KUALA LUMPUR: Popular singer-turned-actress Fauziah Latiff admitted that playing Tun Dr Siti Hasmah in the biopic Mahathir: The Journey is the greatest honour in her career.
The 49-year-old artiste said she was prepared to carry this enormous responsibility to give a convincing portrayal of the prime minister’s wife.
“I'm extremely honoured to play Tun Dr Siti Hasmah who is not only an amazing woman, but also the strength behind her husband's success," she said at the launch of the film at Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel, Jalan Utara, Petaling Jaya yesterday.
This will mark her debut on the silver screen and her second portrayal of a historical figure.
Fauziah or Jee as she is more fondly known said that she played Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, the wife of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, in the 2009 Muzikal Tun Razak, staged at Istana Budaya.
“That role was relatively simple, but it physically and mentally prepared me for Tun Dr Siti Hasmah,” she added.
Fauziah said she hoped to meet Dr Siti Hasmah next month and have a heart-to-heart chat with her.
“I've met her twice, and I'm delighted that we share a love for music. She's always down to earth and friendly, and I want to seek her consent before portraying her on screen."
Meanwhile, fellow singer-turned-actress Ning Baizura has also joined in the cast, playing Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.
The 44-year-old said she had always admired Marina as one of the country's foremost social activists.
“Datin Paduka Marina is synonymous with helping create awareness of HIV and AIDS and speaking up for the rights of women, besides championing national unity and the spirit of Bangsa Malaysia.
“She is one of my all-time heroines and it's truly an honour to play her,” said the Curiga singer who have met Marina several times, but did not have the chance to engage in a conversation.
“She's brave, strong and outspoken, that's what I love about her. I have strong opinions too, but I guess I keep my views to myself most of the time," she said, adding that she hoped to interview Marina next month.
Mahathir: The Journey, set for a July 2020 release is directed by Dr Hatta Azad Khan.
Filming begins on Dec 15 for two months in Langkawi, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Hiroshima, Japan.
The film focuses on Dr Mahathir's political activities between the end of his first premiership on Oct 31, 2003 and his return as the country's seventh Prime Minister on May 10, 2018.
Playing the titular role is Azhar Amir who has acted in a string of popular TV dramas as Suri Hari Mr Pilot, Hero Seorang Cinderella and Suami Sebelah Rumah.
Hatta said the film would be released in time for Dr Mahathir's 95th birthday on July 10, next year.
“We developed the script over the last seven months, and amended it 12 times. Mahathir: The Journey is my labour of love to a great statesman who has always inspired me," he said, adding that the film will focus more on Dr Mahathir as a family man.
Mahathir: The Journey is produced by Datuk Seri Alan Kuang, Datuk Jacky Poh, Dr Lawrence Poh, Taha Wahid, Yusof Kelana and Anuar Che Embi.
Besides Azhar, Fauziah and Ning, it also stars Afique Hussain (Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir), Datuk Hilal Azman (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), Dian P. Ramlee (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail), Lisdawati (Nurul Izzah Anwar), and Dazrin Kamarudin (Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman).