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'I hope all 3 can return': Jack Neo wanted I Not Stupid child actors for 3rd movie

'I hope all 3 can return': Jack Neo wanted I Not Stupid child actors for 3rd movie
Director Jack Neo and Glenn Yong speak to AsiaOne on the set of I Not Stupid 3 on June 27.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Whenever the movie I Not Stupid is brought up, you will likely remember the child protagonists Liu Kok Pin, Ang Boon Hock and Terry Khoo, and the actors who played them —?Shawn Lee, Joshua Ang and Eric Huang respectively.

Although it has been 21 years since the first movie and 17 years since the second, the?question looming over viewers' minds when director Jack Neo announced that the third I Not Stupid movie is in production is — will they return?

AsiaOne visited the set of I Not Stupid 3 recently and spoke to Jack and actor Glenn Yong, who plays kind-hearted teacher Mr Lee.

'It's a pity'

Jack said: "I really hope that all three of them can return. I will be very happy."

The 63-year-old director revealed?that when he was planning for the third movie, he had wanted the trio to return. However, all of them have their own lives now.

"I have contacted them, but Shawn Lee has already told me very clearly that he is not coming back. He won't be coming back at all. He didn't say it recently, but way earlier. He said: 'Director Neo, if you are filming movies in the future, don't call me back, I really don't want to film anymore,'" he said.

Jack added that it was "a pity".

He also said that he had tried to look for Eric, but could not seem to find him.

"I really can't find Eric. I don't know where he is. Someone passed me a Facebook account and I see that it is him, but when I messaged him, he didn't reply. So I don't know where he is," said Jack.

As for Joshua, Jack said that there is a possibility that they may still work together, but there seems to be some scheduling conflict at the moment.

He said: "For Joshua, there is an issue with time at the moment. He has a job and it is hard to accommodate our film schedule now, so it's too bad, no choice."

However, Jack added that viewers may be able to see some familiar faces in the new movie, as some of the previous cast members?will be coming back.

"This time, Selena (Tan) is coming back. You don't really see her act in other shows, so I am really grateful that she agreed to come back."

He added that Richard Low, who plays Terry's father Jerry Khoo with his iconic pet phrase "limpeh" (a Hokkien term meaning "your father"), is also set to return.

"We will be continuing the 'limpeh' story," said Jack.

'I realised that I am too old for it'

In the first I Not Stupid movie, Jack acted as Mr Liu,?the father of Kok Pin; and in the sequel I Not Stupid Too, he played?Steven Yeo, the father of Jerry Yeo.

When asked?if he would be returning to act as a father in his own movie, Jack said that it may not be appropriate now because of his age.

Jack said: "To be honest, I wanted to act in it, but I realised that I am too old for it. I can't act as a parent anymore.?I am already a grandfather, how do I act as a parent? So I can only bear the pain and [let go]."

"You will come to realise that, in this movie, there are actors that play fathers, but they are not very special as we are not focusing on this part.

"Because I am not acting in it," he joked.

'It's always a magical experience'

I Not Stupid 3 also marks the fourth collaboration between Jack and Glenn. They have worked together on Ah Girls Go Army and the sequel, Ah Girls Go Army Again, which were released in 2022.

Glenn also appeared in Jack's movie The King of Musang King this year.

When asked about how it was like working with each other again, Jack was full of praises for the 26-year-old actor.

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He shared: "Glenn is someone who is very passionate about his work and is very professional. What I mean by that is when we are filming and promoting a movie, he will fit in our schedule. That is something that is very valuable because there are many artists that may not necessarily do so.

"Glenn treated his projects like his baby and not the director's or the production company's baby. If the movie does well, he is the one that benefits the most. He tries his best to promote the movies, and I would use him as an example in the future."

Glenn said that he appreciates Jack's spontaneity?and his ability to improvise the script on set.

"Jack's improvisation is like magic. Every time when he changes his script, you think that this wasn't what we actually prepared, but it keeps getting better and better every single time. Honestly, I'm not sure if any other director can do what he does, to always improvise on set.

"So to me, it's always a magical experience when we're going through the rehearsals, because it is always through these rehearsals on set that we get the magic shots, that we get a punchline that everyone laughs with us," said Glenn.

ALSO READ:?'My dream has come true!' Glenn Yong cast as teacher in I Not Stupid 3

yeo.shuhui@asiaone.com

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