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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why I always have casting nightmares during productions

I've trying to find a child actress for my new short film during the past few days. In addition to that, I've also been recovering from a mild case of food poisoning (I've been visiting the toilet pretty frequently)

I've managed to find myself a child actress this morning, which was really an act of desperation. Before that, I've been gathering the contacts of professional child actresses, I tried to avoid those who were represented by agents because... I can't really afford them.

Then I wanted to get the girl from Lee Eng Kiong's GOING HOME (another short film that got into the top 10 at the BMW SHORTIES), even called Eng Kiong for her contact. But before I could call that girl's parents, something crossed my mind, and I remembered the daughter of a close family friend who is really cute and is constantly sour-faced and quiet whenever she comes to my house. Definitely fits the bill, so I called for help. And now everything's settled!

I had to explain about my new short film when I made the phone calls asking about the little girls, and this is normally what I've said:

You know Patrick Tam's AFTER THIS OUR EXILE starring Aaron Kwok? It's like that, but instead of father and son, we have mother and daughter. (the Chinese title of AFTER THIS OUR EXILE is 'Father and Son', so I just explained that my film's tentative title is the very imaginative 'Mother and Daughter'.) A heartbreaking tale that shows the disintegrating relationship between a young girl and her mom after dad left them!

after this our exile
Imagine my film looking like this, but with a mother and daughter in the poster

Aside from calling my film 'Mother and Daughter' in Chinese, I sometimes call it 'MISTERI NASI LEMAK' or 'MISTERI NASI KANDAR' because it amuses me to pretend that this is some companion piece to my CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, having Kimmy to play a mom character again.

Aron (co-producer of KURUS, Limkokwing film division bigwig, those who had seen CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY may remember him as Suanie's slacker brother) had asked why I've always wanted to do films about parental relationships.

The boy and his mother's younger siblings (played by Aron Koh and Suanie)

My friend Peng Shien had also asked why I don't try to do 'younger' films with cast members my own age where they worry about stuff that normal urban guys like me worry about, deal with issues that people like me deal with.

This brought me back memories of Perth days back in 2006 (can't believe two years felt so long ago!). I specifically wrote the role of the Gardener character just so I could have an elderly gentleman to play him. I pictured someone like Ian McKellen, or Morgan Freeman, I thought that would make me more, ah, credible. Unfortunately, my dastardly plans were foiled (not a single old guy came for my audition), and I got the then-25 year old Kuki to play the role instead...

Production Photo 4 - The Gardener
Imagine Morgan Freeman playing this role

Kuki was fun though. But yeah, most times I try to avoid populating my films with only people my own age because I prefer the diversity, I can try to tell different sorts of stories then and not restrict myself to writing only the stuff I know about.

(Of course, I often suffer casting issues because of my my stubbornness and egoistic attempt to build more credibility...).