After playing in the 2006 adventure film Ekspedisi Madewa with actor Tora Sudiro, actress Marsha Timothy realized she had found a new passion: acting.
Marsha recently participated in the Indie Film Festival where she also submitted a film highlighting her directorial debut. After a press conference about the festival, she shared her thoughts on her passion about film and her personal life.
The soft spoken actress patiently responded to several questions, including on rumors about her would-be marriage to boyfriend actor Fachri Albar, the son of veteran rocker Ahmad Albar.
Marsha simply stated that she would talk about marriage at the right time. However, when a reporter from an entertainment program posed another question about whether her family members had urged her and Fachri to marry given they had been in a relationship for three years, she replied, “Enough, please. I am bored with that question.”
During the interview, the 31-year-old actress paused several times to cough, but kept trying to speak gracefully. Her big eyes showed high enthusiasm when she talked about her professional life.
After having the rare opportunity to play opposite Fachri in a critically acclaimed thriller movie titled Pintu Terlarang (Forbidden Door), she said she would appear in another leading role in an upcoming religion-related movie titled Khalifah.
In the movie, set to be screened in January, she plays Khalifah, a young woman who agrees to an arranged marriage with Rasyid (played by actor Indra Herlambang) to help her family.
Marsha said the movie gave her a new challenge as she had to wear a veil covering half of her face most of the time.
“The challenge was in the expression of the eyes and the few spoken lines. I had to act using gestures and facial expressions,” she said, adding that she agreed to play in the film because she liked the story and the character of Khalifah.
In order to have a good understanding about her character, she said she had many discussions with other cast members and director Nurman Hakim, who directed award-winning film 3 Doa 3 Cinta (3 Prayers, 3 Loves).
Other members of the cast include Indra Herlambang, Ben Joshua, Titi Sjuman and Yoga Pratama.
Marsha said she takes every character seriously because she believes that each character is unique and has its own difficulty. Underestimating a simple character would be the very last thing on her mind when it comes to acting.
“To me, all characters are difficult. Every character, even though it may be just an ordinary girl such as a college student, is difficult for me,” she said.
The 2009 French film ambassador said she is determined to focus on developing her career as a film and television actress. This is something that may not have crossed her mind several years ago before her first movie, Ekspedisi Madewa.
“In the beginning, I didn’t intend to act in movies or on stage. But after trying it once, I wanted to repeat the experience again and again. I have fallen in love with acting,” she said.
The filming process has become an inseparable part of her life.
“I always miss the teamwork because after working together for days, it seems that we have a family bond,” Marsha said, adding that she was always sad after the completion of a film.
Besides starring in a few TV advertisements and video clips, she also plays in many TV films, locally known as FTV, such as Nyanyian Cinta (Love Song), Ranjang Rumput Hijau (Green Grass Bed) and Ketika Cinta Tak Dapat Dimengerti (When Love Cannot be Understood).
Her second and third big screen films in 2007 were Coklat Stroberi and Merah itu Cinta.
She had a busy year in 2008, when she played in four drama films – From Bandung With Love, In the Name of Love, Cinta Setaman (Love Potpourri) and Otomatis Romantis (Automatically Romantic) in which she once again played with Tora Sudiro.
Having much experience in playing in drama movies and experience in playing a thriller movie, Marsha said she wanted to get a role in a new genre of film.
“I want to play in an action movie. There is no special reason. I am just curious and want to try it,” she said.
She said she did not do specific activities to hone her acting skills, but she acknowledged her hobby of watching films had in a way helped her understand different characters.
“I like watching all kinds of movies except ghost films. If I need to watch one, usually I watch it in the afternoon because it is very scary,” she said.
Unlike many other celebrities who have plunged into the business world through such things as fashion or food, Marsha has directed her interest outside her career to education. Before entering the film industry, she said she wanted to become a teacher as soon as she finished her bachelor’s degree in economics at Trisakti University in Jakarta.
“I haven’t sent my curriculum vitae to any schools, but I had already thought about becoming a kindergarten teacher,” she said.
Her new passion in film has not stopped her from nourishing her past dream. Right now, she said she was saving money in hope of building a kindergarten or elementary school. “Hopefully this dream will come true,” she said.
Marsha said she had a turning point in her life when she lost her father when she was 21. The loss somehow made her more independent. “My father was a typical head of the family who took care of everything, including my mom. Suddenly, he was gone and we had to take care of ourselves,” she said.
Marsha claimed she was not an ambitious person, but the actress, a critical movie lover who is hard to please, definitely seeks perfection in her work. “When I watch my acting, I criticize many things. Gosh, I should have been like this or like that …,” she said.
Amid her busy shooting schedule, Marsha recently had the chance to direct an indie movie titled Naruto Bersyukur for the LA Lights Indie Movie Festival.
Her first experience as a director gave her anxiety and enthusiasm at the same time. She said she went to the movie set too early because she was too excited and nervous.
“At first, I was extremely unsure [about my capability], but I tried to work on the movie without burden. I eventually finished the film, thanks to the workshop, the SET film and especially my team,” Marsha said.
Unlike Raffi Ahmad who chose girlfriend singer Yuni Shara to play the lead role in his indie movie, Marsha did not involve her boyfriend in her film. Instead, she chose actor and musician Vincent Rompies as the main character.
“I chose Vincent because I’d never seen him play a serious character,” she said.
Was she satisfied with the short movie?
Marsha said she wasn’t totally satisfied, but she could enjoy watching the result because it was passionately made by her team.
“It’s not easy to become a director and I still need to learn a lot,” she said. She hoped to get enough time and long preparation for future directing opportunities.
Claiming that she was not an ambitious person in either her professional or private lives, Marsha said she just wanted to be a better actress. “I only want to act better than before, so I can deliver better work,” she said.