IPOH, Perak - Ipoh City has become a popular choice among international filmmakers for its scenic locations.
Recently, a Hong Kong production entitled Hello Babies, costing HK40 million (S$6.48 million), was filmed at two locations here.
The movie was A, distributed by Lotus Five Star and its marketing partner RAM Entertainment Sdn Bhd.
The movie was shot at Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng and the Foh San Restaurant in Ipoh.
Kok, when interviewed, said this was the second time Hello Babies was filmed in the Gaharu Tea Valley. The first was in July.
"We chose Perak due to its beautiful, unspoilt scenery and limestone hills. Gaharu Tea Valley was selected for its beautiful landscape with its tea plantation and limestone hills in the background," he said.
Another shooting venue was the Leong Sin Nam Street here because of its heritage buildings which will suit the Chinese New Year celebration scene.
"The Foh San Restaurant is the last place for shooting scenes on making yee sang," he said.
Kok added that the movie will be released by mid-January next year, to coincide with Chinese New Year (CNY) as the story was about CNY.
On the first day of filming, the crew, consisting of director Vincent Kok, producer and cast Raymond Wong, and cast Eric Tsang, flew down from Hong Kong, to film a part of the movie in the Gaharu Tea Valley. The next day, they were seen on the streets of Leong Sin Nam for a merry-making scene with a lion dance and fire crackers.
Three hundred locals were employed as extras for the scene.
The crew then adjourned to the well-known Chinese dim sum restaurant, Foh San, in Leong Sin Nam Street, to film the final part before returning to Hong Kong.
Wong, meanwhile, said he approached veteran comedy actor Eric Tsang for the part of his rival and friend in the movie to dispel rumours that both of them had been competing for roles in real life in the Hong Kong filming industry.
In the movie, Wong and Tsang are friends who enjoy competing with one another in their daily affairs.
As a comedian himself, Tsang said he decided to work on Hello Babies as his swansong as he planned to retire after completing this movie.
"I am already 60 years old, although I look young," he said tongue in cheek.
Another promising local actor Jack Lim (well-known as Ah Beng in the movie Ah Beng The Movie: 3 Wishes ) as a reporter in Hello Babies.
Lim said it was a good experience for him to act with veteran actors from Hong Kong. He taught them to speak "Malaysianise" Cantonese for their roles.
Hello Babies is a story of couples of different ages, different backgrounds and different attitudes, and how they deal with the issue of procreation.
It is a crazy, funny and heartwarming tale that is perfect for Chinese New Year.