The actor and radio personality on his role in the new movie Take Me To Dinner.
Actor and prominent radio personality Patrick Teoh revealed that he had been ragging long-time friend Gavin Yap for ... well, a long time to bring his film ideas to life. When asked what took Yap so long to come up with a feature film, he gave one simple reason with his trademark deadpan delivery: “Because he’s a lazy b*stard.”
“Both of us have been talking about making this movie for about five, six years now,” Teoh said in an interview in Petaling Jaya recently. “It’s a matter of timing. He finally had the time do sit down and do it last year. He said if he didn’t do it then, then it will probably never happen. He called me up and asked if I wanted to do it and I said ‘let’s go’.”
Actor and theatre director Yap will make his feature film debut with Take Me To Dinner, a drama starring Teoh and Susan Lankester. The film tells the story of Edward, an ageing contract killer contemplating retirement.
“My character Edward starts to think about his life. He is estranged from his child because of his work and he lost his marriage. Then he realises that he doesn’t want to do the work anymore. So he accepts one more contract and thinks that would be it,” said Teoh.
Problems arise when Edward unexpectedly falls in love with his last contract.
“He falls in love with his contract, a woman (played by Lankester). Because of that, he decides to pull out from the deal that he initially agreed to, which is to kill the woman.”
But it’s not easy for Edward to get out of the contract.
“Among the ‘contractors’, it’s a terrible thing to do when you pull out from a contract. When that happens, to protect the interest of others in the profession, the contractors have to kill Edward,” he explained.
Another problem for Edward is that he can’t get out of his job alive.
“It’s also in the contractors’ code that nobody can quit, and if anyone decides to do so, the others have to kill that person in order to protect their secrets.”
He added: “So Edward calls his friends – a group of contractors – and says, ‘I’m going to have my dinner now.’ It’s a code for his friends to take him to his last supper.”
Edward’s group of contractor friends are played by theatre regulars Thor Kah Hoong, U-En Ng, Ben Tan and Michael Chen. Teoh stressed that his character is not the typical Hollywood depiction of an assassin.
“To say that I play an assassin might give the audience the impression that Take Me To Dinner is an action-packed film with Chow Yun-Fat rolling around going bang bang bang. If you pay my character enough, he will either kill somebody for you or break his arms. He is actually a gangster.”
Take Me To Dinner was shot in a period of 12 days at various locations in Kuala Lumpur.
“To say it was shot on a low budget is an overstatement. It was actually shot with no budget at all. Everybody worked on the film as a project of passion. Nobody was getting paid.”
Whether or not he eventually gets paid, Teoh said it doesn’t matter. He simply relished the opportunity to work with Yap again.
“As a writer and director, Gavin is very weird. Which is one of the reasons I like to work with him. Take Me To Dinner could have easily become a very commercial blood and gore kind of film. But Gavin’s ideas are sometimes quite dark and different. I like it.”
It also helps that Teoh has a passion for acting.
“You do it for the love of the craft. If the script is very appealing, then you would do it without considering how much you’re getting paid for it. Still, you do hope that the story you tell will be able to touch the audiences’ hearts and put bums on seats in cinemas.”
The radio deejay also shared what song he thinks best describes Take Me To Dinner: “The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.”
Take Me To Dinner opens in selected GSC cinemas on March 13.