Singapore's favourite fictional army boys are back in camp starting this week to shoot the third instalment of the popular national service movie series, Ah Boys To Men.
A new recruit was spotted among the original Ah Boys at a press conference on Tuesday for Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen, held at Naval Diving Unit in Sembawang. He is 27-year-old Hong Kong actor Wesley Wong, whose parents are veteran stars Melvin Wong and Angie Chiu Nga Chi.
He says candidly: "Some people get to know to me because of my parents, but through this movie I hope audiences will get to know more about Wesley the actor.
"In the past, I didn't like to be known as the second-generation of famous celebrity parents. I thought about it and they are my parents and I'm proud to be their son."
His mother, in particular, was a huge star in the 1980s after starring opposite Chow Yun Fat in the drama series The Bund.
Wesley snagged the role of Black Dragon, a gangster recruit in the naval diving unit, in the new movie because of Wong.
Wong, 68, is the director of the Chinese movie company Grand Olympus Cultural Investment Group, which is investing in the movie.
Ah Boys 3's director Jack Neo says: "I was invited to the opening of Grand Olympus in Guangzhou, and there were many movie stars present. I saw Melvin, Angie and their son Wesley too.
"Later, they expressed interest to invest in Ah Boys To Men 3. They recommended Wesley to us. Wesley is an up-and-coming actor in Hong Kong. He's a value add to the 'unit'."
The $2.5 million production will see the return of the original Ah Boys such as Wang Weiliang and Joshua Tan, but in a different setting - the naval diving unit. The movie is slated for release during Chinese New Year next year.
Wesley has starred in four movies over the past two years, Chinese youth romance flick Happily Ever After (2009) and Sorry, I Love You (2014), a Chinese remake of the Korean drama I'm Sorry I Love You. His role in Ah Boys is his first since graduating with a master's degree in acting from the Beijing Film Academy earlier in June this year.
He says it was entirely his own decision to pursue acting as a career.
"My parents never took me to the filming set when I was young. They didn't want to influence me with their work and wanted me to find out my own passion," recalls Wesley, who decided to study at the Beijing Film Academy after graduating with a business degree from the University of Southern California.
Wong, who also attended the press conference, is fully supportive of his son's showbiz aspirations. "As long as Wesley likes what he's doing and is serious about learning his craft," says Wong, who had starred in shows such as The Legend Of Wonder Lady (1983) and Kindred Spirit (1995-1999).
Neither is he too worried about how his son would fare in an industry whose darker side was seen recently in a drug bust involving actor Jackie Chan's son Jaycee.
Wong says with a laugh: "There are temptations in every industry."
Wesley adds: "My father has told me there will be plenty of temptations out there. I'm full aware of the bad consequences of taking drugs as my dad, who used to be a pharmacist, has warned me about the harmful effects."
This article was published on Aug 27 in The Straits Times.
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