Sprin­kle of magic


The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - Hap­py­fam­ily.

IF you were one of those who tuned in to watch Ntv7’s first Chi­nese New Year tele­movie The Su­perb Match­mak­ers back in Fe­bru­ary, chances are, you would be happy to learn that a sec­ond of­fer­ing star­ring the very same cast is now in the works.

The com­edy, rich with lo­cal flavour and humour, was rated as the most-watched pro­gramme dur­ing the time slot, beat­ing 72 Tenants Of Pros­per­ity and CJ7 on other chan­nels and cap­tur­ing more than 50% of the Chi­nese au­di­ences, said the sta­tion’s brand man­age­ment group man­ager Lai Cheah Yee.

Rid­ing on the mas­sive suc­cess, stars like Wil­liam San, Wayne Chua, Yeo Yann Yann, Fred­er­ick Lee, Les­lie Chai, Ae­nie Wong, Tiang Kah Chee, and Lin Jing Miao re­turn and are joined by new cast mem­bers Debbie Goh, Pear­lly Chua and Adrian Tan to of­fer an­other Chi­nese New Year fare.

Ti­tled Happy Fam­ily, it prom­ises the same amount of fun and laugh­ter with slice-of-life sto­ries re­volv­ing around a typ­i­cal Chi­nese fam­ily whose mem­bers rarely ex­press their love for each other. Ex­pect this to be an­other feel-good com­edy, with a sprin­kle of magic po­tion that brings the peo­ple in an old por­trait to life.

Ac­cept­ing the sug­ges­tion of his wife Li Jia Xin (Chuah), Yang Cong (San), a thir­tysome­thing who shares a dis­tant re­la­tion­ship with his fam­ily, de­cides to go home for re­union din­ner on Chi­nese New Year’s Eve. He ends up hav­ing a big fight with ev­ery­one. An an­gry Yang Cong goes to sleep, think­ing about his child­hood dream of re­plac­ing the fam­ily mem­bers whom he dis­likes so much.

Like the say­ing goes, be care­ful what you wish for, as the next thing he knows, his fam­ily has van­ished and is re­placed by the peo­ple fea­tured in a por­trait in­stead

The idea first struck di­rec­tor Kethsvin Chee when he passed by a DVD shop one day and saw a poster.

“I started won­der­ing what would hap­pen

gang is back to serve up more laugh­ter, with the help of magic dust, next chi­nese new year. if the peo­ple in the poster are brought to life. When I told the ac­tors about the story, they were ex­cited and re­ally loved it,” he said.

For his sec­ond CNY tele­movie af­ter The Su­perb Match­mak­ers, the di­rec­tor has forged close ties with the cast.

“I was ner­vous when I was mak­ing The Su­perb Match­mak­ers be­cause it was my first time di­rect­ing so many ac­tors. Now we are so fa­mil­iar with each other that ev­ery­one went crazy throw­ing ideas around dur­ing re­hearsals.”

Vet­eran thes­pi­ans Pear­lly and Leong Ah Kau play the set of Chi­nese par­ents that we are all so fa­mil­iar with. Stern and old-fash­ioned, the 60-year-old Yang Fan is es­tranged from his sec­ond son Yang Cong. His wife is a typ­i­cal home­maker who de­votes all her time to her fam­ily. Pear­lly is one of those in the cast who por­trays two char­ac­ters in the movie – one in the fam­ily and the other from the por­trait.

“So at one point I am the tra­di­tional, long­suf­fer­ing mother and at an­other, I’m this cheeky aun­tie,” said Pear­lly, whose younger self in the movie will be por­trayed by Star Idol alum­nus Mayjune Tan.

The com­edy would not be com­plete with­out some in­ter­est­ing scene-steal­ers. Ntv7 host Jack Yap plays a kind-hearted Thai body­guard who is gos­sipy and a free­loader at times.

“The rest of the cast told me that I don’t have to act as I al­ready look like a Thai. Once I put on the cos­tume, I get into char­ac­ter at once. I just have to use a drawl­ing tone,” he quipped.

Goh, who clinched the Most Pop­u­lar Ac­tress at last year’s Golden Awards (that hon­ours top lo­cal TV pro­duc­tions) with her per­for­mance in Age Of Glory, will shed her de­mure per­sona to team up with Kyo Chen to play the rich and ob­nox­ious cousins of the fam­ily.

“This is my most out­ra­geous ap­pear­ance so far. It’s an ex­cit­ing and a re­fresh­ing change from the usu­ally heavy roles I take on in drama se­ries,” said the beauty queen.

Equally eye-catch­ing are actresses Wong and Tiang, who play getai singers com­plete with elab­o­rate cos­tumes, make-up and bee­hive hair­styles.

On the other hand, Yeo, the Best Ac­tress win­ner at the Golden Awards, is re­united with Lee in Happy Fam­ily. Their warm in­ter­ac­tions on and off the set have spark talks of a blos­som­ing ro­mance. While Lee ex­pressed that he shares “a new chem­istry” with Yeo when­ever they col­lab­o­rate, the lat­ter was quick to add: “We are good friends. It’s hard to de­velop any ro­man­tic feel­ing be­cause he played my son-in-law the first time we col­lab­o­rated (in The Iron Lady).”

Judg­ing by their dif­fer­ences in ap­pear­ances, it’s hard to imag­ine Lin Jing Miao and Adrian Tan as twins. Maybe that’s why they have con­trast­ing per­son­al­i­ties in the movie. The chirpy Lin, equipped with mar­tial arts skills, acts as her brother’s pro­tec­tor most of the time.

It ap­pears that San and Wayne are the only ones who ap­pear nor­mal amidst the odd­ball group. It marks the third time they play lovers, fol­low­ing The Su­perb Match­mak­ers and drama se­ries For­get Me Not.

Wayne, whose char­ac­ter is of­ten torn be­tween her hus­band and his fam­ily, com­plained that she doesn’t get to show­case her crazy streak like oth­ers do.

“Maybe the di­rec­tor doesn’t ex­pect much from me all this while. So I al­ways get to play ‘nor­mal’ char­ac­ters ( laughs). He wants me to play my­self but I have to come up with some­thing to make the role in­ter­est­ing – it’s so dif­fi­cult! I’m still fig­ur­ing out how to do this,” she said. n Hap­py­Fam­ily will pre­miere on the first day of Chi­nese New Year (Jan 23, 2012) at 10pm on Ntv7.

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