Cast of Ah Boys To Men movie franchise ready to move on with own careers

Frogmen cast members (from left) Tosh Zhang, Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim and Jaspers Lai at the press conference for the movie. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Frogmen cast members (from left) Tosh Zhang, Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim and Jaspers Lai at the press conference for the movie. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

Tears rolled among the cast when director Jack Neo wrapped up filming for the final scene of the third movie in the popular national service series, Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen.

It is farewell to the Ah Boys for now, reveals Joshua Tan, who plays recruit Ken Chow, at a press conference last Friday, held aboard the warship RSS Endurance docked at the Promenade at VivoCity.

"We cried, and it was pretty emotional. The plan now is that we will go our separate routes. It's kinda sad," adds Tan, 24.

Even Wang Weiliang, the resident joker among the cast, says he felt nostalgic at the thought of leaving behind his "brothers" who have starred with him in three movies, including the first and second instalments of Ah Boys To Men (2012, 2013).

Wang, 27, says: "As I was walking back to the changing room, I passed where we had been filming for eight months. I saw the boats, the tyres. I really couldn't bear to leave."

The first two Ah Boys To Men instalments earned $14.1 million at the box office, making them the highest-grossing local films of all time.

Frogmen, a $2.5-million production, sees the return of the original Ah Boys including Tosh Zhang and Maxi Lim, but in a different setting - the elite Naval Diving Unit.

They are joined by new recruit Wesley Wong, son of veteran Hong Kong stars Melvin Wong and Angie Chiu Nga Chi.

While there are no plans for a fourth Ah Boys To Men movie, Neo, 55, is leaving the door open - just in case.

He says: "If the audience wants to see more of the Ah Boys on the big screen, maybe there could be another film. There's much more of the navy to showcase. But first, we have to use the box- office figures to convince the Navy and get its support in filming again."

In any case, it looks like the cast have already made plans for their lives after Ah Boys To Men.

Wang, who was a seasoned getai emcee before the Ah Boys movies, will be putting his eloquence to good use as a host of variety show programmes. He will partner co-star Zhang in a travelogue that will take them to China.

Zhang, 25, who is also a rapper, will be going back to his beginnings as a YouTube star, and will be posting more music and comedy videos on his social media channel.

Tan has just completed shooting for a local telemovie and will begin filming a Chinese movie in April.

The baby-faced Lim is on the lookout for more interesting acting roles in future and, judging from his full monty scene in Frogmen, seems to be willing to go to great lengths to be an actor.

In the scene, Lim, reprising his role as bootlicking smart aleck recruit Aloysius Jin, bared it all, with a toilet plunger covering his private parts.

Lim, 27, says: "I had mentally prepared myself. But when I had to do the scene, I got nervous, especially since I had to hold the plunger for a good six hours.

"In that scene I was supposed to run out from the shower. I had to wet myself again in between takes, and the wind was pretty strong. It was cold."

Would the other Ah Boys be willing to take it all off like Lim did?

Wang, ever the glib one, says: "Of course, I won't remove my clothes now. But on the set, if Director Neo says take off your clothes. I would say, 'Yes, boss, right away!'"

After much prodding by co-star Wang, Zhang says in jest: "Well, then my fees have got to be higher."

Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen opens on Thursday.

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