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Your upcoming movie Bedlam Stories - in a few words, what is
It's a story about Dorothy of Oz and
Alice from Wonderland in an asylum
battling to steal each other's fantasy lands.
With two main influences on Bedlam Stories
rather obviously - if in a twisted way - being Wizard
of Oz and Alice
in Wonderland - what do you find so fascinating about these
stories, and to what extent do you intend to remain true to them (also in
will you deviate?
I feel that these characters are 4
dimensional. The stories of Wizard
of Oz and Alice
in Wonderland, on the
outside, tell stories of adventure and imagination. However, for the
more aware audiences, there seems to be a darker meaning behind all of
them. In terms of style, I'm borrowing nothing from the movies of these
franchises previously, rather, I'm taking a horror approach to it. I draw
from my influences such as Clive Barker, Jean Pierre Jeunet (with Marc
Caro) and a little bit from the alternative steampunk culture.
Other sources of inspiration for Bedlam
Stories - and while we're at it, what can you tell us about your
co-writers and your collaboration with them?
with Nicole Jones for several years already. She and I have been very close
working and we have just completed our first feature film as co-writers
together. She really helps bring out the darker sensibilities in me.
Christine Converse, who is the writer for the novel, is pretty much given
a map of Bedlam Stories and we are allowing her pretty free creative reign
on it. In terms of how I collaborate with my writers, I usually come up
with what I call the 'Vomit Draft'. It gets the key ideas and the mood in
place and from there, we discuss and take turns to really bring our ideas
from the concept art I've seen, you've got quite an elaborate vision for
your film - so how do you plan to put that into reality, and what can you
tell us about the intended look and feel of your movie as such?
I don't intend to do anything CGI except maybe for some moments of the
Cheshire Cat. For the most part, everything is written so that I may shoot
it practically. There's heavy focus on atmosphere in the movie. Dark
Dreary skies, heavy shadows and creepy corridors. Generally, I'm going for
a more desaturated look, as though life has been sucked out of the Asylum.
The deeper we go into the Asylum, the more atmospheric we want to make it,
such as one would expect if you were to visit Hell.
you can tell us about your key cast yet, and why exactly these people?
I have cast 2 nurses and of course my Dorothy and Alice. I have worked
with half of them before. Hannah Ward who was lead in my last horror film
was a no-brainer and I've been excited to have her play Dorothy but we
went through a long audition process and character work before both she
and I were not only happy but convinced we could portray this character in
a unique light. Sarah Douglas, a legend in the comic book industry, (Superman
1, 2 and Conan the Destroyer) worked with me on Witchville and she and I were
happy to include her as the head nurse. Jessica Cameron [Jessica
Cameron interview - click here] and Anna Harr, my
first time working with these actors, play Nurse Tilley and Alice
respectively. Jessica and me have discussed collaborating for years,
but it is Bedlam Stories that I found her to be the best fit for. Anna
Harr … let's
just say I was delighted to have discovered such a young, bright and
glowing talent out of nowhere and by luck. I'm very lucky to have these
actors in my arsenal to bring Bedlam Stories into a reality.
far as I know, Bedlam Stories is still in pre-production as we
speak - so what's the schedule, and any idea when the film might be
released onto the general public yet (and I do know it might be a little
early to ask)?
I am still committed to shoot two more films for two different studios.
Once my contract is done, I intend to start shooting Bedlam Stories. As of
right now, I don't want Bedlam Stories to die away, so during my work on my other
stuff, I'll be producing Bedlam Stories as a novel and an iPad app. More
details can be found on our movie's Facebook-page.
Any future projects beyond Bedlam
Stories you'd like to share?
The film I will be
shooting this August is top secret. I signed an NDA so I cannot talk
about it but very excited to be a part of that franchise. After that, I'm
supposed to shoot a movie called Blitzkrieg, a throwback into the 80s
monster movies like Aliens / Predator. Very excited to be working with the
creature creators of the original Predator / Alien, and we are shooting
this right after this current project. In between, I'll be producing my
business partner Chad Michael Ward's [Chad
Michael Ward interview - click here] feature film debut called Strange
Blood, which will launch my new Pearry Teo Presents-label in hopes of
producing work from up and coming horror film directors.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any kind of formal
training on the subject?
I think the most formal training I
ever got was being on my set and learning my own mistakes as I went along.
I think school is actually an informal training as I have yet to meet any
teachers qualified to teach anybody in the art of making movies. It's one
thing to make movies, it's another thing to be in the movie business. I
don't find schools equipped to teach filmmakers about how to be in the
film business. They teach them about cameras and how to shoot a movie. But
most filmmakers are lost about what happens after that. My hopes is that
my new label will change that and streamline the process for these
Now here's a question I'm sure
you haven't grown tired of over the years: What caused you to move from
Singapore to Hollywood, and what can you tell us about your early
My ideas were just not accepted in a
conservative country such as Singapore. My decision to move wass largely a
need to find similar minded people who believe in the art and process the
same way I do. My early years were spent learning the process and trying
to find a place amongst the sharks. I'm hopeful that I learned enough that I
can help those who are just starting out.
Do talk about your filmwork prior to Bedlam
Stories for a bit, and your evolution as a filmmaker?
Well, I've worked in genre films mainly. My first film was a sci-fi film
called The Gene Generation starring Bai Ling / Faye Dunaway. I then moved
back to my love for horror and made a low budget movie called Necromentia
which turned out to be quite a cult film and has garnered quite an
interesting fan base. I moved on to do a fantasy film, Witchville, for
SyFy Channel and
Lionsgate, but found the studio system not to my liking
and went back again to a low budget horror film before I took upon another
fantasy film, Dracula: The Dark Prince with Jon Voight playing Van
just have to talk about your comicbook DNA Hacker Chronicles for a
bit, how did it come into being and what can you tell us about its
DNA Hacker Chronicles was created by fans
of the first film who wanted to do a comic book and approached me about
it. I've always loved comics as a kid and thought that it would be a great
expansion to the universe of Gene Generation, where people hacked into your
DNA. I never liked the slick science fiction look so I went more for the
style of movies like Blade Runner and The Crow and made the comics grungy
that way. It was a fun experience, but I got distracted by future film
How would you describe yourself as a
very much a visual director. I like to focus on a strong sense of
and atmosphere. I have most fun in getting my actors to help me paint this
picture of a world that I create in my head. To me, films are more than
actors and stories (which is the most important). I believe in taking my
audiences into another world. From fantasy lands, to dystopian futures and
even Hell in my horror films. With Bedlam Stories, I'm really combining
every element I love from fantasy to sci-fi (an offshoot genre steampunk
is focused more) and definitely horror.
Filmmakers, artists, writers, whatever else
who inspire you?
Long list! But my top three has to be
Clive Barker, Jean Pierre Jeunet and Guillermo Del Toro.
Your favourite movies?
long list! But The Crow ranks as my top, followed by Blade Runner and
of Lost Children.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The Twilight Saga.
All the slapstick comedies like Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the
Spartans etc, and I steer clear from those high school movies like Step
Up (John Hughes high school movies are awesome though).
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
is where I'm most active in.
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
a thank you to everybody that has been there for me from day one! I really
appreciate my supporters and audiences who have stuck
with me through my mistakes, trials and tribulations. My promise to you is
that I will continue to make better films each time. I am humbled and
inspired by each and every one of you!
for the interview!