Apprentice cast's best memories of Cannes Film Festival
Cast of S'pore film proud to have made it to Cannes
When the cast of Apprentice found out that they were going to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France last month as the local film was competing in the Un Certain Regard section, there were more than a few screams of excitement.
It was a big deal for local actor Fir Rahman, 35, veteran Suria actress Mastura Ahmad, 49, and Malaysian actor Wan Hanafi Su, 66.
Especially so for Mastura, who was eager to rub shoulders with celebrities at the star-studded event.
PRESTIGIOUS: The cast and director of Apprentice at the Cannes Film Festival. PHOTO: AFP
She told The New Paper in an interview yesterday after Apprentice's press conference: "(Before going to Cannes), people commented on Instagram and said, 'Wow, if you see Kristen Stewart or Robert De Niro, say hi!'
"So I had this in mind that I was going to see them, maybe sit side by side.
"But no, it never happened."
Fir, however, managed to get a photo of someone famous when he was walking past the photo call for the comedy The Nice Guys.
"I went over and I thought, 'Wow, it's Ryan Gosling!' So I took out my phone and snapped a photo," said Fir, who uploaded it onto Instagram.
For Hanafi Su, his most memorable Cannes moment was when he walked out of the front entrance of the JW Marriott hotel to smoke a cigarette and was instead greeted by a group of photographers.
"Actually, they may have been waiting for Robert De Niro, who knows?" he said.
"But then they shouted for me, for my photograph."
Fir, who has a two-year-old son and two-month-old daughter, had a less glamorous experience.
He got blisters on both feet from wearing a new pair of shoes, and ended up walking barefoot back to the hotel during the first two days.
He said: "That's something I won't forget. The shoe problem."
But he added: "I felt proud (that I went to Cannes). I'm going to tell my grandchildren."
Fir would not have had such an opportunity if he had turned down Apprentice for a career on television across the Causeway in 2014.
After his lead role on hit Malaysian drama Ramadan Jangan Pergi in 2014, Fir was offered roles on three Malaysian television productions.
Due to scheduling conflicts, he rejected them and chose to take on his first feature film with his lead role in Apprentice, instead.
Directed by Boo Junfeng and opening here on June 30, the film has him playing protagonist Aiman, a correctional officer who becomes the apprentice of Rahim (Hanafi Su), a prison's chief executioner.
"It was a straightforward decision," said Fir. "I feel so blessed. (It was) my first film and it went to Cannes."
But making Apprentice was challenging for the actors.
To prepare for their roles, Fir and Hanafi Su spoke to an ex-executioner, former prison counsellor and the family of a man who was hung several years before.
Hanafi Su said: "You've got to understand your character. But while doing that, I always remind myself and my co-star, make sure you do it sincerely."
Certain scenes took several hours to film, requiring the actors to remain emotionally-charged for the entire period.
"I was tired because (a crucial scene) was shot at 3am," Fir recalled.
"But I knew that it was an important scene. So I prepared myself for it... and for that whole day, I was just emotional."
On filming an argument with Aiman, Mastura - who plays Aiman's sister - said: "That moment, that first take... I just wanted to go to him and bite his arm... I was so angry."