The behind-the-scenes drama of Upin & Ipin Jeng, Jeng, Jeng! deserves its own movie.
The live action movie – due for release in November – will feature beloved characters Upin and Ipin as their animated selves interacting with actress Puteri Balqis. Les Copaque Productions creative content director Ainon Ariff is coy about the film’s synopsis.
“That’s why the movie title has the line ‘Jeng, jeng, jeng!’ because we want it to be a surprise,” she said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Apart from Puteri Balqis, Upin & Ipin Jeng, Jeng, Jeng! also stars Awie, Sara Ali and Remy Ishak with Asyiela Putri as the voice of Upin and Ipin. Ainon shared that she directed the movie’s animated sequences while Erma Fatima was brought in to take care of the live action scenes.
The veteran filmmaker was tasked to replace an unnamed director who was first attached to the project back in 2013. According to Les Copaque Productions managing director Burhanuddin Md Radzi, they had enough material for a full-length movie then but decided it was not good enough for viewers.
“The first director didn’t do a good job. There were a lot of technical and acting requirements that the director did not accomplish.
“We didn’t want to release a movie based on what that director did. Making a quality production is very important to us, so we made a decision to get rid of the previous director’s work and start from scratch again,” he explained.
Burhanuddin refused to name the director, though. He also didn’t want to reveal how much money was lost on the scrapped project.
“Of course we made a loss financially but it doesn’t matter. What’s really important is giving the audience a movie they deserve.”
The production for the second attempt of Upin & Ipin Jeng, Jeng, Jeng! was also delayed for a year because Awie was busy with other matters. Ainon said that Awie is an important part of the movie as part of the plot is inspired by him.
“We needed an actor who could sing and also make kids laugh. There is a concert sequence ... that is all we can share for now,” Ainon teased.
The upcoming movie has a RM4mil production cost which includes funding from National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas). Upin & Ipin Jeng, Jeng, Jeng! is also Les Copaque’s collaborative effort with KRU Studios.
Ainon believes Upin and Ipin’s massive fan base will be able to draw in the crowd to meet box office expectations. Burhanuddin is hoping to hit the RM20mil mark with this movie.
A minute-long teaser trailer was released in January and it has garnered over 2.4 million views on YouTube.
For the uninitiated, Upin and Ipin are a pair of twins living in a village with grandmother Uda and older sister Ros. The animated TV series first made its debut in 2007.
It has spawned eight seasons, winning viewers in countries like Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Hong Kong and even has a RM700mil theme park in the making.