|On the road: Director Charlie Nguyen (left) and the stars of Teo Em, Thai Hoa (centre) and Johnny Tri Nguyen. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
HCM CITY (VNS)— Director Charlie Nguyen is set to surprise cinema audiences once again with his next choice of project, which is being billed as Viet Nam's first road trip comedy.
The movie will be called Teo Em (Young Teo) and set in HCM City and the southern province of Dong Thap. The story will centre around two men from very different worlds who end up sharing a bus journey to Sa Dec, where they hope to resolve their love affairs. They soon find themselves at odds (one is polite and smart while the other, the eponymous Teo, is something of a bumpkin), but begin to learn from each other along the way.
"When making a road trip comedy there is an established template already. However, that does not make the filmmaking process much easier," said Charlie Nguyen. "The director must be careful to make a film that offer something new and is not just like all the other ones."
Nguyen, who has made a name for himself as a diverse and genre-hopping filmmaker, was attracted to the project by the chance to work on a type of film that is new to Viet Nam but has been successfully established in Hollywood. Popular films in the genre are numerous, ranging from Planes, Trains and Automobiles through to the more recent efforts Little Miss Sunshine and Sideways.
When Nguyen was offered the script for Teo Em, he set to work restructuring and rewriting it to add more comedy and pathos.
The title character will be played by Thai Hoa, with Johnny Tri Nguyen co-starring. Hoa has already established himself as a popular comedic leading man, often in Charlie Nguyen productions, but the director is hoping that his portrayal will surprise audiences. "When I created the role of Teo for Hoa, I tried to make it as far apart from the characters he usually plays. He has a sharp mind as an actor and I think he is going to be a big hit in this film."
Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American film writer, director and producer. In Viet Nam, he has helmed The Rebel, Fool For Love, Big Boss and Love Puzzles. His latest, China Town, is currently awaiting a release date with the director and the country's Cinematography Department in deadlock over proposed cuts to most of the violent scenes in the movie, which is about gangsters in HCM City. — VNS