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Three of Singapore’s ‘big brothers’ — Mark Lee, Christopher Lee and Li Nanxing — come together for the first time in a new slapstick comedy
What’s Chinese New Year without some feel-good, light-hearted comedy? Gathering a crew of renowned household names, The Fortune Handbook is set to capture the hearts of Singaporeans thanks to a recipe of topics that range from food, family, gambling, getting promoted and, of course, the God of Fortune.
The story follows the owner of a famous bakery, Ren Haoxing (played by Li Nanxing), and his no-good gambling brother-in-law, Su Fu (Christopher Lee). The latter, drowning in debt, has been scheming to pawn off Haoxing’s secret recipe and line his own pockets.
As fortune would have it, ‘intern’ Huat God (Mark Lee) is smiling upon this part of town. In hopes of getting promoted, he’s been indiscriminately granting everyone’s wishes — and he bestows Su Fu with the power of mind control.
Chaos and confusion ensue, until Heaven steps in to prevent a total catastrophe. What will happen to Haoxing’s bakery? And can the Huat God redeem himself and secure that sweet promotion?
Gathering the three Lees
Interestingly, The Fortune Handbook began as a challenge to gather the three Lees in entertainment. Director Kevin Sng (Taxi! Taxi!) says, “It started out as a joke, but all three of them actually agreed to do it.”
Christopher Lee shares his side of the story, quipping, “I was forced into it. They told me, ‘The other two Lees have said yes. If you don’t say yes, you’ll be letting the two of them down.’”
Showing off the chemistry between them, Mark Lee ribbed, “I wanted to work with Chris again because he’s always flying around and going to Malaysia to film with other women. I had to ‘save’ him, otherwise he’d be stuck amongst Malaysian girls and might let Fann down.” (Christopher Lee is married to actress Fann Wong, and they have a two-year-old son.)
In a stroke of luck, gathering this trio of Lees was like hitting jackpot — so much that the actors are already talking about their next project together. Mark Lee muses, “We can consider making ‘the three Lees’ a brand name. We can act in police dramas with Nanxing and idol dramas with Christopher — and I can play his dad.”
In response, Li says with a deadpan expression, “Before we came into the room earlier, Mark asked us not to worry [about being funny], saying that he’d take care of everything.”
The Fortune Handbook [TBA]
Director: Kevin Sng
Starring: Mark Lee, Christopher Lee, Li Nanxing & Vivian Lai
Run length: TBA
Release: 26 Jan
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 169, January 6 - January 5, 2017, with the headline 'Wheel of Fortune'.