Jaime learns to sing in Hokkien

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For Chen Tianwen, it's now Mr Unbelievable the movie

Will online success of Chen Tianwen's Unbelievable music video put bums on cinema seats for big-screen spin-off?

PRESSURE: Chen Tianwen feels the heat of being the leading man in his upcoming movie Mr Unbelievable.
CAST: The stars of Mr Unbelievable (from left to right) Jaime Teo, Roy Loi, Chen Tianwen, director Ong Kuo Sin, Liu Ling Ling, Marcus Chin, and Tosh Zhang at the film's press conference.

Can 3.2 million views on YouTube and Facebook translate into box-office success?

Local actor Chen Tianwen, who plays the titular protagonist in upcoming Mandarin comedy Mr Unbelievable, a spin-off of his viral music video Unbelievable, is certainly banking on that.

The 52-year-old is also feeling the heat of playing the lead in a movie for the first time.

Speaking to The New Paper at a media conference for the film yesterday, he said in Mandarin: "Of course I feel the pressure when it comes to box-office takings. The music video did so well online, it's natural to hope for the movie to do well."

He added: "I looked at the script, it's quite exciting. The actors are all veterans too, so I am not too worried or scared. I will let nature take its course."

In April, Chen got Singaporeans "stunned like vegetable" when he sang and starred in the MV, which featured him dressed in a retro 70s outfit complete with a wig and singing catchy but nonsensical lyrics.



It was produced for the Channel 5 sitcom Spouse For House 2, in which Chen plays Ah Beng supporting character Eric Kwek.

The director of Mr Unbelievable, Mr Ong Kuo Sin, who also helmed Spouse For House, had discussed making the movie with Chen after the MV went viral.

In Mr Unbelievable, which cost around $1 million and will be released on Dec 3, Chen's character goes by the same name but is slightly different. Eric Kwek is an 80s singer who incorporates English words into his Hokkien songs. And yes, he'll be belting out Unbelievable and its follow-up Sandcastle In My Heart.

He receives vocal lessons from his master (Marcus Chin) and has a girlfriend (Liu Ling Ling) who sells beer for a living.

Besides getai veterans Liu and Chin, FLY Entertainment artiste Jaime Teo and popular Ah Boys To Men actor Tosh Zhang also star in the film.

Chen, who has been in showbiz for three decades, is milking the second wind in his career - five months after Unbelievable's release.

His last movie was Jack Neo's The Lion Men (2014) and he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards for his role as a disgruntled husband in the award-winning local film Ilo Ilo (2013).

As his popularity soared, Chen has also been hired for getai performances recently, where he performs his signature hit on stage.

Looking back on his unbelievable year, he said: "I am very lucky and blessed to be able to play the leading man in a movie but I try to look at all this normally with not much expectations."

Filming for Mr Unbelievable started on Monday.

In his first scene, Chen had to cry by the beach, something he said was a "tall order".

"It was 7am in the morning and the director said, 'Cry!' I was like, 'How do I cry so early in the morning'?" Chen said with a laugh.


"So I listened to the sad Chinese love song (Waiting For You Till My Heart Aches) for a few minutes and cried within one take."

Chen also said that there are some songwriters who are keen to pen a few tracks for him. He does not rule out the idea of releasing an album but thinks that it may not happen.

The pragmatic veteran said matter-of-factly: "If a label wants to sign me, it will be great. However, these days, no one buys albums anymore, everyone just downloads songs."

Chen, who welcomed his son Genghis with his China-born wife Bao Xiao Hui, 30, in June, said that Genghis might appear in Mr Unbelievable as the infant version of his character - together with a special appearance by the famous vegetable referenced in the song.

The first-time dad added: "The scene will be of an abandoned baby in a basket by the road, with a piece of broccoli next to him. You will get to see my son in that scene as my mini-me."

Tosh Zhang opens up 
on the Lingo Lingo hoo-ha

Last month, Tosh Zhang found himself in the middle of a mini maelstrom when the Lingo Lingo music video (MV) he starred in drew flak from netizens for portraying a flamboyant, unrealistic lifestyle while celebrating Singlish.

It features the 26-year-old local actor-performer and his entourage rapping in Singlish in the context of supercars and a private jet.

Speaking about the backlash for the first time yesterday, Zhang told TNP: "Actually, I don't totally disagree with some of the things that netizens have commented on. We are talking about SG50, (yet) we have sports cars and all in the MV, so maybe it didn't really gel with Singaporeans."

He added: "However, when I was doing it, I was trying to help the director realise his vision as it is his first MV. It's not right for me to ask him to change stuff as it is his project."

Zhang also clarified that he only penned the lyrics for the parts he performed in the song, and not the whole song.

He said that he is not very affected by the hoo-ha surrounding Lingo Lingo, adding: "So far, the people who listen to my music know my music style, and my track record has been good. The songs I produce do not get flamed, so I feel that I have been doing well."

Zhang plays Eric Kwek's fervent fan in Mr Unbelievable and hints that he will be sporting a nerdy image, complete with flowery shirts and a centre-parted hairstyle.

He said: "I will keep it a secret for now, 
but it won't be like anything you have seen before."

Man arrested for threatening wife in Serangoon flat

Neighbour says the couple were often heard quarrelling in their Serangoon flat

A man was arrested on Wednesday morning for allegedly intimidating his wife in a Serangoon flat.

Police received a call at about 11.35am requesting assistance, reported Shin Min Daily News yesterday.

The 31-year-old man was quarrelling with his Filipino spouse at Block 233A, Serangoon Avenue 4.

A neighbour, who wanted to be known as Mr Liu, told the Chinese paper the man allegedly threatened to throw one of their daughters out of the window.

Terrified, his wife reported him to the police.

Mr Liu, 30, told the paper the couple have two daughters, a two-years old and eight-month old.

He said the couple were often heard quarrelling in their flat, sometimes past midnight.

Added Mr Liu: "On the day before, I saw both of them quarrelling in front of their unit.

"After quarrelling, the wife left in a fit of anger."


Mr Liu said that the man previously worked as a delivery man but seemed to be unemployed now as he would frequently see the couple at home.

The wife declined to talk to Shin Min when approached on Wednesday.

She said: "This is a family matter. I do not wish to comment (on the incident)."

Yesterday, a police spokesman told The New Paper a man had been arrested for criminal intimidation.

Investigations are ongoing.

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