I had to train a whole bunch of newbies from scratch: Jack Neo

6 November 2012 / 3 years 11 months ago

Source: Straits Times OnlinePhoto: Lianhe ZaobaoHome-grown film-maker Jack Neo has always had a knack for spotting new talents.He made stars of Shawn Lee and Joshua Ang after casting them in I Not Stupid (2002) and directed Megan Zheng to a Golden Horse win for Best New Performer for Homerun (2003).For his latest film, Ah Boys To Men, about a group of army boys in national service, he had to find his biggest group of fresh faces yet for one film - seven in the main cast alone.All of them are newcomers to acting. although two of them - Tosh Zhang, 23, and Noah Yap, 19 - post video diaries on YouTube.Neo, 56, says it is not that difficult picking rookies to act in his movies."Whether a person can sing or not is obvious as soon as he opens his mouth. The ones who can act will say their lines and do some basic movements in a very natural way," he says."But the ones who cannot act will be very scared that others will see they have no talent, and they will forcefully do all sorts of exaggerated facial expressions to cover up for what they are lacking in true emotional delivery from within."Still, he found it "a little tough" to work with such a large group of newbies and says: "I had to teach them about how everything works from scratch."He "appreciated their effort and they certainly improved" over the shooting period of 70 days from July to September.Ah Boys To Men is a $3 million movie split into two parts. The first part opens tomorrow and the second, early next year.

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