Movies

Published: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 7:42:57 AM

A new look for A-Niu

New challenge: While he is often cast as simple-minded characters, A-niu says he now wants to take on different roles.

New challenge: While he is often cast as simple-minded characters, A-niu says he now wants to take on different roles.

A-niu says goodbye to crooked teeth.

Malaysian singer-actor A-niu’s latest Chinese New Year comedy will be the last time you see his trademark crooked teeth on the big screen.

A-niu says he had 16 of his crooked teeth removed after wrapping up the filming for his latest flick, Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!, directed by Tan Boon Huat.

A visit to the dentist had revealed that his teeth were decaying, says the 38-year-old.

He revealed he was wearing temporary dentures and will do so until he can get his tooth implants – a process that might take 15 months, including time for his gums to heal.

In Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!, which opens today, he plays autistic kampung youth Ah Huat. While Ah Huat cannot express himself well, he has a knack for brewing good coffee. He goes through a series of events in order to achieve happiness and success, while staying true to his honest, down-to-earth nature.

Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat Ah! also stars Joyce Cheng.
Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat! also stars Joyce Cheng.

While he is often cast as simple-minded characters, A-niu says he now wants to take on different roles.

“I want to try new roles. I can take on different roles. I am willing to do a lot of things,” he says.

Hong Kong singer-actress Joyce Cheng, who plays the female lead in the film, adds: “I think after he straightens out his teeth, he can try out stylish and handsome roles.”

While A-niu is seeking more stylish roles, Cheng, 26, had gone in the opposite direction, sporting a bad do, thick eyebrows and even a moustache in the film as his love interest Xiaoping.

Cheng’s willingness to “uglify” herself is precisely the reason she was picked for the role, says A-niu.

Cheng, the daughter of veteran actor Adam Cheng and the late comedienne Lydia Sum, has been working on her singing career in Hong Kong in recent years.

In December last year, she released an album, The Voice Of Love, with Cantonese tracks.

Huat Ah! marks the first time she is acting in Mandarin, as well as a Singapore-Malaysia co-production, and she says that she was nervous about doing it. As she was not familiar with Malaysian culture, A-niu had to take her around to visit the country’s kampungs.

On her first time working with A-niu, Cheng says she had thought initially that he had a “hyperactive” personality from watching his previous shows.

“After meeting him, I realised that our personalities were the opposite of each other,” she says. “It turns out that I’m the hyperactive one and he has a ‘zen’ quality, just like a big brother.”

Singapore artiste Marcus Chin, who has worked with A-niu previously in another two films, The Wedding Diary (2012) and The Wedding Diary II (2013), is also in the movie, playing A-niu’s grandfather.

One of A-niu’s favourite scenes is a heart-wrenching one, in which Chin tries to stop his daughter from abandoning Ah Huat.

Family togetherness, unlike in the film, comes first for the two leads this Chinese New Year. A-niu, who is divorced, went back to his hometown to spend time with his 13-year-old daughter. “I’ve been busy for the past one to two years. Suddenly, I realised my daughter is a teenager, taller than me and in high school. It’s scary.”

Similarly, Cheng says: “There are some relatives I haven’t seen in two years and they’re all in Hong Kong now, so I feel I should spend time with them. Family is very important to me.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat! opens in cinemas nationwide on Feb 6.

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, A Niu, Huat Ah Huat Ah Huat Ah, Tan Boon Huat

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