Michelle Chong back in Noose

SINGAPORE - "Tanks" goodness the funny bimbo "sistel" Barbarella will be back soon. "Everybirdy" seems to love her very much.

Yes, Michelle Chong will return to star in the latest season of comedy sketch show The Noose after being absent from the popular TV show for one year.

Next week the actress-director starts shooting episodes for Season 7 of the Channel 5 programme, which will premiere in April. She tells this to Life! in an exclusive interview, during which she also reveals that plans are underway for a movie about Chinese KTV girl Lulu, another of her beloved Noose characters.

Chong, 36, says that she is "very excited about creating new material" for cartoonish character stereotypes including Barbarella, the ditsy girl who has a penchant for dating Caucasian men, and Filipino maid Leticia Bongnino.

"Even now at parties, people are still saying 'Good morning, Ma'am, good morning Sir, my name is Leticia', whenever they see me.

"And I still see people writing things like 'Tanks everybirdy' and 'sistels' in posts on Instagram, which are references to Barbarella's accent. So I think people are still definitely interested in seeing these characters again."

After five seasons of doing the show, Chong had left the show as she wanted to spend more time behind the camera to make movies.

Last year, she made coming-of-age road movie 3 Peas In A Pod. It was her second film following her debut feature Already Famous, which was released in 2011.

Coming up in Season 7, theatre actress Siti Khalijah Zainal, better known as Siti K, is also joining the existing ensemble which includes Chua Enlai, Alaric Tay, Judee Tan and Suhaimi Yusof.

The producers of The Noose had approached Chong to see if she would be available for Season 7, she says, and asked if she could meet them to discuss a possible return.

As she had wanted to make a movie based on the character of Lulu "for a very long time", she agreed to the meeting as it "would be a very good opportunity" to ask for the character's licence rights to work on this project.

That meeting went well and "we managed to work something out", she says.

Which means that she will be working on a movie centred on Lulu "sometime later this year", she adds.

"Actually, I wanted to do a movie about Barbarella at first, but it's going to be about Lulu, because that is apparently what my fans want to see.

"I asked my followers on Instagram and Twitter which movie they would want to see between the two characters and more than 80 per cent chose Lulu. I guess the issues surrounding the Chinese national are more pertinent now than the SPG?" she says with a laugh, referring to the acronym for sarong party girl, slang for a local girl who exclusively dates Caucasian men.

As for the upcoming season of The Noose, she will be writing more and also be credited as a writer.

She says: "I did say before that I will return to act in front of the camera only if I can do more creative stuff and be part of the collaborative process more. This arrangement allows me to do just that, so it's great."

Already, she has "many ideas" for her characters and has begun writing.

"The trick is to keep them current so I'm pacing myself because these new episodes air only in April," she says.

University student and fan of The Noose, Ms Lorraine Chen, 22, is delighted at the prospect of seeing Chong's performance in the show again.

She says: "I think the show was not the same without Michelle Chong. Her characters are the best in the whole show and even though the show keeps adding new characters, they're not as funny as Barbarella or Leticia."

The Noose Season 7 airs on Channel 5 on April 1 at 8.30pm.


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