By Jocelyn Lee
The New Paper
Wednesday, 15 July, 2015
Twenty years ago, veteran actor Chew Chor Meng played one of local TV's most unforgettable characters - Lobang King in the Channel 8 sitcom Don't Worry, Be Happy.
Now, he is paired up with the big screen's Lobang King, Ah Boys To Men star Wang Weiliang, as Wang's dad in upcoming local movie Lucky Boy.
Scheduled to start filming in September, it tells the story of a man (Wang) who may not have the best luck, but somehow manages to get through life smoothly.
The Boris Boo-directed comedy is slated for release in the second quarter of 2016.
At a press conference to announce the cast of Lucky Boy yesterday, Chew, 46, recalled how he got lucky when he wanted to join the entertainment industry.
He told M: "I was a calefare (bit-role actor) in (iconic TV series) The Awakening (in 1984) , and I was supposed to run straight in a scene. But I was looking for the camera, so I turned around, and I caught the director's eye."
He added: "Because of that, he gave me a speaking role in the drama. I must say I was very lucky."
Chew was diagnosed with Kennedy's disease in 2008, an incurable illness that leads to spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, but he has continued with his career.
The hardworking actor is the star of popular long-running 255-episode Channel 8 drama 118, which started airing last October and will run till October this year.
You would think that he would take a break after filming for 118 wraps, but Chew is diving straight into Lucky Boy.
He was offered the role and took it up as he had a good experience working with Boo in the past, on the set of Don't Worry, Be Happy.
Chew said: "I have about 10 days to rest after 118, so that's enough. Also, filming for 118 has always been very pleasant and happy, so I don't really feel like I am working. Health-wise, I am fine."
Wang, 27, who played recruit Lobang King in Jack Neo's top-grossing Ah Boys To Men movie trilogy, said in the joint interview: "My career has been very smooth too, I think I am quite lucky. I am not extremely handsome, but I have managed to do well in my career, from (being) a getai singer to acting in Ah Boys and now, this movie."
Wang, who co-hosts Channel 8 variety series GeTai Challenge and stars in the StarHub travel programme Mission S Change alongside his Ah Boys castmate Tosh Zhang, is the first Ah Boy to helm his own movie after the Ah Boys To Men franchise ended in February.
Local director Neo, whose company J Team Productions is one of the film's investors and also represents Weiliang, said: "I feel that since the Ah Boys To Men series, these few actors have been gradually developing their own style and are now able to take on the lead role in other films. We decided to let Weiliang take on this important role as we are confident that Lucky Boy is suitable for him to unleash his potential."
On working with Chew, Wang expressed his excitement, saying: "To find out that the original Lobang King is acting as my dad - I was like 'wow'."
Chew repaid the compliment, adding: "Weiliang may not be very handsome but he is such a natural on screen. When I watch his movies, I feel like he plays the role so well that it doesn't seem like he is acting at all.
"He is also very humble and has a good attitude."
Currently, the Lucky Boy team are looking for a fresh face to play Wang's love interest.
Female talents based in Singapore between the ages of 18 and 25 can send their photographs and details to email@example.com from now till July 25.
Meanwhile, Wang lists his criteria for his ideal woman in real life.
"Short hair, tall and slim," he said matter-of-factly.
"I like girls who have personality and style."
This article was published on July 15 in The New Paper.