Dream lo­ca­tion

The bustling hub was both an at­trac­tive lo­ca­tion and a chal­lenge to shoot in, say the co-di­rec­tors of bul­let­sOver Pe­tal­ingStreet.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - OBITUARY - By SETO KIT YAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

DE­SPITE all the changes that have taken place around it, Kuala Lumpur’s Pe­tal­ing Street re­mains a shop­per’s par­adise and tourist spot that is de­light­fully rich in cul­ture with an un­end­ing va­ri­ety of goods and food to be found.

It was this vi­brant qual­ity of the bustling com­mer­cial hub that cap­tured the fancy of Hong Kong-born film pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Samp­son Yuen when he started mak­ing movies in Malaysia.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of his pe­riod kung fu com­edy Pe­tal­ing Street War­riors (2011) – it won Best Non-Malay Film at the 25th Malaysian Film Fes­ti­val 2013 and Best Im­age De­sign at Malaysia’s 1st Golden Wau Awards 2013, and was an of­fi­cial se­lec­tion in New Cin­ema From Asia at Switzer­land’s 12th Neucha­tel In­ter­na­tional Fan­tas­tic Film Fes­ti­val 2012 – Yuen de­cided to set his next movie there too.

He then roped in prom­i­nent lo­cal Chi­nese the­atre ex­pert Ho Shih Phin to make his big-screen di­rect­ing de­but as co-di­rec­tor of Bul­lets Over Pe­tal­ing Street. Yuen, who is also CEO of Juita En­ter­tain­ment, shared in a re­cent in­ter­view how he pro­duced and co-di­rected the Chi­nese New Year flick, a tale adapted from one of Ho’s pop­u­lar stage plays.

“The Malaysian moviemak­ing in­dus­try is grow­ing, but get­ting a good script re­mains dif­fi­cult. When I saw SP’s stage work, I re­alised that he had bril­liant stuff that could make a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion from the­atre to film. I also ap­pre­ci­ated the satir­i­cal wit he ex­hibits in his works.

“I looked for­ward to com­bin­ing ... cin­ema and the­atre to add a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion to our ac­tion com­edy,” said Yuen, 54, full of praise for his co-di­rec­tor Ho. The mul­ti­pleaward-win­ning stage di­rec­tor was named Best Di­rec­tor at the ADA Drama Awards in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Ho said: “When I met up with Samp­son, I took three plays I con­sid­ered to be most suit­able to be adapted to film. I ac­tu­ally ex­pected him to pick the one about a bunch of old folks in an apart­ment block. But he felt that a bet­ter story would be The God Mother, which re­volves around a head­strong woman caught in a web of life-chang­ing power strug­gles.

“Af­ter adap­ta­tion into Bul­lets Over Pe­tal­ing Street, the story now tells of a fash­ion­able ac­tress who be­comes a triad head and has to deal with gang­land power strug­gles,” added Ho, 47, who has 20

years’ ex­pe­ri­ence stag­ing plays. He is best known for pro­duc­tions

like Black & White, He­roes Wanted, Bat­tle Of The Dra­co­ni­ans and My Dragon Papa.

“Un­like stage plays where we are free to spend our time just de­vel­op­ing char­ac­ters ac­cord­ing to a cen­tral con­cept, mak­ing movies is a lot more struc­tured as it re­quires lots more prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning ... ev­ery­thing needs to be com­pleted in a given amount of time,” added Ho, who ad­mit­ted that plan­ning a whole shoot while tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the open­ing and clos­ing times of stalls along Pe­tal­ing Street was quite tough.

Al­though Pe­tal­ing Street is not an easy place to film ow­ing to its bustling busi­nesses and the pos­si­bil­ity of run­ning into ac­tual triad bosses, both Ho and Yuen re­ported an easy shoot that went more smoothly than they ex­pected.

Tim­ing was key. For the scene where the triad bosses con­verge on Pe­tal­ing Street, Ho said: “We had to be very care­ful to en­sure ev­ery­one’s safety and avoid in­trud­ing upon ‘re­stricted’ ter­ri­tory. So we had every­body on standby and rushed in so that we could quickly wrap our shoot within the hour.”

The made-in-Malaysia movie is a joint project by Juita Vi­den, Golden Screen Cine­mas and The Star. Its star-stud­ded cast fea­tures a host of award-win­ning artistes the likes of Deb­bie Goh, Ernest Chong and Ch­eryl Lee as well as Chen Han Wei and Irene Ang from Sin­ga­pore.

Bul­lets Over Pe­tal­ing Street opens in cine­mas na­tion­wide to­day.

Busy street: deb­bie Goh and co-stars in bul­let­sOverPe­tal­ingStreet ... the vi­brant qual­ity of the lo­ca­tion at­tracted pro­ducer and co-di­rec­tor Samp­son yuen to set his movie there.

For first-time film di­rec­tor ho, it was tough plan­ning the film’s shoot, but things went more smoothly than ex­pected.

‘he had bril­liant stuff that could make a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to film,’ says yuen of his co-di­rec­tor ho.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.