the father-and-son business logo.
If there's a sequel, will you return for it? How do you think the story would go?
Of course! (Jokes) How can you make the movie without me? The second film can explore more of the father-son relationship and also switch Sandra's [on screen] son's personality. Now he can be the one asking for things, since in this first film he says he doesn't want anything as he already has everything, and it will make the mom worry even more.
You have acted in many movies, is there any character you have yet but would love to try?
Mute. (Jokes) Because I talk too much. I've made so many movies but I don't know if I'm really a good actor. So I want to act a character with no lines, one that has to use eyes and body language to convey the acting. He doesn't necessarily have to be a sad person, he can be a happy mute. He still can make jokes, make people laugh. I will definitely learn sign language and commit myself to that character.
The father-and-son medium duo.
Can you share with us about your future projects?
Next year, I will be acting in a movie which I will also be writing and directing. It tells the story of a Singaporean local guy falling for a girl from China. I'm still working on the script for that. Then, I will be acting in a Hong Kong movie. This one is still checking on the date as it will involve a lot of Hong Kong actors, so it will have to depend on their schedule. It's a vampire action movie and filming will be done in China as well as Hungary. I might be in another movie by Adrian Teh, he directed "King of Mahjong" which is coming out on Lunar New Year next year, but he doesn't have a script for the upcoming movie yet.
Thank you for your time, Mark!
Cinema Online, 30 December 2014