17 Mar – Former Singapore journalist-turned-filmmaker Kelvin Tong ("The Maid", "Men In White") delivers a new genre on his plate - action thriller "Kidnapper" about a poor taxi driver whose son gets kidnapped by an ex-convict and is forced to fork out S$1 million within 36 hours.
Starring Christopher Lee, Phyllis Quek, Malaysian deejay-actor Jack Lim, and 11-year-old Jerald Tan, it is a film where the director claims has no stuntmen or filmmaking tricks in the process. All of the actors willingly took on the physical challenges posed onto them, for instance when the kidnapper (Lim) threatens the child (Tan) and throws him against a wall. "It's a real HDB wall" said Tong, who was impressed with their performance that he joked about a temptation to label the film - "no special effects!" There was also another scene where Lim and Tan had to jump from the roof of one container to another, with no safety net.
According to Tong during the "Kidnapper" press conference held recently, "This is my most sadistic film and it's up there with 'The Maid' which is an incredibly brutal shoot. There's more physical hazard, where actors are doing real fights and stunts and even a kid is pulled into the equation as a hostage. I want audiences to feel scared. You can't do those old Hong Kong kidnapping films where you open a manila envelope and it's a finger. That doesn't cut it anymore. We also can't do 'Taken', because guess what, the father is a CIA agent so he's got super computers and more firepower! 'Kidnapper' is a point of view through the windscreen of a taxi driver. So I thought it'd be fun. To me, I consider ransom the best out of the whole genre of kidnapping films."
In terms of his next project, the 37-year-old director could very well find himself at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival as a producer of the upcoming Korea-Singapore co-production, "The Host 2", sequel to the 2006 monster hit by Bong Joon-ho. Tong revealed that the collaboration is now at the final scripting stage and that it could start shooting in July.
"We are trying to pull together two different film industries, two different sets of governments, two different sets of private investors with very different ideas on how equity works across different markets. It's a very tedious process, but we're optimistic," said Tong.
"Kidnapper" opens in Singapore on 18 March and Malaysia on 13 May 2010!