Malaysian director Adrian Teh first made a name for himself with his directorial work "Leilo Popo" and by being the producer behind Malaysian singer Ah Niu's directional debut "Ice Kacang Puppy Love". But he has never enjoyed a sweeter success than when he released his romantic comedy, "Wedding Diary", a film about a cross-cultural marriage and its issues, which became a box office hit since its release in February 2012. Now, less than a year later, Adrian is following it up with a sequel that comes with new sets of challenges for the married couple played by Ah Niu and Hong Kong starlet Elanne Kwong, and also for the director himself.
Cinema Online attended the production launch of "Wedding Diary 2" and talked to Adrian about the success of "Wedding Diary" and what to expect for its sequel at the Grand Copthorne Hotel in Singapore on 30 June 2012.
Q: How did "The Wedding Diary" do in Malaysia and Singapore's box offices?
Adrian: In Malaysia, we made about RM4 million and in Singapore it was nearly about SG$500,000.
Q: "The Wedding Diary" is going to premiere in Hong Kong and China in September. How did it manage to enter the overseas market?
Adrian: Actually, it is thanks to Kara Hui and Elanne Kwong's participation in this movie that we were able to screen it overseas. All this while, Malaysian and Singaporean movies have always wanted to enter into a wider market, from Southeast Asia to Asia, so to head towards that direction, we blended our local talents with stars from Hong Kong so that it could gain an appeal in those markets. Our screening in Hong Kong and China proves that this method works.
Q: How did you come up with the script for "Wedding Diary 2"?
Adrian: There was more collaboration this time with me and the producer when we wrote the script for "Wedding Diary 2". Previously, the story idea was mostly his and he wrote it down before we discussed on how we could improve it. For this sequel, I started with the story idea and then we sat down together to write the script.
Q: Did you encounter any obstacles or conflicts when you were writing the script?
Adrian: I think any creative efforts need to encounter obstacles to produce anything good. But it was because of my good relationship with my producer that we were able to bounce ideas off each other.
Q: It has been almost a year since you shot "The Wedding Diary" with your cast, how do you feel about reuniting with them for "Wedding Diary 2"?
Adrian: It feels very good, especially since we haven't met each other after the promotion for "Wedding Diary". We had such a great time when we were shooting "Wedding Diary" because everyone was part of a good working relationship. I feel that the feeling hasn't changed much and that none of us have really drifted apart. So I'm quite happy about this. I think it's very important for the cast to get to know each other for a few days before the shoot, so that they can immerse themselves into the movie wholeheartedly.
Q: In "Wedding Diary 2", there will be a baby on the set and Ah Niu has expressed his concern about this. What preparations have you done for this?
Adrian: I used to shoot children when I was still in advertising. I won't say that I know how to completely handle them, but I know there are some routines that we must abide by. Children are not like adults, they can't burn the midnight oil during shoots and if the child doesn't feel comfortable, they will lose their temper. So I have already instructed my assistant director to try and follow the child's routine as much as possible when they arranging the schedule. Not to have the shoots too early or too late and have some time in the afternoon for him to rest.
This is actually my first time having children on a movie set for a longer period of time, rather than in advertisements which usually lasts for a few days. I think it's very challenging but I've done some preparations for it. The mother is always with us on set and I let the crew play with the baby often so that we will get used to having a baby and the baby to us. I'm not that worried about the cast, what I'm most worried about is the baby.
Q: Where did you find the baby?
Adrian: He is the child of a friend of mine who does costume designs in Malaysia. My first worry was how we are going to find a baby, because when you are shooting a movie like this and if the baby is not adorable then you are finished. So if I could find a cute baby, I'm already halfway there. So I looked through some photos and when I saw him, I thought that he was cute and invited him to my office. Sure enough, when he came to my office, all my staff were playing with him so I decided that he was the one.
Q: What is the major difference between this sequel and "The Wedding Diary"?
Adrian: The tone wouldn't change much from the first one but we spent a bit more time on the script because even though there's a little pressure in doing comedies, having a good story is very important.
Q: Would there be a problem for audiences who didn't watch "The Wedding Diary" to understand "Wedding Diary 2"?
Adrian: I don't think there would be any problem for those who didn't watch the first one to understand the sequel. In fact, I would hope that those who watched the sequel would go and watch the first one. For those who watched part one, there will be some inside jokes for them to catch.
Q: Thank you for your time, Adrian and good luck for your movie.
Adrian: Thank you.