Youthful cast spices up 3 Peas
HOME-GROWN actress-turned-director Michelle Chong joked that she's the only "mature content" in her latest movie 3 Peas In A Pod, which recently earned an NC16 rating.
But the effervescent 36-year-old, who has a cameo role in the movie, appeared to be as youthful as her cast at the movie's press conference on Thursday.
Though Chong is the "boss", she exchanged jibes and bantered freely with the young leading actors - Singaporean newbie Jae Liew, 23; former Korean group U-Kiss member Alexander Lee Eusebio, 25 - who is of Korean, Chinese and Portuguese descent - and Taiwanese singer Calvin Chen, 33, a member of pop group Fahrenheit.
The rookie trio, who are making their movie debut with 3 Peas, play university schoolmates entangled in a love triangle that evolves over the course of a road trip in Australia.
The multi-tasking Chong, who owns production company Huat Films and talent-management agency Left Profile, said: "I wanted to make this movie before I get too old to remember what it's like to be young and carefree."
She added in jest: "And how not to have worries of everyday life, paying the bills, running an artist-management company and having a production house."
The nostalgia of a bygone youth has been a popular theme for movies lately, such as China's So Young (2013) and Taiwan's You Are The Apple Of My Eye (2011).
The well-spoken Chong said that she was inspired after her directorial debut, the 2011 hit film Already Famous, but did not embark on making 3 Peas immediately because of the slew of youth-romance movies.
Already Famous was a box-office hit and was selected as the Singapore entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 85th Academy Awards.
She said that what makes 3 Peas stand out in its genre is its international appeal in its filming location and cast.
"We filmed the entire movie in Australia, which already gives it a different feel," said Chong, whose $1.7-million movie took them on a "real road trip" from The Great Ocean Road to Kangaroo Island.
Going on the road trip gave the boyish Lee a second chance to experience the missed opportunity of university life.
The actor, who left U-Kiss in 2011, said: "I stopped college to (continue) my K-pop life. I really miss my university life."
Citing how the late king of pop Michael Jackson had worked all his life and missed out on childhood, Lee said: "During (filming), it was the perfect time for me to remember and act like a university student."
The cast really did act like a bunch of playful university students throughout the interview.
The mischievous Chen had no qualms revealing juicy tidbits from their filming experience.
Recounting an episode with a glint in his eye, Chen said in Mandarin: "One night, our director made us go into a room and told us to strip. Xander (Lee) and I complied obediently."
He later clarified with a laugh: "It was necessary for the filming, she wanted to look at our physique."
3 Peas In A Pod opens in cinemas tomorrow.