Hit­ting Hard


Ac­tor Ario Bayu chats with DA­MAN’s Riga Ra­mad­han about play­ing in the col­losal film “Sul­tan Agung” and his con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal film in­dus­try Pho­tog­ra­phy Robby Agus

Ac­tor Ario Bayu chats with DA­MAN’s Riga Ra­mad­han about “Sul­tan Agung” and his con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal film in­dus­try


Work­ing with a sea­soned ac­tor like Ario Bayu is al­ways a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. At first glance, you can’t help but no­tice the de­ter­mi­na­tion em­a­nat­ing from the man. Ar­riv­ing on set at lunch hour, he talked lightly, with a dash of his drama-com­edy per­sona but com­pletely at ease. Bayu ex­plained that he’s just fin­ished shoot­ing his new movie un­til 7AM in the morn­ing. “i’m still quite a bit jet-lagged after work,” he calmly says, open­ing the con­ver­sa­tion. “i just fin­ished shoot­ing the parts for my char­ac­ter ear­lier this morn­ing. i can’t share with you the ti­tle yet, but i can tell you that i fi­nally got a role as the vil­lain!”

Yes, you read that right. As we can see from his roles in his pre­vi­ous movies, Bayu has al­most al­ways played the benev­o­lent good guy. “i al­ways wanted to know what it feels like to be on the other side—to be the bad guy,” he elab­o­rates. “But, de­spite every­thing, i’m still grate­ful for what­ever role i have the chance to play with. i’m re­ally happy to be able to do what i love each and ev­ery day. it’s the best feel­ing.”

if any­thing, the act­ing is—and has al­ways been—Bayu’s pri­mary goal. Un­der­ly­ing that state­ment are the four re­leased movies that he starred in this year: From “Cross­roads: One Two Jaga,” “Buf­falo Boys,” “22 Menit” and “Sul­tan Agung: Tahta, per­juan­gan dan Cinta.” par­tic­u­larly for the lat­ter, Bayu men­tioned that delv­ing into his char­ac­ter as a sul­tan was, at first, quite dif­fi­cult.

“when we were in the mid­dle of re­hearsals for Sul­tan Agung, i re­al­ized and i truly felt that be­ing a king was re­ally hard,” he ex­plains. “i felt like my en­tire king­dom, phys­i­cally, some­times feels like a prison. Then, there’s also a bit of lone­li­ness felt by the peo­ple with this kind of power. To top it off, there’s also this ques­tion about in­tegrity. Do they re­ally care and hear you be­cause of your great vi­sion, great ideas or is it just a mat­ter of fact that, for them, you are their king? And they just agree with what­ever you say.”

As the say­ing goes, ev­ery role teaches you some­thing about your­self, ei­ther as an ac­tor or as a hu­man be­ing. in this case, Bayu found a new re­spect for peo­ple who be­come lead­ers. “i salute them for their courage. whether it is be­com­ing the pres­i­dent, or sim­ply a hus­band, i have a re­spect for those of you who take a great re­spon­si­bil­ity and have the courage to make choices,” he goes on. “it was a re­ally mean­ing­ful jour­ney for me to be­come a king.”

And when it comes to the jour­ney, Bayu feels that it’s the process that’s most im­por­tant.

“The key for me is the process. with all of the movies that i’ve done, the process is very im­por­tant to me as an ac­tor. why? Be­cause, i’m not gifted. i’m not tal­ented. i al­ways be­lieve that hard work beats tal­ent ev­ery sin­gle time,” he elab­o­rates. “From A to Z, i al­ways try real hard not to miss any­thing. pre­par­ing every­thing helps me to man­i­fest my char­ac­ter in front of the cam­era. if you are well pre­pared, chances are, the ra­tio of you fail­ing dur­ing the shoot­ing process be­comes smaller.”

Trust in the lo­cal film in­dus­try is another is­sue that has pulled his at­ten­tion, as he ac­knowl­edges that right now, trust for this in­dus­try has al­ready re­turned. “There was a time when we have one or two hun­dred thou­sand view­ers see­ing a movie, and we were like ‘yeah, we made it!’ But now, we al­ready man­aged to get six mil­lion peo­ple and we can com­pete with box of­fice ti­tles from abroad. This is a great num­ber for our lo­cal in­dus­try,” Bayu pas­sion­ately ex­plains. “That means the mar­ket al­ready trusts our own prod­ucts. And we can’t lose this trust. what do we have to do to get more and more view­ers in the near fu­ture? we surely need bet­ter sto­ries and bet­ter qual­ity movies! At least, if i don’t have a one hun­dred bil­lion ru­piah to make a great movie, i still have my­self as a pro­po­nent to be an in­stru­ment for the in­dus­try. i want to be and i have to be a good ac­tor, be­cause i don’t want to let the au­di­ence down. That’s the very least i can do for the in­dus­try.”

in clos­ing, it would cer­tainly seem that Ario Bayu will al­ways try as hard as he can. The ques­tion that re­mains for now, will the in­dus­try put in the same amount of work as he does? Only time will tell ... although as al­ways, for­tune fa­vors the bold, right?

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