First Look: Jesseca Liu, Peter Yu Battle Train Trouble In Circle Line, Singapore’s First Monster Movie
The movie, which also stars Andie Chen, is due out early next year.
The next time the SMRT train breaks down, you might want to blame it on human error or a mechanical fault. Or you can chalk it up to a monster attack. The latter happens to be the premise of the upcoming homegrown movie, Circle Line.
Hyped as Singapore’s first creature feature, Circle Line — named after the circular rail line linking the North-South, East-West and North-East lines to the city — dropped a 90-sec teaser at the on-going Singapore Comic Con.
The Mandarin-language movie follows a group of trapped train commuters — including Jesseca Liu as a single mum — battling a giant beast lurking deep in in the underground metro system.
The preview footage starts off like a SMRT sizzle reel, with the train running smoothly before things go sideways. The train comes to a screeching halt. The passengers get thrown around. Everyone acts hysterical.
Cut to Peter Yu, wearing his best worrying look as the guy in charge, saying, “Our priority is to find the train, try to deploy all resources we have for the rescue. I am worried about the people onboard the train.”
So far, so Civil Defense PSA. In the last few frames, we catch a brief glimpse of the CG-generated lizard-y beastie that's wreaking havoc in the movie which also stars Andie Chen (and his ponytail).
Circle Line marks the feature directorial debut of JD Chua, who interned under Michael Mann at the American action auteur’s Forward Pass Inc and on the 2015 cyberthriller Blackhat (the one with Chris Hemsworth — as a hacker! — Tang Wei and Adrian Pang), before helming a series of digital shorts on Viddsee.
In a panel discussion — moderated by Long Long Time Ago actress Charmaine Sei — Chua and Liu shared that the movie was shot in Singapore and at the Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Johor Bahru, and that he drew inspiration from The Host (he even approached the Korean monster pic’s producer for advice) and the works of Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, United 93). The director also praised Liu for improvising a badass line when her character goes into Sarah Connor/Ellen Ripley mode.
Production on Circle Line wrapped in 2018 and was slated for a May 2020 theatrical release. But plans were, er, derailed by something far scarier than a monster — the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now scheduled to drop in the second quarter of 2022. (If that’s too long a wait, catch Rakasa, Suria’s award-winning creature feature, starring Sharon Ismail and Lim Kay Tong, on meWATCH.)
Now that Circle Line is finally seeing the light, maybe we can turn our attention to Untold Beauty, a horror pic Liu made in 2007 but was never released. But that’s another story for another day.
To watch the Comic Con presentation of Circle Line (cue to 15:20 for the teaser), register here.