The leads of 'In The Dark': Taiwanese actor Wang Po-Chieh (left) and local actress Candy Lee.
The director and cast of In The Dark had to face their fears while filming the movie.
IF you’re afraid of ghosts, then maybe the best way to conquer your fears is by making a supernatural flick.
After a six-year hiatus from the movie scene, critically-acclaimed Malaysian director Yeo Joon Han decided to try his hand at the horror genre, and made Mandarin-language spine-chiller titled In The Dark, which explores how people deal with the death of their loved ones and having the deceased return to haunt them.
During a recent press conference to promote the movie, Yeo, together with his lead actors Wang Po-Chieh and Candy Lee, revealed how they had to cast their own fears aside and plunge head-long into the paranormal project.
Yeo explained how he made sure that he doesn’t get any “unwanted visitors” while filming the movie. “Some people believe that one shouldn’t take corner rooms or end-lots or even rooms next to the lift. So, I took extra care to ensure that they didn’t allocate me a room like that,” he explained. “Wang Po-Chieh, on the other hand, had no such concerns. All he wanted was a quiet place, so he was happy to take the end-suite.”
“Nobody told me anything as they didn’t want to scare me unnecessarily. In fact, I stayed there happily for two whole months and didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary,” said 24-year-old Wang who already has 17 film credits to his name including Teddy Chan’s Bodyguards And Assassins (2009) and Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi (2012). Wang burst onto the scene in 2008 when he was named Best New Talent at the 2008 Taipei Film Festival for coming-of-age Taiwanese flick Winds Of September, which won for Best Film at the Asian New Talent Awards of the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Sharing a suite with his Taiwanese assistant, Wang recalled how they had two separate rooms which led to a common living area. “An amulet was set on table for protection, but the cleaner had unknowingly removed it while dusting the area. That same night, my suite-mate heard voices coming from my room and assumed that I had invited some friends over. But I wasn’t even in the room that night! It was getting late so I had stayed over at a friend’s place instead. When he learnt about it the next day, he quickly retrieved the amulet and put it back on the table. After that, everything was peaceful again,” said Wang, who portrays a young man who tries to “communicate” with his dead lover.
Sexy starlet Lee, who plays a piano teacher haunted by a former student, also had some brushes with the otherworldly. In fact, she probably had the scariest experience while on set.
“When I was filming the movie, I started to suffer from frequent nightmares. There were ghosts invading my dreams, and I only realised much later that they were asking me to help them. In the end, I had to seek help from a psychic medium to put an end to it,” she said.
Yeo admitted that he was initially taken aback by the response from viewers during earlier screenings of the movie.
“I was already very nervous to begin with. So, when I heard the audience breaking into laughter, I started to get a bit worried. Then, I realized that I had actually written in some comedic material. So, that was a huge relief for me,” shared Yeo, whose English-language debut comedy film Sell Out! (2008) did not do well at the local box office, despite winning the Young Cinema Award for Alternative Vision at the 2008 Venice Film Festival 2008 and the NETPAC Award at the Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Festival.
After making it through a scary movie for his first Mandarin-language effort, director Yeo says he is now keen to return to his comedy roots for future projects, declaring: “I prefer to make people laugh!”
In The Dark is now haunting local cinemas nationwide.