Jack Neo is by far the most prolific filmmaker in Singapore.
The 54-year-old has already made two blockbusters this year with ‘The Lion Men’ and ‘The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown’ – as well as co-producing the musical version of ‘Ah Boys to Men’.
Now, it seems that there will be no rest for him in 2015 either.
In addition to his upcoming movies ‘Ah Boys to Men 3 – Frogmen’, and his recently announced short-film contribution to the film anthology ‘7 Letters’, to be made in conjunction with Singapore's celebration of 50 years of independence next year (SG50), Neo will be releasing another feature titled ‘Long Long Time Ago’.
Costing at least S$6 million, the two-part movie is also made to commemorate Singapore’s 50th birthday.
The first part is scheduled for release at the end of 2015, while the second is due out some time during Chinese New Year 2016. The movie is produced by Neo’s J Team Productions and the newly listed Mm2 Entertainment.
‘Long Long Time Ago’ will take viewers back to 1965 when Singapore gained its independence, and how it built its defence forces to the present day.
'Long Long Time Ago' will be released in two parts, the first one is scheduled for the end of 2015 | Photo: Zaki Jufri
Neo said during a press conference at the Asian TV Forum & Market event on Wednesday 10 December: “I want to show how the lifestyles of Singaporeans have changed, how we were faced with problems and how we solved them.”
He added: “I lived in the kampung (village) for 16 years and I cherished the sweet memories from those years. Even in my dreams, I would dream of village life.”
Besides stoking feelings of nostalgia, Neo said the movie would examine what Singaporeans have gained or lost in the past 50 years, as well as question what would happen 50 years into the future.
“It is also a very exciting human story that touches on the family,” said Mm2 Entertainment’s Melvin Ang. “I was moved by the story when Jack first broached the idea to me.”
Production for the new movie will begin in May 2015.
Neo said that one of the challenges for the movie is finding actors who are fluent in dialect.
“We have a lot of good actors in Singapore, but casting one who speaks dialect is hard,” Neo disclosed.
He requires young actors to speak in Hokkien because it was the predominant Chinese dialect spoken back in the 1960s.
“I know some parents teach their children how to speak dialect, regardless if it's Hokkien, Cantonese or Hakka. I would like them to come and audition.”