The director and cast of "Goodbye Mr Loser", (L-R) Yi Xin, Anjoe Koh, Jack Lim, Ian Fang,
Adrian Teh, Mei Sim, Richard Low, Jack Yap, and Lex Pun.
Malaysian director Adrian Teh's next big film, "Goodbye Mr Loser", is a remake of a famous Chinese sleeper hit that is about to hit the silver screen this month.
Featuring a line-up of fresh new faces, the movie had its premiere in Malaysia on 18 March 2017 at GSC Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
Starring Singapore-based Chinese actor Ian Fang as the main lead, the movie centers on an ultimate loser who gets a second chance to relive his youth and fix all of his past mistakes.
Scheduled for screening in Malaysia on 23 March, and 30 March in Singapore, the movie has been localised to suit the taste of Southeast Asian fans and also features cameo appearance including national athletes Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying.
At the press conference of "Goodbye Mr Loser" held at GSC Mid Valley recently, we talked to the director and cast on some of the challenges they faced in making the movie including the trouble they had with Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF).
Cinema Online: The movie was recently screened in Japan along with some other Asian titles, you must be very proud.
Adrian: Of course, I am happy that the movie got to meet the Japanese audience, but I'm also glad that the movie wasn't dubbed, and it was screened in the original Chinese language and dialects. It's just that there are Japanese subtitles at the side of the screen which is really interesting as the subtitles were typed vertically unlike our subtitles which are horizontally found below the movie. Thankfully, from the looks of it, the Japanese really enjoyed the movie even though they rely on the subtitles a lot, so hopefully the movie will be able to attract the people here too.
Ian, you have been acting in plenty of dramas and movies, but is there any particular difficulty that you have encountered while shooting this film?
Ian: I guess the biggest challenge for me is not to make my character too similar to the original, instead I'm to make sure that it gives off a brand new feeling and some Southeast Asian flavour as well.
Director Adrian Teh and main actor Ian Fang.
Mei Sim, as a model, your image in the movie is completely different and is quite shocking too. Tell us about it.
Mei Sim: Yeah, I was a bit worried at first, but the director admitted that the reason he chose me is because I'm not pretty enough. My character in the film wears little to no makeup, and then she's very rough and unrefined too. The director even told me that he has taken my ugliest shot from the film and decide to use that as my matchmaking photo! [laughs] He said that if I manage to find a partner with that photo, it means that the love is real.
Do you think you're the type that would sacrifice everything for the one you love like your character in the film?
Mei Sim: I think I am. If I really love someone I would want to let them know of my feelings. However, I do feel that the hero of this movie is a terrible person. He never considers the feelings of his partner, and she is very pitiful.
But is Ian the same in real life?
Mei Sim: Of course not! He is a fun person. He seems a bit hard to approach at first. When we started on the first few days of filming, I found it hard to approach him, but overtime I found out that he's okay and sometimes a bit weird too.
So do you think the movie sort of allowed you to polish your acting chops?
Mei Sim: I think I've grown a lot thanks to this movie. The director gave me a lot of space to express myself, and I'm really thankful to my parents and God for giving me a not-so-pretty face, because that's the main reason why the director chose me in the first place, he wants an unattractive female lead, there's no other reason! [laughs]
Adrian: So she hates me until today. [laughs]
Mei Sim is a singer, model and host.
Anjoe, so what was the most memorable moment for you?
Anjoe: I guess it's the kissing scene because it was my first kiss.
Adrian: Anjoe, I forgot to tell you, that scene was cut by LPF.
Anjoe: I'm aware of that.
Why is the kissing scene between Anjoe and Ian cut, but the one of him kissing Mei Sim is not?
Adrian: The movie is a simple light-hearted romantic comedy, but when we first sent the film to the censorship board, not only did they ask us to make it a 18-rated film, they also wanted to cut 13 scenes from the movie! Some of the scenes include hitting a teacher and burning the classroom. But we cannot be like "Beauty and the Beast" and chose not to show the movie in Malaysia, so we decided to negotiate with them. So after talking, they decided to cut only the first kissing scene between Anjoe and Ian. After that, they told us the reason they removed that scene was because the kiss was forced upon the female character, while the second kissing scene between Ian and Mei Sim is mutual.
So what is the rating for the movie now and what's the duration of the cut scene?
Adrian: The rating is now P13, and the cut scene was quite long I think. Maybe around 5 to 8 seconds? To be honest, I find it weird that they [LPF] decided to cut out that scene, because you can still see it in the trailer.
Director Adrian Teh and main actor Ian Fang.
What is your box office expectations for the movie?
Adrian: I never concern myself with box office figures. I just want my movie to do well. As long as the movie collects 0.01 per cent from the original movie collection which is CNY1.5 billion – then that's enough for me. That too is already a lot! Although I do wish that the film would perform well, I never give myself a target.
Mei Sim: Well, this is my first film, so I don't really have any expectations in terms of box office collections. I feel the same as the director. We hope that through words of mouth, more people will come watch this film, because it's a fun and funny film and there're a lot of nostalgic elements that everybody can relate to.
Ian: It doesn't matter what the box office figure is as long as the people who watch this film love it and would recommend it to their friends. I think this is an amazing film, it has great script, the director is the best in Malaysia, so as an actor who has a part in this film, I do hope that the film will not only appeal to the Southeast Asian audience but also breaks into the international market.
Aside from Malaysia and Singapore, where else will the film get shown?
Adrian: The film might screen in Taiwan in mid-April, but this is yet to be confirmed, and we are currently negotiating to bring it into Hong Kong as well.
Cinema Online, 21 March 2017