A scary and exciting shoot
THE whole cast of Bullets Over Petaling Street gets to go crazy with their characters. “Everyone except me,” groused Chen Han Wei.
“Mine is the most normal character you will find in the movie. I play a very ordinary, goody two-shoes sort of guy next door,” Chen, 44, offered about his role as mild-mannered restaurateur Xie Da Xiang, who operates Foo Tai Restaurant in the film.
“He is also a very romantic fellow, who still carries a torch for his childhood sweetheart (played by Debbie Goh),” added Chen, for whom the most memorable scene was the one he dubbed “locks of love” which was filmed on a flight of stairs with Goh.
Collaborating with Goh for the first time, Chen was impressed by her command of the script and her grasp of the character.
“Debbie is very clear about what she wants out of each scene and knows exactly what is required of her, and delivers her best at every shoot, so working with her was a breeze.
“Other cast members like William San and KK Wong were also fun to work with. I especially like that they are all straight-talking folks,” said the multiple-award-winning actor (Singapore’s Star Awards, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010).
“Making movies in Malaysia is such an enjoyable experience. Most notable were the exceptional teamwork and strong camaraderie between cast and crew,” said Chen, who looks forward to more projects here and hopes that some weird and quirky roles will come his way.
Bullets also marked many firsts for Chen. Apart from being his Malaysian film debut, the action comedy also features Chen speak- ing in a mix of Mandarin, Cantonese and even Bahasa Malaysia for the first time.
Born and raised in Johor Baru, Chen has been plying his trade since age 18 in Singapore, where all Chinese productions are in Mandarin, with an occasional smattering of Hokkien in movies.
Fortunately, the personable chap has his Malaysian upbringing to thank for his easy familiarity with several Chinese dialects.
“Unlike Singaporean productions which are only in Mandarin, Malaysians like to use various dialects and languages. Luckily my mother is Cantonese, so I learnt how to speak the dialect,” he mused, alternating effortlessly between Mandarin and Cantonese in a recent phone interview from Singapore.
Chen also spoke of how filming on location in Petaling Street was a special experience for him. “Running around trying to film our scenes in Petaling Street was no easy matter as there were always lots of people everywhere.
“Plus it was scary and exciting at the same time, as there was always the possibility of us bumping into real-life triad bosses!”
The lanky thespian recalled how he had to complete his scenes in 10 days, then rush back to Singapore to film Yes We Can!, a Lunar New Year TV series which is currently airing on Singapore’s MediaCorp Channel 8 and Malaysia’s Astro Shuang Xing (Ch 324).
Chen, who made his film debut last year in the Gilbert Chan-helmed Singaporean horror flick Ghost Child, already has some 80 television drama credits to his name. Upcoming projects include two more TV series, a yearend blockbuster, and some coaching clinics for newbies. – SetoKitYan
Chen’s most memorable scene from the film which he dubbed ‘locks of love’, filmed with Goh (left) on a flight of stairs.