Movie script changed just for Dr Jia Jia

SINGAPORE - He may have landed a plum role in a movie, but a career in showbiz is not on the cards for local YouTube star Dr Jia Jia.

Dr Jia Jia, seven, whose real name is Chua Jin Sen, plays the son of a taxi driver in Taxi! Taxi!, which opens in cinemas next Thursday.

The movie was inspired by best-selling book Diary Of A Taxi Driver: True Stories From Singapore's Most Educated Cabdriver, a real-life account by blogger Dr Cai Mingjie.

The film also stars local comedians Mark Lee, Gurmit Singh and local actress Jazreel Low.

Jin Sen rose to fame late last year through a series of Singlish comedy skits that also feature his older brother Jin Chou, 12. The pair have more than eight million views on their YouTube channel and more than 26,000 "likes" on their Facebook page.

Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of the movie's press conference yesterday, Jin Sen's mother, Mrs Caren Chua, played down talk that Taxi! Taxi! would be the start of Jin Sen's showbiz career.

The forthcoming but camera-shy 43-year-old housewife said she and her husband initially had reservations about accepting the movie offer.

"We thought about it for quite a while because we were unsure if we should let Jia Jia enter the entertainment industry," she said in a mix of English and Mandarin.

"But eventually, we accepted the offer because we felt it was a rare opportunity for him to learn things that will never be taught in school."

Her worries were also allayed by the sincerity of Chan Pui Yin, one of the movie's producers.

"She showed us the script and was willing to hear us out, even revising the script to suit Jia Jia's real-life personality," she said.

"This was important to us because we do not want Jia Jia to just 'show face' in a movie. My husband said that would be like lying to the audience."

When school re-opens next Wednesday, Jin Sen will begin Primary 2 at Maha Bodhi School not only as a YouTube star but also as a movie star. Mrs Chua laughed this off.

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