1 Jun – For a movie meant to commemorate Singapore's 50th birthday, it is only fitting that director Jack Neo's upcoming "Long Long Time Ago" looks back to the past to show how far the country has come since its early days of Independence.
Set in a kampong (countryside) in Singapore during the '60s and '70s, the film follows a Chinese family who has to face and overcome major changes in their lives during the years after Singapore`s Independence.
Since the story is set in a Hokkien settlement, the cast is made up of actors who can speak the dialect such as Aileen Tan, Mark Lee and Wang Lei.
"What we're going for is realism instead of trying to force things. In the case of Aileen Tan, I don't want her to speak Mandarin because her character wouldn't have known how to speak it," said the director, as quoted by The Straits Times.
However, Neo assured that there will be other languages spoken in the movie as well, including Malay, English and Mandarin.
Apart from the three stars, newcomer Benjamin Tan will also be part of the cast as well as some of the actors from Neo's popular "Ah Boys to Men" movie series.
Neo has been working on the script for the past two years, according to Channel News Asia, and revealed that he has rewritten it many times.
"I took so long to write the script because I wanted to really capture the kampong spirit and share that with my audience," said Neo. "While I was doing research for the film, I realised that what I remembered most about Singapore's history were the carefree kampong days. And it really hit me that you can never go back to those days."
"But I hope we can produce a film people can see, a film which will help them envision what it was like in those days, and relate to that part of Singapore's past."
With a budget of around SGD4 million to SGD5 million, shooting for the movie will begin this July in Ipoh and Singapore for more than two months.
"Long Long Time Ago" is expected to be released in cinemas in Singapore on 4 February 2016.
(Photo source: Zaki Jufri / insing.com)