Thursday, February 2, 2017
Arifin Putra & Reza Rahadian
Today theSun published my interview with two award winning actors from Indonesia, Arifin Putra and Reza Rahadian. Read the full story below
Headline: Actors without Boundaries
By Bissme S
AWARD-WINNING Indonesian actors Arifin Putra and Reza Rahadian were in Bangkok recently to promote the second season of the HBO Asia series, Halfworlds. They were the only actors from the first season to return to the show, reprising their roles as demons who regard the human race as their number one enemy.
Asked what made him take up the role again, Arifin, 29, joked: “The producers forced me at gunpoint to reprise my role.”
But he admitted to having grown fond of the story, and loving the whole universe that the cast and crew built up last year.
“So when they asked me to return for season two, I did not have to think long to say yes.”
When asked what is the difference between the two seasons, he said: “In season one, the characters are driven by fear, whereas in season two, [they] are driven by hope.”
His character, Barata, is also less grim and more optimistic in the new season.
For Reza, 29, what he loves most about Halfworlds is that he got the chance to work with actors from other Asian countries. In season one, he worked alongside actors from Malaysia and Singapore while in this season, he shared the screen with actors from Thailand and the Philippines.
“There is a lot of ‘cross culture’ taking place on the set, and I love that,” Reza said.
“I want to be an actor without boundaries.”
He added that his character, Tony, has far more intense action scenes this time around. Interestingly, both actors had initially never wanted to make acting their career. Arifin had followed his older sister to a television commercial shoot in 2000, and was asked to become an extra.
“I loved the fact that I could earn pocket money while having fun,” he said.
That experience sparked his interest in pursuing a career in the
entertainment scene. After seven years in television, Arifin made his film debut in the Indonesian romantic comedy, Lost in Love, in 2008.
But the roles that really shot him to stardom were that of a psychopathic cannibal in Macabre(2009), and his turn as the overly-ambitious son of a mob boss in The Raid 2: Berandal (2014).
As for Reza, he had wanted to be a national swimmer. When this dream failed to materialise, he took up acting seriously.
Like Arifin, Reza started his acting career on television before
taking on film roles. The role that put him on the map was that of former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie in Habibie & Ainun(2012), and its prequel,Rudy Habibie(2016).
To get into the skin of his character, Reza spent more than seven hours interviewing the former president. The actor is also rumoured to be taking on the role again a third time in a future film.
Aside from their nationality and acting backgrounds, both actors
also share a mixed parentage. Reza’s dad is Iranian and his mum, Indonesian.
“I never had any kind of conflict [about] whether I’m Iranian or
Indonesian,” he said.
“Since I was born and [raised] in Indonesia, I’m Indonesian.”
But it was different for Arifin who was born in Mainz, Germany,
before moving to Jakarta at the tender age of three.
“For the Germans, I was not German enough, and for the Indonesians, I am not Indonesian enough,” he lamented.
Initially, Arifin was confused about his identity. But with time, he
learned to appreciate the diversity of his heritage.
The two said that the competition between actors in Indonesia is intense but healthy.
“It gives you a reason not to stay in your comfort zone, and you will always be learning and improving,” said Reza.
But they lamented the fact that the same old faces are dominating
the film awards, and said the Indonesian film industry is in dire
need of new blood to inject excitement and prolong its longevity.
Reza pointed out that many young actors prefer to act in television series because they get paid more compared to films.
However, he said: “In television, when one role makes you famous,
you will be [typecast]. You will keep doing the same old stuff on
television. You do not push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“In films, you have a chance to play a variety [of roles].”
Reza stressed that one needs to be a little patient to enjoy the
rewards that films can give, and sadly, patience is one thing missing
from the younger generation of actors.
Arifin added that some producers are only keen to hire actors who have many followers on social media.
“It is sad if an actor get chosen for a role [just] because he has high
number of [followers], and not because of his talent,” he said.
“You must understand you may have thousands of followers in your social media, but it does not necessarily translate into money. They may not necessarily buy tickets to your films.”
As for their future plans, Reza expressed a desire to sit in the
director’s chair – he has already helmed three short films – while
Arifin wants to be a film producer.