Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen is set to team up with his Ilo Ilo and Wet Season actors Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler on We Are All Strangers, the third film in his ‘Growing Up’ trilogy, which also includes 2013’s Ilo Ilo and 2019’s Wet Season.
Deadline reported on Tuesday (Jan 26) that We Are All Strangers will “continue the director’s exploration of domestic relations and familial dynamics and touch on themes of privilege, class, and inequality as they are brought into sharper relief by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Chen’s feature debut, Ilo Ilo, centres on the friendship between a Filipino maid (Angeli Bayani) and her young charge (Koh), while his sophomore effort, Wet Season, is about the forbidden romance between a teacher (Yeo) and a student (Koh).
Ilo Ilo won the Camera d’Or award for Best First Film and four Golden Horse Awards, including Best Film and Best Supporting Actress (Yeo); Wet Season won Yeo Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards.
We Are All Strangers was recently announced for the Berlinale Co-Production Market 2021, which takes Mar 1-5.
The London-based Chen first mentioned the ‘Growing Up’ trilogy while promoting Wet Season in November 2019. He said then, “I shot [Koh] Jia Ler [in Ilo Ilo] when he was in primary school, and Wet Season when he was in secondary school and, obviously, I need to shoot him as an adult, right?”
He added, “I made Ilo Ilo in my 20s, Wet Season in my 30s, and if I wait six years to make my third film, I’ll be 41 then. That means I will be making one film every decade. I’m not sure if I myself can wait six years. I just have to write faster.”
Koh enlisted for full-time National Service in January 2020 and production on the Mandarin-language We Are All Strangers is expected to start in Singapore after he completed his military service circa early 2022.
We Are All Strangers isn't the only movie Chen is busy with. According to Variety, he is also working on his first English-language due to shoot this year.
Wet Season, which is selected as Singapore's Oscar entry in the Best International Feature Film, will be released in the US in spring/summer 2021.
Photo: Giraffe Pictures