Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Return of Cicakman

Cicakman 3 in theSun newspaper
Zizan Razak ( right) plays the superhero Cicakman 
Today theSun published my interview with  two brothers - Norman and Yusry -  who is making  the third instalment in their successful
franchise Cicakman

Headline: Return of Cicakman 

Some 10 years ago, KRU Studios took a gamble to produce a local parody of Spider-Man called Cicakman – a lab assistant who accidentally drank coffee contaminated by a virus-infected gecko and found himself able to stick to walls and make chirping
noises like a gecko. Despite his clumsy nature, the man used his newfound skills to save the city of Metrofulus from evil people who wanted to create chaos.
Cicakman was a huge hit, collecting some RM5.2 million
at the box office, making it the highest grossing movie of 2006.
In 2008, KRU Studios released its sequel, Cicakman 2: Planet Hitam, which grossed RM2.8  million at the box office.
Now, some seven years later, the third instalment of this franchise, Cicakman 3, will hit cinemas on March 12. Despite some critics who believe this hero has become too passé to pull in the crowd, KRU Studios president Norman Abdul Halim strongly believes Cicakman is still relevant to today’s audiences.
“People are still ordering Cicakman souvenirs from us,” said Norman, who is also the executive producer for the film.
“Superheroes never die and never age. That is the reason why Hollywood keeps churning out movie after movie of their superheroes such as Superman, Spider-Man and Ironman.”
Norman is so confident of the Cicakman brand that he is in the midst of making a 26-episode animated television series of the hero.
The series is expected to complete at the end of the year and if everything goes well,  the series will be on local TV by next year
Norman and his team are also looking at overseas distribution. While Norman’s faith in his studio’s creation remains unshaken, his brother and vice president of KRU Studios, Yusry, needed some convincing initially to carry on the franchise.
Yusry, who made his directorial debut with Cicakman and also directed the sequel, had  wanted the studio to move on with a totally different superhero.
However, Norman managed to change his mind and Yusry returned to the director’s chair for Cicakman 3, but this time, he brought along Ghaz Abu Bakar to co-direct.
“I thought having two directors on one project would invite a lot of chaos,” saidYusry. 
“But I was surprised that everything went smoothly I never wanted a yes man and Ghaz is not one. He gave me a lot of feedback on how we could improve our franchise.”
For starters, comedian Saiful Apek who played the original Cicakman has passed the baton to Zizan Razak, currently the hottest comedian in the local entertainment scene.
“We had only one name when we thought of replacing Saiful Apek and that was Zizan Razak,” says Norman. 
“I was glad he agreed to play the role.”
Others in the cast include Lisa Surihani, Fizz Fairuz, Rashidi Ishak, Azizah Mahzan and Adam Corrie. 
Norman also said they had hired stuntmen from Thailand to work on more interesting and challenging fight scenes for this instalment.
Cicakman 3 sees Zizan playing an unemployed father who finds a bag left behind by the previous Cicakman. He then decides to put on the costume himself and save the city of Metrofulus from a new set of villains.
 “He wants to be a hero in the eyes of his child and wife,” Norman explains. 
“I believe the story will touch many hearts and the film will attract families to watch  it.”
When asked who made the better Cicakman between Saiful and Zizan, Yusry displomatically said: “I owe Saiful for creating the foundation for the superhero [which] became our reference point for the franchise.
“Zizan has taken these reference points and put his own personal touches to his portrayal of Cicakman.I think they portray Cicakman in their own personal style and it is  hard to make a comparison.”