SINGAPORE - He plays a diver in Jack Neo's movie Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen, but local actor Maxi Lim did not even know how to swim before the movie.
The 26-year-old said: "I was always uncomfortable in water and I was very scared that I would drown. During training, I kept asking the other Ah Boys to look out for me.
"The instructor who taught me was very patient and took the time to make sure that I knew every step before moving on. Sometimes, I would do the same action in water for several hours before learning the next one."
The Ah Boys were speaking to local media at the press conference at Sembawang Camp yesterday.
The third instalment of the phenomenally successful Ah Boys To Men movies brings the original cast back and focuses on the tough training that trainees of the Naval Diving Unit go through to become elite frogmen.
The Ah Boys may not be cast in the same roles as the first two movies and the producers will announce their roles for this instalment later.
The $2.5 million film, which started shooting on Monday, is to be released during Chinese New Year.
To prepare for the movie, the cast trained rigorously for six weeks, a process that they said toughened them physically and mentally.
Ah Boys lead Wang Weiliang, 27, recalled how the cast was asked to run 12km at 7am on their second day of training.
He said in Mandarin: "We were told that it was a slow jog. We didn't expect to run 12km. It was so tiring and really tested us. It's all about persevering mentally. It's all in the mind."
Fellow Ah Boys actor Charlie Goh, 26, laughed and chipped in: "I could barely pass my 2.4km run. Can you imagine asking us to run 12km? There were people who puked halfway."
Lim had it the toughest during the run as he felt sick and dehydrated. He did not complete it and had to be sent to hospital in a wheelchair.
New actor Bao Er Cong, also known as Bunz, suffered from motion sickness while out at sea for training.
The 27-year-old, who was last seen in Neo's The Lion Men movies early this year, was so seasick during training that he had to get out of the water to vomit before immediately diving in again.
Jaspers Lai, 27, who played the main villain in The Lion Men, suffered a nosebleed after diving too deep.
He said: "I came out of the water and my eye mask was filled with blood. I didn't notice it until the guys told me."
The Ah Boys also have to watch their diet to get into shape quickly.
Tosh Zhang, 25, who will play a warrant officer in the movie, said: "It has come to a point when we are eating purely for nutrition. These days, we eat only boiled chicken and vegetables."
Joshua Tan, 24, added: "Basically, we have to give up everything that is tasty. No oily or fried food for us."
The Ah Boys, who have forged a close friendship, encourage each other when anyone is about to give up.
Wang revealed that he stopped Lim from drinking milk tea when he saw him trying to cheat on his diet on Monday.
But the actors will finally be able to indulge when filming wraps up next month.
Tan said: "I have been planning this. Once the director shouts 'cut', I am going to have a big meal of burger and chips, with a cold glass of beer. Then I'll eat roti prata followed by ice-cream."
Wesley Wong: I’m not afraid of the training
It is his first movie after graduating with a master's degree from the Beijing Film Academy recently.
And fresh-faced Hong Kong actor Wesley Wong, 27, will take on the challenge of portraying a gangster trainee in local director Jack Neo's film Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen.
The son of famous Hong Kong stars Melvin Wong and Angie Chiu is excited to be working with Neo.
The good-looker said: "I have watched Jack Neo's old movies such as I Not Stupid and Ah Boys To Men in the past, and I enjoyed them.
"I have only been training for a week so far as I just came here, but everyone has been treating me very well. I feel very welcomed into the family."
Wong, who is an avid sports lover, plays basketball and badminton regularly and is not afraid of the tough training ahead despite hearing about the obstacles from the other actors.
He said: "I have been working out and watching my diet all along, so it should be okay.
"I am not too stressed as I am sure Jack Neo will guide me well."
Before this, Wong had bit parts in Chinese movie Sorry, I Love You and Hong Kong film Happily Ever After.
On the complicated entertainment industry in Hong Kong and the region, Wong said he had been offered cigarettes and other vices before.
Just say no
But, as his father had warned him about such temptations since he was young, Wong was able to make the right decision and reject them.
He said: "I wouldn't touch (such) stuff. I studied in the US and it was not such a big issue overseas, so there were a lot of temptations. But I just said no to them."
This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
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