BROUGHT up in an artistically-inclined family, Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin was naturally introduced to arts at a very young age, notably through his late father, who was the former secretary-general of the Tourism and Culture Ministry and an ardent painter and poet, as well as his mother, a former playwright.
At the age of nine, Iedil and his younger siblings were part of Tunas Budaya, a pioneer children’s arts troupe, and they would watch plays and performances every other week.
“I remember watching Raja Lawak, a play by Zakaria Ariffin, when I was a kid. Watching the actors perform and having so much fun doing it made me want to be on stage and become an actor,” he recalls.
At Tunas Budaya, he took up traditional dance, music and theatre classes, and acted in his first theatre production titled Remember The Rest House (1994), marking the start of his acting journey that has spanned over 20 years in both local productions and on the international stage.
“You get to live many lives as an actor, through the characters’ stories which are a reflection of the present time and society. It is something that I’ve only come to learn and realise as I get older,” Iedil said.
What are some of the most influential film directors that have had an impact on you?
P. Ramlee, of course. I grew up watching his films. I love Danny Boyle’s storytelling and visual style, as well as Wes Anderson, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron’s films. Dain Said was someone I looked forward to working with and finally had the honour to do so in his fantasy-thriller film Interchange (2016).
In fact, I enjoy working with directors whom I’ve never worked with, especially my peers, the young and the so-called new wave filmmakers. I like the idea of discovering and making things together.
Theatre, film and TV are similar in the sense of performing arts but individually different in discipline. How different is it to act in each type of production?
It comes with time. I know now how to gauge with different productions. My theatre background helps a lot in the most fundamental sense of preparing myself as an actor. I try to apply as much knowledge from stage acting and adapt them in film and TV.
So when it comes to approach or methodology, it’s pretty much similar – know the story, be the character, rehearse, analyse the script and ask questions! Always get to know the actors on set, what the director wants, and explore.
Your siblings and your wife are also in the film industry, do you often feel the pressure to meet certain expectations?
My eldest brother is no longer a film producer, my sister acts occasionally and my younger brother is a theatre lecturer at Aswara.
There really isn’t any pressure at all, we just enjoy doing it. What we do individually also serve as a great conversation topic. We often talk about the arts industry and the politics behind it. With my wife, who is also an actress, we learn and live off each others’ perspectives and experiences.
You moved to Jakarta in 2016 after getting married and continue to grow as an actor. Has Jakarta served you well?
The film industry in Jakarta is significantly bigger, with lots of opportunities. But the real challenge was to start from scratch. I had to learn the language, the accent and slang while expanding my network to meet new people from within the industry.
Putting my acting experience in Malaysia aside, I consider myself to be quite new in Jakarta. It certainly has more exciting projects spanning a variety of film genres to explore, and it’s a great stepping stone to progress as an actor.
Having done work in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia, I’d love to gain a foothold in Europe and Hollywood next. I envy how actors from both continents are able to star in cross-border film productions, which is very normal. I wish for that to happen for Malaysia and Indonesia. We practically speak the same language and it will do us good as both countries expand beyond its native audience.
Tell us more about your baking endeavour.
When the pandemic happened, I was lost and badly affected by it. I didn’t have any work at all as projects and acting gigs were cancelled. Like everyone else, I have bills to pay and mouths to feed.
One day, my wife and I were watching some random cooking videos on YouTube and she gave me the idea to try and bake. For someone who has never baked in his entire life, my first batch of cookies turned out surprisingly good. Soon, I started baking for a cafe in Jakarta.
I came back to Kuala Lumpur hoping that I would land some acting jobs but to no avail. Therefore, I turned to the next best thing I can do – baking.
The business has been growing, I’ve also been supplying to a few cafes in KL, and catered for a wedding. I might consider an expansion and do this full time. But nothing is set in stone, I’ll just see where it takes me.