“I go to Toys “R” Us and pretend to be the good father”: Eric Khoo
Singaporean film-maker Eric Khoo, whose award winning films such as Mee Pok Man and 12 Storeys talk to us in an interview by asia-city about his life, work and inspirations.
My mother started bringing me to films when I was two or three. She loved fantastic movies—cowboys, dinosaurs, spaghetti westerns. We watched lots of horror so my tolerance for paranormal stuff was high.
The first film I made was with my mother’s Super 8 Canon camera and my G.I. Joe figures. Stop-andgo animation. I showed it to the adults and they were wondering, “How the hell did these toys come to life?” I was probably about eight or nine.
When Mee Pok Man came out here, it had scathing reviews, but at least the old uncles went to watch it. I got slammed; The Straits Times crucified the film. It was good because it was my first feature, and to be punched in such a hard way and to then get glowing reviews from the international press, I felt better.
I like to work with actors who have never acted before.
When we make a film now, we’ve got to ensure that it’s suitable for the international market. You can’t expect to release a film just in Singapore and break even, especially if it’s a film that’s not a Jack Neo comedy.
We go on about some of Jack Neo’s movies, but the audience is there for those films.