The perks of being Chicco Jerikho
Chicco Jerikho has mixed feelings about his rising fame.
With a cheeky grin, the actor admitted that fame helped him get out of a traffic ticket. The traffic police apparently recognized him and only reminded him to follow the traffic signs. On the other hand, Chicco is annoyed that his fame can disrupt his lunch and dinner. Chicco noted that his fans, who are mostly women, often grab him and take Wefies with him when he is still eating his meal.
“Usually, the girls who look quiet turn to be the feistiest ones,” he chuckled.
Fame has also put him under constant media spotlight, and it is a challenge for him to keep his relationship with actress Chelsea Islan a private matter.
“I always avoid questions about my relationship because I feel that it is better to talk our achievements,” said the 32-year-old of Thai and Batak descent.
Indeed, he has many achievements that can be discussed, apart from his relationships and good looks.
Starting his career as a model and soap opera star in the early 2000s, Chicco has acted in a number of critically acclaimed films, won his first Citra Award and is now starting his new endeavor as a film producer. December will mark the release two of his new movies:
Terjebak Nostalgia (Trapped in Nostalgia), a romantic drama set in the US which pairs him with singer Raisa, and Bukaan 8, a drama comedy centering on a millennial couple expecting their first child.
Bukaan 8 marks the second project that Chicco co-produced with his friend and longtime collaborator, director Angga Dwimas Sasongko.
“We want to make something cool and entirely new. Angga told me the experience when he was waiting for her wife to deliver their second child. I thought ‘that’s interesting, why don’t we make film about this?’”
Chicco said Bukaan 8, written by Salman Aristo, was a challenge to show his comedic side in playing the character of a young husband named Alam.
His character research started way before the film project was conceived. Chicco accompanied Angga and his wife, producer Anggia Kharisma, to the hospital when Anggia was about to go into labor.
“I saw how panicked Angga was. When we had lunch,
he barely could finish his meal. It was hilarious!” Chicco recalled.
The comedic Bukaan 8 is poles apart from the first film project that Chicco co-produced, Surat dari Praha (Letters from Prague), which touches on a dark chapter in the country’s history when Indonesian students and alleged communist sympathizers were forced into exile in the aftermath of the 1965 political turmoil.
Released early this year, the film — starring Tio Pakusadewo and Julie Estelle — garnered praise from critics, won three Usmar Ismail Awards and was selected as Indonesia’s entry for the Academy Awards. However, it only attracted around 60,000 viewers at movie theaters.
“We did not set huge expectations for the movie, but when we eventually only got a small audience […] what else can we do?” Chicco sighed.
“However, I am happy to work with this team because we address an issue that needs to be told.”
After all, commercial success is not the main goal for Chicco as a producer.
“We weren’t really thinking about the profit first, but how we can make a film wholeheartedly that makes both of us and the audience happy,” he said.
“It would be troublesome if we focus on profit because the Indonesian audience is so unpredictable.” EXPLORING ROLES
Chicco’s entertainment career began when he participated in a modelling competition in 2000. He started playing in soap operas and achieved success with his role in the 2007 soap opera, Cinta Bunga. Slowly but surely, Chicco shifted his focus to film projects. His career received a boost in 2014, when he took the role of Sani Tawainela in Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku (Light from the East: I’m Maluku). Sani is a real-life figure who brought together the children in the once conflict-prone Maluku through soccer. The role required Chicco to gain 15 kilograms, darken his skin and spend months in Tulehu, Central Maluku. All his hard work paid off. Chicco won his first Citra Award — Indonesia’s equivalent of the Oscars — in 2014.
Chicco also worked with renowned director, Joko Anwar, in the critically acclaimed A Copy of My Mind, playing Alek, who makes subtitles for pirated DVDs and becomes entangled in a major political scandal.
In Garin Nugroho’s Aach… Aku Jatuh Cinta! (Chaotic Love Poems), Chicco and Pevita Pearce enliven the love story of the stubborn Rumi and the gentle Yulia that spans from the 1970s to the 1990s. TOMYUM AND COFFEE
Aside from his love for motion pictures, Chicco is known for his passion for cuisine and coffee.
He runs CJ Tomyum, a Thai restaurant founded in 2011, with his brother Jeremy and father Chana Jarumillinal. The restaurant is a tribute to his family’s Thai heritage.
“I love culinary matters, especially Thai cuisine because my father is from Thailand. Moreover, the sour spicy taste of Thai food suits Indonesian taste buds.”
Chicco is also the proud owner of Filosofi Kopi café in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. The café was originally the film set of the namesake movie, in which Chicco played a free-spirited barista named Ben.
“[Prior to filming], I extensively studied Indonesian coffee and took a barista course. When I had been certified as barista, I thought ‘why don’t I open a café? I understand how it works,’” said Chicco, who will reprise his role of Ben in the Filosofi Kopi sequel.
In a recent media gathering at the café, Chicco — despite being bombarded with questions from journalists — could not help but join the baristas preparing some cups of coffee.
The small café is often swarmed by teenagers on weekends, with many curious to sip a cup of coffee like in the movies and take selfies around the café. Others, perhaps, are secretly hoping that Chicco will pop into the café. So, what’s next for Chicco? “Anything,” he said. “I just do what I can do while I am young!”
“I extensively studied Indonesian coffee and took a barista course. When I had been certified as barista, I thought ‘why don’t I open a café?’ I understand how it works”