Prepared to go far

22 Aug 2019 / 11:07 H.

INDONESIAN actor Nicholas Saputra made his presence felt right from his first leading role in Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (2002), when he was just 18 years old.

His portrayal of a brooding, literature-loving high-school boy in this puppy love tale earned him his first nomination for best leading actor in the 2004 Indonesian Film Festival.

Since then, the now 35-year-old has appeared in a string of films such as Janji Joni and Gie (both in 2005), Pendekar Tongkat Emas (2014), Interchange (2016) and Aruna dan Lidahnya (2018) that have added to his stature as an actor.

Nicholas will next be seen in Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s quirky horror film Motel Acacia.

The film, about a Filipino groomed by his tyrannical Caucasian father to exterminate immigrants at their family-run motel, was shot mainly in the Philippines and partly in Slovenia.

The only thing Nicholas was willing to reveal about his latest role is that he is playing the main antagonist, an Indonesian immigrant.

Motel Acacia is expected to hit cinemas early next year.

This is not the actor’s first time working outside of Indonesia. Three years ago, he starred in Dain Said’s Malaysian-made film Interchange.

“I love working with new people (outside of Indonesia),” said Nicholas during a recent interview while he was in Kuala Lumpur for the 3rd Malaysia International Film Festival where he was one of the award presenters at the Golden Global Awards.

“I get to learn about their culture,” he added. “It helps with my learning process [and also] satisfies my curiosity.”

Despite gaining fame at an early age, Nicholas has no plans to emulate Asian stars like Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra or our very own Henry Golding to try his luck in Hollywood.

Born to a German father and an Indonesian mother, Nicholas said: “If you are in Hollywood, you will be known worldwide. But I do not know if that is what I am looking for.

“I want to enjoy walking the streets of Tokyo [where] nobody notices me. I want to enjoy taking the subway in London and nobody knows me. I do not want that to be taken away from me.”

He added that he never signed up for fame. “I became an actor because I want to express myself. I was not seeking to be famous.”

He is constantly juggling between the need to express himself through acting and being an average Joe where he can walk on a street without being stared at.

One wonders if he hates fame.

“Hate is a [strong] word,” he said. “Let us just say I have a unique relationship with fame.”

After Ada Apa Dengan Cinta, Nicholas was flooded with acting offers. He could have easily accepted every role that came his way. But he did not.

“I wanted to enjoy other things [besides] acting,” he explained. “I wanted to travel. I wanted to spend time with family and friends.”

He also refused to let acting disrupt his studies. He went on to complete a degree in architecture.

Nicholas also made it a point to only act in one film a year. This allows him to choose roles that he feels passionate about. He believes this helped shape his career.

The actor has been labelled as ‘uncooperative’ when it comes to doing interviews. He has been said to be extremely moody with reporters and was even accused of making an Indonesian journalist cry.

He refused to confirm or deny any of these stories. He said: “I am not an angel who is nice 24/7. I have seen people who are depressed, because others expect them to be nice all the time. Nobody can be nice all the time.”

Nicholas also said he does not fear growing older. “When you are in your 20s, you walk into a room [hoping] to look interesting. But when you are in your 30s, you walk into a room and you ask who is interesting.

“I like the idea that you do not need to prove anything when you get older.”

He is also not afraid of showing off any wrinkles, lines or scars he might have. “I have a scar here,” he said, pointing to below his eyebrow. “I got the scar when I was four years old. I fell from a swing.”

Over the years, there have been suggestions he should ‘fix’ the scar. But he refused. He believes that every scar and every line has a story to tell, and the last thing he wants is for vanity to erase those stories.

email blast