Family fight club

15 Nov 2019 / 09:05 H.

LAST year, film director and producer Adrian Teh was riding high when his military action film Paskal: The Movie made with a budget of RM10 million netted over RM30 million at the box office.

Paskal: The Movie became the third highest-grossing Malaysian film of all time after Munafik 2 (RM37 million) and Hantu Kak Limah (RM36 million).

“I never expected any of my films to reach the RM 30 million mark,” Teh told theSun.

He is now preparing for the release of his eighth film Wira on Nov 21, an action packed thriller that deals with a family caught up in the world of underground fight clubs.

Expectations are high for Wira to beat the box office record of Paskal: The Movie. But Teh is not letting the pressure get to him.

The 35-year-old director explains: “The box office is something I cannot control. It is out of my hands. I cannot force the audience to see my film.”

He rather put his energy and his attention into things under his control, which is to make sure Wira is a quality action film.

For that, he hired well-known Indonesian action choreographer-cum-actor Yayan Ruhian to coordinate the fight scenes in Wira.

Yayan has worked on exciting and cutting-edge fight scenes in Indonesian action films such as The Raid and Merantau, as well as in Hollywood movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum and Beyond Skyline. Teh says he loves the way Yayaan choreographs fight scenes, with a touch of edginess and danger.

Made with budget of RM8 million Wira centres on Hassan (Hairul Azreen) who leaves home at a young age to join the army.

Several years later, Hassan returns home to help his younger sister Zain (Fify Azmi), who owes money to mob boss Raja (Dain Said).

To settle her debt, both Hassan and Zain must take part in an underground fight club that belongs to Raja. The two have to battle against fighters Vee (Ismi Melinda) and Rayyan (Josiah Hogan), who happen to be Raja’s children.

Teh also spoke about his biggest ‘coup’ – convincing award-winning director Dain (Bunohan, Interchange and Dukun) to play the film’s main antagonist.

“He fits the character,” Teh explains his decision.

However, he admits it took him several attempts to get Dain to agree. Dain insisted on auditioning for the role, and Teh put him through two rounds of auditions.

“He nailed the role in both [attempts],” he says.

He adds that he believes that Dain’s performance will become a talking point among audiences.

Together again

Wira also sees Teh reunite with Hairul, who was his leading man in Paskal: The Movie.

Teh says: “I love working with Hairul. He was totally committed and professional. He worked out and got super fit [for the role]. I am impressed by his dedication.”

Hairul himself pointed out that Teh was the first director to give him the lead role in a film.

In the past, Hairul – who has been acting in feature films since 2011 – was mainly given supporting roles.

Hairul said: “He trusted [that] I could carry a film on my shoulders. I will always be grateful to him. ”

Hairul likes the fact that Teh is “not a dictator on set”, and listens to his suggestions on how to portray his character onscreen.

Teh also made sure that Hairul and his co-stars underwent mixed martial arts and fitness training for three months before cameras began rolling.

“That allowed me to carry out action scenes more confidently,” says the 31-year-old actor, who also holds a black belt in Taekwondo, and who represented Selangor in the 2004 Sukma Games.

Hairul was also thrilled by the opportunity to work with stunt coordinator Yayan, and he believes the experience has made him a better action star.

Hairul describes his character Hassan as a cool and happy-go-lucky guy, but who is unable to control his anger.

“Once he gets angry, he simply explodes without thinking or holding back,” he says.

Hairul will next be seen in the Syafiq Yusof-helmed Abang Long Fadil 3, which premieres in cinemas early next year.

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