At the press conference of his latest movie, Lucky Boy, the usually loud-mouthed Wang Weiliang, 29, is unusually shy. Weird, considering that the Jack Neo-produced rom-com is his first outing as the leading man. We sit down with the Ah Boy and find out why.
8 DAYS: In the rom-com Lucky Boy, your character, Lin Yu, has bad luck at work and in love. Do you identify with him?
WANG WEILIANG: All I can say is if I want something [or somebody], I will do what I can to get what I want — I’m a go-getter. He and I are actually very different. Lin Yu is a very sheltered person. The important decisions are made for him by his parents. That's where we're opposites. I started working when I was young, and I made all my decisions myself. Maybe that's why I remember so clearly what the director [Boris Boo] told me during filming: Don't be yourself — be Lin Yu, do what Lin Yu will do. One key difference: Lin Yu lacks confidence, whereas I don't.
Why do you think you were cast to play him?
I don't really know why I was chosen to be Lin Yu, but I suppose I gave off a certain vibe that matched [the director’s vision] of Lin Yu. Think about it: A person who’s as unlucky as Lin Yu can’t possibly be too handsome (guffaws)! But yes, I'm really lucky [to land the role].
Lucky Boy is your sixth movie, but your first as a leading man. How does it feel to be the main guy for a change?
I've been told [by my co-stars] that they didn’t see me as Lobang [my character in Ah Boys to Men] in this movie. They thought that I had stepped out of Lobang’s shadow. In some ways Lin Yu is actually similar to my character in The Lion Men, because both of them had it tough.
Did you learn anything new from making Lucky Boy?
[Hongkong actress] Venus Wong [who plays my love interest] and I were filming at the playground. We spoke a lot during that scene, and I remember clearly what she said: “Acting is not just acting [and saying your own lines], you need to have a genuine reaction to what your co-star is saying." That really struck me. That was one of our first few scenes together, and we started to bond after that.
We hear that you were really shy around her.
She's too pretty! Even if she is just looking at you normally, not trying to flirt or anything, your mind will still go haywire. She's very straightforward. She doesn't play games or have any motives. It's very easy to be her friend, as long as you don't be a hypocrite around her. But I still can't get over how pretty she is. Any camera angle works on her!
What was it like to have Chew Chor Meng, the original Lobang King from Don’t Worry Be Happy, play your father? Did you guys compare notes on who’s the better Lobang King?
To be honest, when I first found out that Chew Chor Meng was going to play my father, I [was nonchalant] about it. He was an idol, the leading man in several Ch 8 classics. At least, that was my first impression. But when filming began, it started to get really surreal. The actor I grew up watching is now my co-star! I was starstruck.
Which Lucky Boy co-star is the most fun to hang around with?
Jeremy Chan and Terence Then, of course! I love to disturb them by smacking them in the butt or groin. It's what boys do. But the thing is, their reactions never fail to be hilarious. Jeremy is really funny, both on- and off-camera. He is a born comedian. But I can feel that he also wants to avoid being typecast as just the funny guy because he is really serious about his craft. Terence, on the other hand, is quieter, but he does play along. But girls cannot anyhow play lah. Later police catch, how?
Your Ah Boys to Men bud Maxi Lim is in Lucky Boy as well. Do you miss acting without the other Ah Boys like Tosh Zhang and Joshua Tan?
Yes, I missed them very much [during the filming of Lucky Boy]. I missed the camaraderie. I'm really grateful for [Maxi’s] support [in the movie], and the rest of the Ah Boys who turned up for the movie's premiere.
You guys will be reunited in Ah Boys to Men 4, which deals with your characters as reservists. How many more Ah Boys sequels can you do?
I’ll definitely still be interested in any further instalments. I love making movies. From the bonding of the cast to the screening of the final product, I’d get a satisfaction that’s hard to explain. Every new movie is a new life experience, and I can’t wait to give my best in any future projects, not just in the Ah Boys movies.
In Lucky Boy, there’s a very short scene of Lin Yu's NS days, which is actually footage of Lobang in Ah Boys to Men. Do the two movies exist in the same time and space?
Since the movies share the same executive producer, Jack Neo, we thought it would be fun that the scene was put in to account for Lin Yu's NS days. But no, Lin Yu is not the same person as Lobang. It's a fun scene for the audience lah. If you've seen Ah Boys to Men, you would have noticed it. If not, then it's just another NS scene.
(Main photo: Ealbert Ho)
Lucky Boy (PG) is in cinemas now.