Going from court to screen

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Lee Chong Wei is getting a movie about his own life, but don’t expect him to be pursuing an acting career anytime soon.

“I didn’t get to participate much in the movie. But I did get to visit the set and realised that filming is really tiring, I would rather go and train in court instead!” Lee said during a press conference to announce the upcoming Lee Chong Wei movie.

The movie was originally titled Rise Of The Legend.

Set to hit cinemas in the first quarter of 2018, the film is a biopic on Lee’s life, starting with his early years as an aspiring young badminton player from Penang, all the way to becoming the World No. 1 badminton player.

During the press conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel here, director Teng Bee said about 60% of the film was Lee’s true story, while the other 40% was fictional or dramatised.

An audition held earlier this year for the lead role of Lee himself drew more than 2,000 aspiring candidates from all over Malaysia, and even from Taiwan.

The role eventually went to 22-year-old newcomer Tosh Chan. Child actor Jake Eng, 13, plays the younger version of the badminton player.

Teng said he picked two unknown actors in the roles because he felt it was important to cast someone who could play badminton.

“The badminton scenes had to be convincing. So, I decided it would be easier to cast someone who could play badminton and then teach them to act, rather than teach an actor how to play badminton,” he added.

Singaporean actor Mark Lee plays Lee’s father Lee Ah Chai, while award-winning Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann plays his mother, Khor Kim Chooi.

Datuk Rosyam Nor plays Malaysian badminton legend Misbun Sidek, who used to coach Lee.

The movie also stars Ashley Hua, Freddie Wong, Uriah See, Bernard Hiew, and Datuk Norman Pang.

Lee said he had never thought his life story would be turned in to a film. “I had faith in the director, who has to tell my whole story in two hours,” he said.

“I would like to thank my family and everyone who believed in me. And also my sponsors, who have supported me for so long.”

The entire production took three years to complete.

Lee Chong Wei is produced by CB Pictures and Mahu Pictures, and distributed by GSC Movies.