Producer Fred Chong and his company, Prodigee Media, have not been resting on their laurels. Barely a year after the release of their commercial success, "Nasi Lemak 2.0", Fred Chong has already produced Namewee's second film "Hantu Gangster", which is currently set for an August release this year. While you may think that the young producer should be taking some time off while he and Namewee make the rounds to promote their latest film, Chong and company are already embarking on the production of Namewee's third film, titled "Kara King", which will give audiences more reasons to anticipate it. For one, the third film would be Namewee's biggest production to date, with more than three times the budget they had when they first produced "Nasi Lemak 2.0", which is RM3 million. Big productions can only be matched by big ambitions and this time Chong had enlisted the help of international stars from Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Canada, to help him achieve his biggest dream yet.
Cinema Online had an interview with Fred Chong at the production launch of "Kara King" to learn more about how Namewee's third film came about and what to expect.
Q: "Kara King" would be the first on-screen collaboration between popular Taiwanese singer Gao Ling Feng and Hong Kong veteran actor Ng Mang Tat, who has appeared in several of Stephen Chow's films. Why did you decide to make a movie using foreign but famous actors with Namewee?
Fred: Our Malaysian movies are just starting to build a name for themselves overseas, and in order to further this, I felt that I needed to cast people who are regionally recognised as a way to keep on improving. After all, this is Namewee's third film and we were thinking of how to make a breakthrough in the international Chinese-speaking market when we thought about the story of "Kara King". We thought that Gao and Ng were the best candidates for our goals and I felt happy and honoured that we were able to invite them into our movie. It was something that we'd dreamt of.
Q: So basically, the RM3 million budget was mainly used to pay for the big name actors that you've hired?
Fred: I would say that they are not cheap, but with their involvement they are giving us a chance to build up our Malaysian movie industry. This is the first time that Gao and Ng would be collaborating onscreen for the first time. So I'm happy about that.
Q: How long have you been planning to make "Kara King?"
Fred: We've been planning to make "Kara King" since early this year, after we finished shooting "Hantu Gangster". Actually Namewee had the idea to make "Kara King" before "Hantu Gangster" but securing Gao and Ng to act in the movie was our first obstacle. Namewee had written the script with them in mind and it was already finished last year.
Q: Do you feel any box office pressure for "Kara King?"
Fred: I think the pressure is more on Namewee's second movie "Hantu Gangster", but we want to focus more on doing a good job rather than worrying about the box office returns. I think that if we concentrate on making the product well, then it will naturally do well in the box office.
Q: You are starting the first day of your shoot today. How long is the production of "Kara King" expected to take?
Fred: There are two parts in this movie. We hope to finish shooting the first part in Malaysia in a month's time by July. Then we would shoot the second part of the movie in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. That is our plan.
Q: Good luck on your production!
Fred: Thank you.