Sunday, January 31, 2016
Bront Palarae has a small role in OlaBola but he left a lasting impression. He talks to theSun about his passion for acting and directing.
Headline: A Passion For Movies
By Bissme S
When I first saw Bront Palarae in a television show 17 years ago, I did not think highly of his abilities. To me, he was just a handsome actor churning out a superficial performance. Now, I see the 37-year-old actor in a totally different light.
Bront has certainly sharpened his acting skill. Put him in any role and he will give a convincing performance. Indeed, Bront has become an actor to be reckoned with. He has been giving memorable and varied performances, from portraying an eccentric filmmaker chasing after UFOs in Terbaik Dari Langit to a mentally disturbed person in PSIKO: Pencuri Hati. His current show-stealing role as a hyper sports commentator in sports drama OlaBola is another feather in his cap.
Bront has also been roped in by several well-known Indonesian directors recently for their projects. Among them are awardwinning director Joko Anwar, who has cast the actor in the HBO Asia supernatural TV series Halfworlds, and Upi Avianto who picked him for her comedy film, My Stupid Boss.
Bront will next be seen playing a police inspector in the action thriller Headshots, under the direction of The Mo Brothers (consisting of two friends, Timo Tjahjanto dan Kimo Stamboel), which is expected to hit cinemas this year. In a recent interview with theSun, Bront shares some insights on his career.
*Tell us about your experience in Indonesian productions.
Only the directors who hire you have seen your movies, and know of your talents. Others in the production team, from the cast to crew, may not have heard of you or seen your movies. You are like a rookie, all over again. You have to prove that you are a good actor [to them all]. This experience is exciting and humbling, at the same time. Working on those productions is like being in an acting workshop where you will learn new lessons to make your craft better.
*Do you have plans to be based in Jakarta and do more Indonesian projects?
(Laughing) If Christoper Nolan calls me to act in his movie, I will go to Hollywood and do his movie. “But the moment his film has finished shooting, I will head straight back to Malaysia. My base will always be Malaysia There is no place like home. I have always wanted to be a part of the Malaysian film industry. If you are based overseas, you will be a part of their film industry and I do not want that.
*Tell us some of the lessons you’ve learned after having been part of the Malaysian entertainment industry for 17 years.
That you should not get too happy with your highs and you should not get too down with your lows. The feelings of rejection and dejection are part and parcel of the job. When I first joined the entertainment industry, everyone kept telling me that it is a dog-eat dog world, and that I should not trust anyone; that genuine friendships do not exist here and people are eager to backstab you. Well, I have made some great friends in the entertainment industry. Nothing works without trust.
* Do you get frustrated when you are presented with terrible scripts and horrible roles?
The phase of getting frustrated has come and gone. I have come to accept how the industry works, and there is no point dwelling on the issue. I count my blessings as an actor. There are more talented actors than me who do not get the opportunity to showcase their talent like I do. I would rather spend my energy on making things better in the entertainment industry than wasting my time feeling frustrated. I am slowly moving towards production and direction, and hopefully, I can make some difference there.
* You studied to be a film director. But you became an actor, instead. Why?
While waiting for my break as a film director, I have to earn my bread and butter, so I took any job both behind and in front of the camera. But I have stuck to acting. As an actor, you have a better view of how a film is being made, and the working process of your director, your crew and your castmates. Observation is important if you want to be a good director.
* You have just directed one film, Kolumpo. Do you have plans to direct other films?
I have two projects in hand. My first project is called Dawn Raid, which is based on a real event where a group of Malaysian businessmen managed to take over the hugely-successful British-owned company, Guthrie, through the London Stock Exchange.
My second project is called Sabotage and it centres on how the government recruited some ethnic Chinese to infiltrate and spy on the Malayan Communist Party during the Emergency.
*After being an actor and now director, which do you prefer?
I love both, and I need both. Acting helps me to be a better director and directing helps me to be a better actor. When you are sitting in the director’s chair, you have to help your actors shape their performances. Indirectly, you are learning something about acting. When you are an actor, you are taking orders from directors, and you are constantly observing your director. Indirectly, you are learning something about directing.