With 2 million YouTube views, international headlines and now a feature film, will the iconic Mr Unbelievable be the next Phua Chu Kang?
Mr Unbelievable, or Eric Kwek (played by Chen Tian Wen), is a getai performer who dreams of modernising Mandarin songs with English lyrics.
Many have come to know and love Mr Unbelievable as the retro man in a mullet, who romances his partner with corny verses while embracing vegetables and plastic bouquets.
But did you know that this YouTube sensation’s full name is Eric Kwek Hock Seng, and that he’s actually a self-loving getai (musical stage) performer?
With the origins of Mr Unbelievable fleshed out on the big screen, fans have more to be amused, tickled and even inspired by.
BEHIND THE UNBELIEVABLE
Learn about the story of the iconic Mr Unbelievable from the popular “Unbelievable” music video on YouTube in this movie.
Sharing the same birthday as Singapore — Aug 9, 1965 — Eric, played by Chen Tian Wen, has bestowed upon himself a great responsibility: To become a symbol of national pride. The patriotic getai performer is an avid follower of every national campaign and has had a true-blue Singaporean upbringing.
Eric’s family runs a thriving getai business but the ambitious performer knows that they need to move on with
the times. In modern Singapore, this means mixing things up on the getai stage by blending English lyrics with Mandarin songs.
However, Eric’s idea is met with strong objection from his traditional community. To make things worse, he struggles with the English language. If you’ve seen the “Unbelievable” music video, you’ll remember wonky phrases such as “I so stunned like a vegetable”.
Now, having hit the ripe age of 50, Eric sets out on a musical journey to prove himself. Struggling through highs and mostly lows — but later reaching a rewarding all-time high — Eric shows how, by believing in yourself, one can make the unbelievable a reality.
MORE WACKY CHARACTERS
Tosh Zhang (right) stars as Mr Unbelievable’s eager disciple, helping him on his musical journey.
Besides the titular character, Mr Unbelievable introduces a host of other colourful characters to accompany and complement the flamboyant Eric.
You may recognise Tosh Zhang, who shot to fame in Jack Neo’s Ah Boys to Men trilogy as no-nonsense Sergeant Alex Ong. This time, Tosh turns the tables around with his role as Eric’s obedient disciple. This transformation is most hilarious in a sneak peek of the movie, where Tosh can be seen gawkily handling props as Eric films the “Unbelievable” video.
Other characters to look out for include Eric’s traditionalist mentor (Marcus Chin), who is dead set in the old ways of getai, and Eric’s two bumbling childhood friends, played by Jaime Teo and Roy Loi.
You will even get to meet the woman who inspired Eric to belt out his “Unbelievable” hit. Hint: She is played by veteran getai singer Liu Ling Ling.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Marcus Chin plays Mr Unbelievable’s traditionalist getai mentor, who opposes any change to his getai routine.
Since the “Unbelievable” franchise began, more unbelievable occurrences have taken place. Filming for Mr Unbelievable took only 15 days, thanks to a “precise and well-controlled” script, explained director Ong Kuo Sin. Local movies average about two months’ filming time.
The crew made good time zipping between filming locations, one of which includes the last kampong in Buangkok.
Tian Wen revealed that this schedule was “very tiring” for him. He shared, “I was filming from 7.30am ‘til 8pm daily for 15 days… I became all tanned after a full-day outdoor shoot at the beach.”
Despite this short shooting schedule, the chemistry of the cast pulls the movie together, said the director. Somehow,
I don’t have to wait until I see it to believe it.
By Pamela Chow
Mr Unbelievable [TBA]
Director: Ong Kuo Sin
Starring: Chen Tian Wen, Liu Ling Ling, Tosh Zhang, Marcus Chin, Jaime Teo & Roy Loi
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Run length: TBA
Release: 3 Dec