In documentary cinema, it’s not unusual to find that life is stranger than fiction. Some stories would be considered unrealistic were they to be the plot of a narrative film. It’s also the territory of those who are strangely compelled by a chance occurrence to spend years of their lives trying to solve a mystery. Not to mention going on to make a film about it. The Search For Weng Weng is Australian cult video store owner Andrew Leavold’s odyssey to discover what happened to the titular miniature star of Filipino B movies.
Weng Weng is in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest adult actor in a leading role. At 2ft 9 inches, the diminutive Filipino made a huge impact on the country’s film industry. He appeared in at least eleven films, of which he starred in six. They were mainly James Bond rip-offs such his character Agent 00 in For Your Height Only or The Impossible Kid, or peculiar western D’Wild Wild Weng. However, little if nothing is known about him.
Over a period of almost a decade, Leavold travelled to the Philippines to try and discover Weng Weng story. What transpires is as simple as it is unusual. Eventually, he manages to track down his brother and learn about his life from a childhood in poverty to being raised by Filipino cinemas most famous couple. He also rubs shoulders with Imelda Marcos along the way. Whilst it’s a fascinating story, it’s short of major revelations. However, it is a well-made portrait of a unique character.
The Search For Weng Weng is released on DVD by Monster Pictures on January 26.