A tiny Hong Kong movie about partying, boozing and promiscuous lifestyle is making waves in Hong Kong - even before the cameras have started rolling.
The hype surrounding Lan Kwai Fong 3, the highly-anticipated third-parter of the sexy film series set amid Hong Kong's most vibrant nightlife hub and revolving around the intertwined relationships of hard-partying attractive 20-somethings, has escalated in the last month.
Like its predecessors Lan Kwai Fong (2011) and last August's Lan Kwai Fong 2, it is slated to be a low-budget affair with no big names attached to its ensemble cast. Lan Kwai Fong was famously produced on a tight budget of HK$4.5 million (S$750,000), but emerged a surprise champion at the Hong Kong box office. In less than a month, it raked in HK$9 million.
In Singapore, Lan Kwai Fong was released in October 2011 by Golden Village with an M18 rating.
A spokesman from Golden Village told The New Paper that the film did "fairly well despite the lack of popular Hong Kong stars".
We look at why Lan Kwai Fong 3, tentatively set for release next year, is fast becoming the talk of the town...
THE DADA CHEN SAGA
Hong Kong starlet Dada Chen was set to become the leading lady of Lan Kwai Fong 3. A lensing ceremony for the film was held in the first week of August, which the 24-year-old attended.
But a few days later, the E-cup eye candy, who bagged Best Supporting Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her role in erotic comedy Vulgaria in April, announced on her Sina Weibo microblog that she is "quitting showbiz".
"Life has got too tiring, there is so much rumour-mongering, pressure and pain... I just want to go back to being a normal person," she wrote.
According to the Hong Kong media, she is, to date, uncontactable.
Rumours are rife though, that the reason for her quitting was displeasure over Lan Kwai Fong 3. A few media outlets said, however, that contrary to her statement, she has secretly signed on to another film project by Pang Ho Cheung, who had helmed the critically-acclaimed Vulgaria.
With Chen's exit, Lan Kwai Fong 3's filming schedule was thrown into disarray. Lan Kwai Fong 3's director Wilson Chin slammed Chen for her "irresponsibility" and made no bones that he'd be "seeking damages". The production crew searched for a replacement and 2011 Miss Hong Kong second-runner up Whitney Hui, who boasts an enviable 35D bustline, will now take on Chen's role.
BUSTY BABES HEAT UP AUDITION
It was supposed to be an audition organised by the producers of Lan Kwai Fong 3 to discover fresh acting talent.
But last month, the open casting call in Hong Kong's upscale residential area Kowloon Tong turned into a nosebleed-inducing flesh parade, with plenty of cleavage and bikinis on display.
Like a scene straight out of a crass reality TV series, there was even a wardrobe malfunction moment - models Aily and Amy, who collectively form modelling duo AD2, briefly created a stir when Aily's bra top started to slip off her 36F cups, revealing her nipples.
When reporters alerted the pair, they were nonchalant.
As Amy helped Aily adjust her outfit, she said: "This always happens, her (breasts) are so big."
According to Apple Daily Hong Kong, 40 aspiring actresses turned up for the event. Models Celia Kuo and Mika Siu are said to have already bagged roles in the film, while another modelling talent, Barbie Liu, was mocked by the media for showing off the flab around her waist.
Netizens on Facebook appeared to be rather disgusted by the overt flaunting at the event, with one writing that "Lan Kwai Fong 3 might as well be a Category 3 film", while another said the audition was "corrupting youths and degrading society".
WILSON 'PSY' CHIN
Rarely is the director the biggest star of a film, but it could very well be the case here.
With Chen out of the picture, chubby Hong Kong filmmaker-producer Chin, who's in his mid-40s, is now the bona fide face of the project.
He is, after all, recognised by many as Hong Kong's version of Psy.
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the South Korean rapper, Chin played Psy in a parody of Gangnam Style last October, to hilarious effect. The video clip, which has garnered more than two million views on YouTube and led users to praise his impersonation as "better than the original", also stars Chin's celebrity buddies Ekin Cheng, Leo Ku and Eric Tsang.
When the real Psy performed in Macau last December, Chin, decked out in his best Gangnam Style get-up, even played host. The two entertained the crowd by sharing the stage together.
A veteran producer of several TVB variety and game shows, Chin was the director of both Lan Kwai Fong and Lan Kwai Fong 2, but he hadn't had the good fortune of mimicking Psy then.
Today, he's a household name and all eyes will be on how he'll salvage the follow-up.
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