Azri Sabri is slowly making an impact in the local entertainment industry with his talent and screen presence

ACTOR Azri Sabri is one of those faces you don’t forget. He has won over fans of drama series such as Curi-Curi Cinta and Demi Rindumu, and has also played a pivotal role in the film Wira.

According to Azri, acting was not something he initially thought of pursuing but it was something he discovered when he acted in commercials.

“I started doing commercials when I was 18 years old and studying for my diploma. After that, I started working as an insurance agent for a year.”

Azri said he got bored and tried other kinds of work.

“Doing commercials was always a part-time job for me during that time. In 2015, I was offered an opportunity to be part of an independent short film project and I said: ‘Yes, why not?’. While doing the short film, I enjoyed it because it was something different from doing commercials. From then on, I started to watch films and started doing parodies of my favourite scenes.”

He also took up some basic acting classes.

“I started my first acting job in a drama series as an extra. Slowly, I got selected for extra featured roles for a few scenes. Then, I started going for open castings.”

That landed him roles in TV dramas.

“In 2018, I got an offer to be part of KRS’ Talent management team and from there, my management has been helping me in building my acting career until now.”

He recently finished shooting for a series called Kelmarin Cinta and has already worked on another series called KL Gangster Underworld Season 2. He is also working with a streaming service provider on another project.

Azri says that things have changed since he was on Wira.

“I would say my roles are getting more colourful than before. People, especially directors, are starting to explore my acting abilities. I would like to explore more variety in terms of roles in the future. I am looking forward to pursuing more action and thriller-oriented roles!”

Talking about the actors who have influenced him, Azri said: “When I was growing up, locally I always looked up to Bell Ngasri, Faizal Hussein, Bront Palarae, Ogy Ahmad Daud and many more.

Internationally, I would say Anthony Hopkins, Jim Carrey, Daniel Day Lewis, Toni Collette and Sigourney Weaver. To me, they are all good actors in their own special way.”

Azri says he plans to be an actor for the long haul.

“Right now, I’m focusing on acting and trying to get myself into the overseas market, especially in Indonesia and if possible, maybe in Hollywood, too. I have done a Chinese film called Blade Dancer, produced and directed by a director from China. I loved the experience of working with an international production and crew. I also enjoyed working with Adrian Teh (director for Wira) and the Wira team.

They were all professional and it was an amazing experience. I am also thinking of directing and maybe producing content in the future.”

While restrictions due to the pandemic have got many people down, Azri seems to be fine with it.

“I think things have changed, especially in terms of socialising. There are many good things that came out of it as I get to focus on myself, on what to improve and what to learn. I also get to spend more time for myself and my family. Apart from the SOP on the set, there is not much difference in terms of work. Just maybe the schedules are always changing due to the availability of the locations.”

He believes the industry will recover and reach the heights it did in 2019.

“Not only will it recover, I think our local entertainment will evolve more in terms of exposure as we can see now there are many online streaming channels out there.”

As for his future plans, he says: “I want to focus on being a more versatile actor, explore more roles and keep pushing myself to prepare for any role in the near future.”