Production Talk with Michelle Chong on the already selling-fast 'Already Famous'


9 years ago, actress Michelle Chong wrote a movie script with the aim to give herself an opportunity in acting. 9 years on, Michelle, 'already famous' from 'The Noose' has still held on to that dream and has finally brought it to life. That movie is 'Already Famous'.

With the movie already selling like hotcakes and having crossed the half a million USD mark, Michelle must be pleased she kept the script somewhere in between hundreds of call sheets over the 9 years.

Michelle spends a moment with SINdie to share some of her thoughts on the movie and answers some of our burning questions.

Synopsis


The place, Yong Peng, a small town in Malaysia. The girl, Lim Ka Kiao, aka Ah Kiao. Ah Kiao sells televisions, but she wants to be on television and adores the likes of Zoe Tay and Fann Wong.

We follow Ah Kiao's journey across the causeway as she sets out to fulfill her dreams of becoming a star in Singapore, A story of hopes and dreams, Already Famous is not just about the trials and tribulations of making it in showbiz, but also a message of truth and heart to anyone who's ever wished upon a star.


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Congratulations on your directorial debut! Why did you decide to embark on the difficult journey of directing a feature film?

Thank you! Because I could not imagine anyone else telling my story, and I had limited budget, so I decided to do most things myself.


I understand this was a story you have been harbouring to tell, what inspired the story?

Being in the industry inspired the story. The promises, the rejections, the frivolity and careless of people in positions of power inspired me.


How much of Ah Kiao was in you about 10 years ago?


I was as passionate and enthusiastic and determined as Ah Kiao, but I had better dress sense. I think.

If I am not wrong, I saw you playing a cameo in a Malaysian accent as well in Eating Air, was that beginning of the making of 'Ah Kiao' the character?


No you are not wrong. I played Porsche Zeh Zeh in Eating Air, but other than both of them having the same nationality, they are completely different.

How long did you take from script to wrapping the shoot?

As I wrote the script 10 years ago, I would say 10 years then, ala Wong Kar Wai. No, I'm kidding. I took about 1 week to write the script, and then forgot about it for years, the pre-production took about a month and I wrapped filming in 20 days, so I would say the total amount of actual time spent on the project till wrapping of the shoot would be about 2 months. Editing and post-production took about another 2 months.


What were some of the greatest challenges you faced in producing this?

The most challenging thing is getting people to believe in your project: From the crew to the wardrobe designer to sponsors, investors, distributors and cinema operators.



The trailers showed you multi-tasking between directing, acting and possibly even producing, in a film where you manage so many characters, how did you juggle all these? (watch this video to get an idea of what we mean)



I had a very good team of people working with me. They lightened my workload a lot!


How was it like trying to get Alien Huang to become a 'localised' boy-next-door?

He didn't really have to be very "local" since he's playing a Taiwanese in the movie, but he had to look at home in the coffeeshop. That was no problem, since that was the only place he hung out at during his first 4 days of shoot. He only appears in 2 places in the movie, 80% in the coffeeshop, and once at a movie theatre.


What's your personal favourite scene in the movie? Why?

Oh I have so many! The scene where all the neighbours in the Kampung gather around to watch me on TV is one of my favourites, because everything just worked out for the best, the technicality of doing that scene was challenging, and I had to convince my team the shots would work, and everyone's acting is very natural, including that of the extras. Watching that scene always moves me because the extras are SO good! Its them, and Jalyn and James (the actors who play my family) who made the scene funny and sad at the same time. The sound design and camerawork for that scene is well done too, so kudos to the whole team!

Any plans to turn one of The Noose characters into a feature film as well?


Ha, I have some ideas but Mediacorp owns rights to these characters, not me. There'll be some negotiation to do, if I really want to use the Noose characters for a feature film.


Would you want to be another Sylvia Chang (a famous actress-turned-director)?

No, I would like to be another Will Smith.

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Catch Already Famous at all major cinemas at selected timings now!
Check out their Facebook Page here for more scoops and photos.
Finally enjoy this cute behind-the-scenes video on the film!

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