The Day Hollywood Came to Malaysia

This is a non-beauty random post but I thought I’d squeeze it in as it’s really not every day that Hollywood swings by to this part of the world to land quite literally on my doorstep.

Cyber - On site in KL

Cyber – On site in KL

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For around two weeks back in September I was fortunate enough to do some work in a private capacity for around two dozen members of the  production and hair and makeup crew from the new Michael Mann production, Cyber that was filming in KL and I have to say, they were really some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Despite working on some of the highest-grossing movies of all-time and clocking into work with all the Who’s Who of Tinseltown there were absolutely zero divas in this group – just a hard working and professional bunch of people who happen to have worked on some of the most exciting film projects ever produced in Hollywood.

The resumes of my clients reads like three New Release aisles at a Blockbuster Video store and has to be seen to be believed. Name a movie or tv show – Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, The Amazing Spiderman, even Glee, …- and pretty much every other modern release film that you may have seen in the last decade or two. Very impressive but the most impressive part really was how very nice and down-to-earth they all were and I count them among my most adorably sweet clientele.  (So nice to meet you all and thanks for your kind patronage, Hollywood!)

Around Taman University, PJ

Around Taman University, PJ

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KL happened to be the final stop in a gruelling 3-month shooting schedule for this film with the first leg of filming beginning on location in Los Angeles. The mammoth production was then migrated to Hong Kong at the end of June and landed in Malaysia at the beginning of September after some brief shooting in Indonesia.

So, if you were a particularly eagle-eyed and star-struck Malaysian then during the month of September you might have spotted an entire Hollywood crew in and around different parts of our humble little city as well as in and around the tin mines of Ipoh .

Cyber in Chow Kit?

Chris Hemsworth

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Hollywood is Hollywood and I can tell you that not many local productions can hold a candle to the sets of Cyber. My own personal sighting of an actual Cyber production set was completely by accident as I was heading home from work and passing by Chow Kit.

I had never seen anything like it and at the time of the sighting I hadn’t even heard about this movie but I could clearly see that this was larger than any local production I’ve ever witnessed. Not by a long shot. It was hard to miss the sheer volume of filming equipment occupying some of the notoriously narrow streets of Chow Kit.

Filming also took place in and around Petaling Jaya in places like Taman University. However, the film’s actual KL production base was just a stone’s throw from KLCC and the actors and crew stayed at the Grand Hyatt, KL so yes, if you had wanted to camp out long enough you might have managed to catch a glimpse of some of the stars themselves.

The film itself is billed as a computer crime thriller that sees American and Chinese forces work together on a case of high-level computer hacking and stars Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Snow White & the Hunstman), the Oscar-nominated Viola Davis (The Help, Eat Pray Love) as well as two of Asia’s biggest stars, Wang Lee Hom and Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) so yes, the cast is just as impressive too!

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Arriving in KL: Chris Hemsworth/ Tang Wei/ Wang Lee Hom

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Unfortunately, my long hours at work (much of it on account of the overtime I was doing for Cyber’s production crew) made it impossible for me to even consider stalking the film’s movie stars personally and, to be honest, celebrity stalking has never been my forte so I’ve gathered a few images of the shots that have show up on the internet by some of the more star struck among us for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

On set: Chris Hemsworth

On set: Chris Hemsworth

Helo Chris - spot the distinctly Malaysian public phone?

Helo Chris! Spot the distinctly (rundown) Malaysian public phone?

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Tang Wei plays Chris Hemsworth's character's love interest.

Tang Wei plays the Chris Hemsworth character’s love interest and the sister of Lee Hom’s character.

Interestingly, the movie is not actually set in Malaysia but in the US, Hong Kong and Indonesia so the scenes filmed in Malaysia were actually a stand-in for the part of story which is based in Indonesia; a country director Michael Mann is known to have a great personal fondness for.

However, thanks to the Malaysian government & FINAS, Malaysia has some fantastic tax breaks for foreign film companies deciding to shoot on locale here so this was probably the deal breaker that led to more scenes being filmed in Malaysia than Indonesia for Cyber. Woots! One country’s lost is another’s gain and I think this is a great coup for Malaysia. I mean, who doesn’t like the thought of Chris Hemsworth and Wang Lee Hom roaming our local streets ;)!

Let’s hope that these kind of initiatives attract similar production projects to Malaysia because they really help put this country on the map and boost our local employment and economy. On this occasion, local film house, Biscuit Films provided the production support for Cyber in Malaysia.

Incidentally, Michael Mann is a multi award-winning director/ producer/ screenwriter and has won or been nominated for more Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys than you or I can imagine so he is certainly up there with some of the most esteemed creative talents in Hollywood. He is best known for producing The Last of the Mohicans, Public Enemies, The Insider and Heat and has worked with some of Hollywood’s most notable actors including Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russel Crowe so this latest foray with Cyber might well knock our socks off.

Cyber is currently in post-production and has a worldwide release in 2014 so you can do your Klang Valley-spotting for this film as early as next year and, if you’ve ever watched a Michael Mann film, you’ll know to expect some tough action, gritty plot and strong dialogue.

[Disclaimer: The images posted here do not belong to me but I have attempted to give credit to the original owner where possible. Any omitted reference to the original owner is unintentional and I will will be happy to update or remove any image if you possess the original copyright for an image. Please contact me via this blog to do so.]

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2 comments

  1. Omg! So awesome! They definitely picked the right girl too!!! Congratulations on the rather big break! If I had been there, Chris Hemsworth would have been kidnapped!

  2. @Arpita, it’s all in a day’s work 🙂 I’m so impressed to know how completely down-to-earth and professional these people are and it just goes to show that you can be at the top of your game but still be so very gracious and polite. They were a great bunch of people to work for and I hope they go on to win some tremendous awards (Emmy/ Oscars etc) for their work.

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