The perks of be­ing Chicco Jerikho

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - Between The Lines - WORDS YULIASRI PERDANI PHO­TOS JERRY ADIGUNA

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”

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