Sunday, August 07, 2005

[Screen Singapore] A Night With Cleopatra Wong

It was a full house eagerly awaiting the appearance of Cleopatra Wong in person. I went in early in order to get a prime seat, but alas, there were already some persons seated in the middle of the theatre (those who have been to the Arts House Screening Room will know what I mean). But I managed a row behind, and to my wicked glee, those in front were told to make room for the special guests. They were unhappy of course (there were no "Reserved" signs), but given no choice anyway. So there I was, with Cleo Wong potentially sitting in front of me during the screening.

Thunderous applause greeted Cleo Wong when she appeared, and before the film began, she was invited to say a few words to the audience. She thanked everyone for being here, and shared with us interesting insights to the making of the movie. It was shot on a shoestring budget of S$70K, still considered quite low budget in those days, but they managed to do on location shoots in 3 countries - Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines, and also post production in Hollywoord. Cleo Wong the movie was always intended for an international audience, and she reminisced about the highlights of filming in Singapore with her family and friends, some of whom were roped in for cameo appearances.

Cleopatra Wong!

The picture above is a bit dark as I thought it might be rude to have a strange flash go off in the middle of a theatre, so I turned the flash off.

She was close to tears at times, but managed to regain her composure. The microphone was a let down, going on and off, so true to her on-screen tough as nails persona, she spoke to the audience sans microphone.

And yes, she was seated right in front of me (those going for Arts House premieres/special appearances might wanna take note when the VIPs sit) when the film started, and stayed through until the end. It was interesting to watch the film with the main star in front of you getting all excited as well when it came to scenes in which she had something extra to tell.

When the lights came on, I wanted to grab an autograph but was a bit slow in getting my pen out, and deciding where to get the autograph signed. As expected, many of her friends and fans crowded round her outside the Screening Room. One of them even got the Life! front page cut out, for her signature. Some even had their Kodak shots autographed too (there are plenty of Kodak Easy Print machines around the foyer). So I could only wait patiently, until she noticed I was standing there, pen and film festival booklet in hand.

It was a blur, I asked her for an autograph on the page where the movie was featured, and she asked my name. I didn't know what she wrote until I got it back, and it said:

Cleopatra Wong Autograph

I went one step ahead and asked for a photograph too, which she was happy to oblige:

Cleopatra Wong and I

I gotta thank the gentleman who took the photo for me, whoever he was, I just grabbed the nearest person I saw. I told her it was a fun film and I enjoyed it a lot, and she thanked me for the support.

How cool is that, my shoulder rub with Cleopatra Wong, Singapore's very own international female super-spy!

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