Interview: Boris Boo on Ah Long, Malaysians and more3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
After its successful first weekend box office reaping of $1.47 million, ‘Ah Long Pte Ltd’ is not only Jack Neo’s biggest opening so far — it has trumped singer Jay Chow’s ‘Kung Fu Dunk’ as well.
Behind this Singapore-Malaysian co-production is jTeam-er Boris Boo, who worked on the script of Ah Long Pte Ltd, a light-hearted black comedy about the triad world and the money-lending business, whom I had a quick chat with.
‘Ah Long Pte Ltd’ was actually slated to be released last December wasn’t it?
Yes, the movie was later postponed to open during Chinese New Year, which I think is always a particularly good slot to put a new movie into la. I think more people will have the chance to come and watch, so the timing is better also.
Yeah, but in this case you guys had to compete with Jay Chou and Stephen Chow!
Haha, yeah the two champions of the box office!
So are you worried about the competition? Or do you think ‘Ah Long’ appeals to a different market?
I think that… well of course they will be quite a crowd puller, but I suppose we really command a very different market. And I believe the local audience will still like to watch our homegrown show also. But definitely there is very healthy competition going on la.
Besides appealing to Singaporeans, the film also had to pander to the Malaysian market as well?
Yes of course, especially with this film, we have taken a very different route from the director’s usual style.
So while working on the script, what elements was put in to include the expanded market?
Well one of the main characters, played by Mark Lee, is Malaysian – in the show he speaks with a Malaysian accent, which I think will help in making [the audience] feel closer to him, and actually Mark is quite popular in Malaysia, he has quite a lot of fans there!
Working with M’sia is good too, since it’ll hopefully open more roads to future co-productions, I suppose?
Yes I really hope so, because there are just so many Malaysian production houses that actually have the strength to produce movies, but just need someone, say Jack, to lead them in making it. Also, landscape-wise, the scenery is so beautiful there, which we don’t have in Singapore, and the city also Ã¢â‚¬” it gives you a very different feel of vibrant. In the rural areas we have more greenery, more jungles to run about in and generally more space, which makes things more exciting also, in terms of the visuals.
Actually quite a few people have said that Ah Long deserves more than the one star it got from the Straits Times, what is your point of view about this?
Well honestly speaking, I think whenever a movie gets either extremes, like one star or five stars, there is a bias-ness there la, but views are biased anyway.
But do you think ST reflects Singaporeans’ tastes well?
I think the Straits Times represent the white collars, the PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen) types who will appreciate the more arty farty type of movies, and love the art scenes, or at least I think so la. They are not really the type of audience that we see everyday in our social circles.
And to end, tell us about the third installation of ‘I Not Stupid’ (tentatively titled “I Not Stupid: China”).
Ok I’m not directly involved, but the guys at jTeam did brainstorm about it, and we actually got the script writer of I Not Stupid Too to work on the script for this China version, so yeah, we’re still in the midst of preparing for it la, its still in development!