Irene Ang enjoys working with directors who accept input and alternative views from performers. — ART CHEN/The Star
Never one to back away from a challenge, Irene Ang takes on new ones in Bullets Over Petaling Street.
HERE in Malaysia, Irene Ang is definitely best known for her portrayal of Rosie Phua, the colourful and colourfully-attired wife of Singapore’s most beloved contractor, Phua Chu Kang.
It is a role that she has played for some 15 years; from MediaCorp’s TV sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd (1997-2007) and ntv7’s Phua Chu Kang Sdn Bhd (2009-2010) to Phua Chu Kang The Musical (2005) and Phua Chu Kang The Movie (2010). The role even won her Best Comedy Performance By An Actress at the Asian Television Awards in 2002.
Hence, it came as no surprise when Ang decided to crack a joke about her most recognised role in her latest movie, Bullets Over Petaling Street.
“I like working with directors who can accept input and are willing to try out alternative ideas. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, at least we tried,” mused Ang, who enjoys adding her own take to the roles she plays.
In the made-in-Malaysia movie, Ang plays a well-to-do lady named Jun Po whose elder son Xie Da Xiang (Chen Han Wei) is a restaurateur and younger son Sa Pao (William San) is a gang boss.
“Chen is only one year younger than me, and they cast him as the son and made me play the mother,” remarked Ang, 45, in mock consternation, when asked comment on the the casting.
While she is CEO of FLY Entertainment, which manages more than 50 artistes, Ang does not mind supporting or minor roles. “I don’t always have to play the lead. What matters to me is an interesting script or a challenging character,” she said in an interview late last month.
Sipping red wine as she alternated effortlessly between English and Mandarin, Ang chuckled at how she had to speak Cantonese in the action comedy. “When I started in showbiz, I could only speak English well. When people criticised my command of Mandarin, I just took the challenge head-on and did more shows in Chinese. I’ve never spoken as much Cantonese as I did in this movie. I hope everybody enjoys it.”
Jointly directed by Hong Kong-born movie producer Sampson Yuen and award-winning local stage director Ho Shih Phin, Bullets Over Petaling Street revolves around a fashion-loving actress named Angel (Debbie Goh) who unexpectedly finds herself at the helm of a local triad and learns to deal with gangland power struggles.
When asked who was the funniest character on the set, Ang immediately pointed to beauty queen-turned-actress Goh. “Debbie was so funny that she made everyone laugh and kept things light-hearted during the shoot. The thing is she exudes such star quality yet she is so ‘real’ and down-to-earth.”
Ang then pointed to a few images in her smartphone showing the girls playing Goh’s bumbling bodyguards having a breather between takes. “There’s a bed for us to rest on while we wait for our scenes, and you won’t believe how these three girls would take up all the space on the bed. It was really quite amusing to see how Debbie has to squeeze in with them. Sometimes, she would just end up sitting on the floor.”
A joint project by Juita Viden, Golden Screen Cinemas and The Star, the RM3.3mil action comedy is produced by Juita Entertainment and distributed by GSC Movies with Star RFM 988 as the official radio station.
The movie also features Steve Yap, Berg Lee, Ernest Chong, Freddie Wong, Kelvin Leong and 988 deejays KK Wong and Cheryl Lee.
> Bullets Over Petaling Street is now showing in cinemas nationwide.