Adrian Pang has played a variety of roles throughout his showbiz career that spanned almost two decades.But never did he expect that he'd be asked to play a priest.
"Do I look like a priest? What kind of research can I do for the role?" Pang told M, laughing.
"But Kelvin looked at me and went 'priest'. He thinks I'm born to play one!"
Pang, 48, was talking about his new film role in Kelvin Tong's upcoming horror film, The Faith Of Anna Waters, at a press event at The Ritz-Carlton on Monday.
Starring Hollywood actors Elizabeth Rice and Matthew Settle, it follows Jamie (Rice) in her attempts to solve her sister's mysterious suicide.
The horror is scheduled for release next year, and also features actress-host Jaymee Ong and Australian actors Colin Borgonon and Adina Herz.
Pang plays a Jesuit priest called Father Matthew.
"He's troubled. There's been some strange things going on where his church website has been hacked by something that's not of this world.
"He goes on this investigative quest that leads him to a place he never expected."
Pang spoke to M about getting spooked, his ultimate horror movies and why he had let go of the Hollywood dream.
DO YOU LIKE HORROR MOVIES?
I used to be a real wuss as a kid and never watched them. But I think my threshold has gone up somehow. Now I absolutely love the genre. I love to be scared out of my wits. My all-time favourite is William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973). It's not just a horror, but a psychological thriller. It is so well-crafted and the characters are so complex. It's scary as hell, and very unsettling - it just keeps on playing on your mind. Just thinking about it makes my hair stand! It's a movie I'd want to watch with my two sons as well.
IS THE FAITH OF ANNA WATERS JUST AS UNSETTLING?
I think so. Audiences these days expect certain boxes to be ticked. I dare say, just from the script alone, those boxes will be well-ticked. But knowing the kind of film-maker Kelvin is and his influences, I'm sure he'll craft something sophisticated and not just a shock horror film.
YOU HAVE ACTED IN HOLLYWOOD FILMS. WHY NOT PURSUE THE HOLLYWOOD CAREER?
Oh my gosh. You don't know all the offers I have to turn down. But Singapore is my home. My first love is still theatre, so that has been my main focus the last five years. I'm just a working actor, so to be able to do a film once in a while, I feel very lucky. I'm grateful to still be working, to continue what I love to do, and to still have new experiences like this.
HOW WELL DO YOU THINK THIS MOVIE WILL DO? DO YOU THINK IT WILL DO WELL OVERSEAS?
Kelvin has been very smart about honing his craft over the years and making the genre films that he has, so now he's able to do something on a bigger scale. His first horror movie, The Maid, was very successful regionally. And I'm sure with the great team he's assembled for this, he has another film that has legs.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE LOCAL FILM INDUSTRY IS FARING?
We need to still have a much more concerted push. One film does not an industry make. We need more opportunities to get films to be seen globally. We have to tell stories that are not just identifiable to the Singapore audience, but we need to tell stories that can travel. Something like Faith has commercial accessibility. We need to think more like that.
This article was published on Sept 3 in The New Paper.
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