Glen Goei

For the Love of Storytelling: Glen Goei

Right after Eric Khoo released his first production under his new production company Gorylah PicturesDarah (Macabre), which opened on Oct 8, another local film, The Blue Mansion, directed by Glen Goei, will make its way to theatres on Oct 22.

Producer-director Glen Goei is back with his second movie, a “murder mystery-comedy” The Blue Mansion, after a 11-year absence from filmmaking since he first stepped into the scene with Forever Fever. 

Convinced that he’s “not a natural writer”, the 47-year-old spent most of the time looking for a suitable scriptwriter who could conceptualise his story idea, which he calls his “baby”.

Things picked up pace 3 years ago when Glen finally found his ideal screenwriter Ken Kwek, then, a journalist with The Straits Times.

Glen explained that having good chemistry was his primary consideration in selecting his screenwriter.

“I’d meet writers, tell them the story that I want to make, and [ask them] whether they are interested, first and foremost, and whether they can connect with my story. It’s as simple as that.

Simple but difficult to find that person who you can connect with.”

Although this is a Singaporean production, Glen was also looking for someone who understood British humour, and Ken fit the bill perfectly.

“Ken and I both lived in England, and we grew up on English comedies and read a lot of English literature.

I think we liked the British sense of humour, which is based a lot on irony… so his writing has got a lot of irony in it.”

The 2 “lovers of literature”, as Glen labelled themselves, worked closely together on the script.

So clearly had they envisioned the script that 95% of the first draft went into the final cut shown in theatres.

“We edited the script the way we think it should be on film, and we know our characters well.

[When we had the first draft] we talked for about 2 hours on the phone, and then the second draft was already OK.”

Ken added, “That’s an abnormality. You don’t always end up writing a script that you are happy with at the first or second draft.”

When asked if he had the cast in mind before production, Glen replied that he didn’t, because he “needed to give Ken the freehand to write the characters”.

They ended up with much more than what they could’ve imagined with the experienced cast which includes household name Adrian Pang, who coincidentally also starred in Glen’s first film, Forever Fever, in 1998 as protagonist Hock who works in a grocery store.

“We’ve worked with most of the actors in theatres, and they gave us many surprises, like Tan Kheng Hua, who gave a different performance than what we perceived and what the writing lacked,” Ken said, with a smile.

Glen further elaborated about their teamwork during the tight 6-week filming period in Penang, “We had very little rehearsals.

They are all experienced actors. I worked (rehearsed) with them for about half a day, and I know they rehearse behind my back too. That’s good.”

The pair enjoyed this project so much that they’re taking their collaboration to the next step, working on a new musical which is a first-time experience for both men.

“I’m constantly finding new ways of telling stories.

That keeps me fresh as an artiste,” Glen revealed, refering to his extensive portfolio of works on various media, ranging from directing and acting in theatre and film, to large scale productions such as National Day Parade where he lent his expertise as Creative Director.

Glen excitedly described that the story in progress “demands to be told as a musical, because it’s a love story”.

The duo is also working on a stage play together, while Ken has also written another film script for Glen that is pending financing.

This means we can look forward to projects from the good buddies in the near future. Meanwhile, look out for our review for The Blue Mansion on The UrbanWire!

About The Blue Mansion

“The Blue Mansion is a quirky murder mystery about a wealthy Asian tycoon who dies suddenly under unknown circumstances.

He returns as a ghost to try to uncover the secret of his death. Two eager detectives started an investigation, chasing all leads and suspects including the dead man’s 3 children.

The ghost witnesses his own funeral wake, attended by jealous relatives and business competitors, as well as the police investigation that unveils hidden family secrets.”


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