Headline: A Character Actor
BY Bissme S
Indonesian actor Nicholas Saputra shot to stardom in his first film, Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? in 2002. He was just 17. He played a lonely teenage poet Rangga who falls in love with a popular classmate, Cinta.
Since then, Nicholas, now 31, has transformed himself from a handsome teen heartthrob into a credible actor, taking home the best actor award for his portrayal of Chinese-Indonesian activist Soe Hok Gie in the 2005 biopic, Gie.
More recently, he appeared in Interchange, under award-winning director Dain Iskandar Said. In this supernatural fantasy thriller, Nicholas plays Belian, a mysterious and menacing man from Borneo who is linked to a series of gruesome murders that the authorities are investigating. Nicholas based himself in Kuala Lumpur for a month before filming began to prepare for the role.
He observed a strict schedule of script readings, rehearsals, movement choreography, learnt Borneo’s dialects, as well as doing stunt and fitness trainings. Before returning to Jakarta, Nicholas talked to the Malaysian media on the following topics
*ON THE MOVIE
Explaining the reason for accepting the role of Belian, Nicholas says: “It is a great story and the script was well-written. I read the script I receive, and if I feel I would want to watch that film, I will probably say yes to the role.”
His role also required the use of prosthetics, and he was spending some three to four hours in the makeup chair before filming.
The actor was full of praise for director Dain who had helmed the controversial 2007 film Dukun which was banned, and the drama thriller Bunohan, which won eight awards at the 25th Malaysian
Film Festival (FFM) including for best actor, best picture and best director.
“Dain is awesome,” Nicholas says.
“He knows what he is doing. He is very articulate in terms of the details of his story and his characters. He is also passionate about what he is doing and the best thing is that his passion can be contagious.”
With Hollywood keen to hire Asian actors nowadays, does Nicholas harbour similar dreams? After all, his pan-Asian looks (his father is German and mother Javanese) would probably catch the eyes of Hollywood casting directors.
“Hollywood is not my main focus right now,” he says but adds that if an opportunity comes his way that offers a strong character and script, he will have no reservations.
“I am preparing myself to be surprised,” he says with a laugh.
*ON BEING CHOOSY
As an actor, Nicholas is pacing himself to act in only one film a year or even sometimes, one film every two years.
“Once I accept a role, I put every ounce of my energy into the production,” he says.
“I will give the role 100%.”
When not acting, Nicholas enriches himself with experiences such as travelling or photography. These experiences will indirectly shape him to be a better actor.
He points out that everyone has his/her own style of working and he is the kind of actor who prefers not to overwork himself.
*ON HIS HOBBIES
One of his hobbies is travelling and he has travelled to many places. “I have a big interest in people, culture and architecture,” he says.
When asked the best place he had visited, he said: “Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil). I love the forest, city and beaches. Rio has all of them in one place. The weather is never too hot or too cold.”
One of his future travelling plans is to go on a photo safari to Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. “I have a big interest in animals,” he says.
*ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA
In this electronic age where everyone craves popularity and celebrities flaunt their lovers on social media, Nicholas is determined to walk a totally different path.
He has a strict policy of never discussing his love life with the media. His decision has not endeared him to some media and movie fans.
“I do not want my personal life to overshadow my work,” he says.
“It has never been my intention to be popular. I became an actor because I want to express myself. All I care about is giving my best performances and hoping people like what I do.
“Popularity never lasts, but great works will. I want to be remembered as someone who gave his best.”