Tomoko Ueda (Co-producer and Chef) Interviews Woo Ming Jin, (Director)
Tomoko: What is your name, and vital statistics?
MJ: Woo Ming Jin. I'm 5'5"-short i know, about 65kgs.
Tomoko: What does your name mean in Chinese?
MJ: Ming means "bright", "smart", and Jin- pronounced Chun in cantonese- means " progress", "to advance" (chun po).
Tomoko: Your name sounds likes "Carrot" in Japanese. Nin jin.
MJ: Thanks. I don't like carrots.
Tomoko: How many films have you shot so far?
MJ: Feature films or shorts?
MJ: 2 or 3 features- it's 3 if you count the one I disowned, a few more tv movies, about 8-10 shorts.
Tomoko: What does the title mean "The Elephant and the Sea"?
MJ: It means... the meaning of the title is not as important as the image and emotion it is meant to evoke, which is that of slight melancholy and nostalgia, for the things and moments that are lost, and the realization that it will never be the same again.
Tomoko: That's deep.
MJ: Well, people ask me that a lot in film festivals. I had to come up with something. I can't very well say "I like the way it sounds, I don't know what it means".
Tomoko: Do you like this film? Did it come out as you imagined?
MJ: I do like it. I do not dislike it. Though I am unsatisfied. There is a sense of slight regret. No, the final film is vastly different from what was in my head.
Tomoko: Why is that?
MJ: Well, apart from cutting out 1/3 of the story, there were some changes, and then some reshoots. I was younger, and less sure of myself then.
Tomoko: I've seen your newer films, they're not any better (makes a snoring sound).
MJ: You're nice.
Tomoko: Somebody needs to be honest here.
MJ: Next question.
Tomoko: What are your hopes for this film?
MJ: Well, I hope the film becomes the highest grossing film ever in Malaysia, beating Transformers, which made more than RM20 million.
Tomoko: How many people will need to watch the film for that to happen?
MJ: I don't know. A lot. More than a few hundred at least. Maybe even thousands. And if each person pays Rm5000 a ticket.
Tomoko: You're funny.
MJ: It's early. I haven't eaten breakfast.
Tomoko: What would you like? For breakfast.
MJ: Nasi Lemak sotong (squid).
Tomoko: That only makes you fat. You want to be fat?
MJ: No. You're sidetracking.
Tomoko: Ok, what is your plan for the next film?
MJ: No concrete plans so far. I'm still writing the next one.
Tomoko: Is the film also set in or near the sea?
Tomoko: Why do you like the ocean so much?
MJ: I just do. I like water. I like being in water.
Tomoko: Can you swim?
MJ: Yes. I used to swim competitively. Represented the state in that and waterpolo.
Tomoko: You seem a little short to play waterpolo.
MJ: Well actually I was pretty good at it. I kicked ass in waterpolo.
Tomoko: Do you think after reading this interview, people will be interested in watching the film?
MJ: Um, probably... not. But they should. I'd like the film to set some sort of record in Malaysia, since we're all obsessed with records. Please help me make this film the highest grossing film in Malaysia!
Tomoko: I hope you weren't drinking last night.
MJ: No. I'm deadly serious here. I want that entry in the Malaysian Book of Records. I want to be listed along with other entries like "Largest group of people that ever walked backwards while holding hands", and "Longest dodol ever produced".
Tomoko: Thank you for teaching me about your country.
MJ: You're welcome.