Ladies are stepping up to enlist into the army, at least in a forthcoming film meant to combat Singapore’s declining birth rate.
Singaporean filmmaker Jack Neo, 61, announced yesterday that he will direct Ah Girls Go Army, a follow-up to his popular satirical film franchise Ah Boys to Men, scheduled to release Feb. 1, just in time for Chinese New Year. It is set in a future where female recruits have to serve in the army because there are not enough men due to the nation’s low birth rates.
“We know that the birth rate of our society is dropping each year. Can our Singaporean women step up to the challenge of defending our nation, the same as we ask of our men? This is what I want to explore in our new movie,” Neo said at yesterday’s press conference.
The military-themed film will be produced by Neo’s J Team Productions and Mm2 Entertainment, similar to the four Ah Boys to Men titles that have grossed more than S$20 (US$14) million in theatres since 2012.
The films have been funded by the government.
The new film will focus on a batch of female Gen Z teens from different backgrounds who go through the grueling Basic Military Training as part of their National Service training.
Familiar faces will be included in the new installment, with local actress Apple Chan reprising her role as Lt. Zhang and cameos by the original male cast.
The lineup has not been revealed yet. A casting call went out last night.
Ah Boys to Men, which covered the military adventures of National Service recruits, was first released in 2012 and quickly became the highest-grossing Singaporean film of all time, banking over four times its S$3 million budget.
“And what better way to do it than taking a leaf off Singapore’s most iconic franchise and injecting it with the subject matter of diversity and gender equality? Jack Neo’s familiar brand of humor will lift spirits as we continue to navigate with cautious optimism the choppy waters ahead of us.” Ng Say Yong, chief content officer of Mm2 Asia, said.
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