Ah Boys taking the plunge

Ah Boys taking the plunge
The stars of Ah Boys To Men comprising (from left) Wang Weiliang, Maxi Lim, Tosh Zhang and Noah Yap (seated).

Director Jack Neo will put his reunited Ah Boys To Men cast through "hell training" to play naval divers - albeit not as tough as the real deal that Singapore's special forces experience.

Ah Boys To Frogmen, scheduled to start shooting in August, will put the actors in Singapore's Naval Diving Unit where they will be seen undergoing vigorous military training.

Neo, 54, tells Life!: "The boys will definitely have to go through training to prepare themselves for their roles and also take some courses to learn diving. It will be very challenging for sure.

"Everyone always talks about how great the US Navy Seals are, so this will be a good way to show movie audiences that in Singapore, we have their equivalent.

"The training required for our naval diving unit is one of the toughest among all the armed forces here, so we definitely don't 'lose out' in terms of what we can do."

The $2.5-million project is a spin-off of the massively popular Ah Boys To Men film, released in two parts, about a group of army recruits in basic military training.

Ah Boys To Men Part 1 and 2 are Singapore's highest grossing films of all time: Part 1, released in November 2012, earned $6.2 million. The second part, which premiered in February last year, grossed $7.9 million at the box office.

Actor Wang Weiliang is among the original Ah Boys To Men cast appearing in the new film. The other confirmed names are Tosh Zhang, Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim and Noah Yap.

Says Wang, 26: "Director Neo already told us that we will have to go through 'hell training'. He hasn't provided us details yet, just that we will be needing a lot of physical energy.

"It definitely won't be as easy as it was for the Ah Boys To Men movies."

As the cast may have to show quite a bit of skin in the new film due to its naval setting, Wang is already hard at work bulking himself up.

"I was quite skinny in the Ah Boys To Men movies, so I hope to be a bit more muscular this time around and present a new image," says the actor, who now hits the gym about three times a week.

Will he have a six-pack of abs then? "I'm working very hard on that now," he says with a laugh.

"I'm not afraid of the water, so it will be a lot of fun. No matter how tough it may be, I hope to do most of the stuff on my own and not with a stunt double, so that I can experience it all for myself," he says, adding that he is "very excited" about the project.

The Republic of Singapore Navy is not financially backing the film, says Neo, but will "provide support" for various aspects of the filming process.

This is similar to the Ah Boys To Men movies, where the Ministry of Defence gave specialist input on military matters, as well as loaned military uniforms and equipment to the production crew.

Ah Boys To Frogmen is slated for release next Chinese New Year.

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