Oka Antara: Up for a challenge
Andreas D. Arditya
The Jakarta Post
Actor Oka Antara is on cloud nine.
His two latest movies premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January and will be screened across Indonesia in the next two months.
The 33-year-old said he already felt blessed to be involved in the violently dark psychological thriller Killers and bloodthirsty action movie The Raid 2: Berandal.
Having the films chosen by the festival's organizer was the icing on the cake, the father of three said.
Before he was offered the roles, Oka had been on a break from making movies after playing a leading role in Ifa Isfansyah's critically acclaimed film Sang Penari (The Dancer) in 2011.
In Sang Penari, Oka played a poor man who turned into a soldier. He willingly starved himself to portray the character of a man with malnutrition, but then suddenly built up again to play a cocky and snobbish soldier.
'During my two year filmmaking hiatus I craved going back to shooting, but I didn't want to disappoint people who had been waiting for my performance,' he told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Killers in Jakarta.
'The wait was well worth it because I got Killers and Berandal.'
Killers, directed by lauded duo the Mo brothers, was his first attempt at acting in a psychological thriller. He considered it a very challenging project when compared to his mostly drama movies of the past.
In the thriller, Oka's character ' Bayu Aditya ' is a journalist facing a dead-end in his career and a marriage in ruins who then takes an interest in violent killings.
'I discussed the character many times with the directors. In many scenes that required the portrayal of a deep emotional struggle, I requested special time to prepare myself.'
After starring in numerous TV films and TV serials mostly depicting run-of-the-mill romances and dramas, Oka said he was very glad to have the opportunity to exert his acting talent to the max.
'Playing a family man or a guy having a dinner date is easy, but in Killers, I had to go insane,' he says.
'This type of acting takes a lot of effort. It is physically and mentally exhausting. Now that I've done it, I found myself addicted to this kind of work but I don't think I have the strength to do this kind of acting for more than once a year. It is truly tiring.'
Oka made his acting debut in 2005 after switching from a career in banking to become an emcee and a
In his debut movie, Oka starred in Gue Kapok Jatuh Cinta (I Give Up Falling in Love) directed by Awi Suryadi and Thomas Nawilis. Oka wrote songs for the movie's original soundtrack and performed a duet with singer Sabria Kono for the track 'So Special', which became a hit.
He has also featured in Dunia Mereka (Their World, 2006); Hantu (Ghost, 2007); The Shaman ( 2008 ); Ayat-Ayat Cinta (Verses of Love, 2008); Perempuan Berkalung Sorban (Woman in Headscarf, 2009); Queen Bee ( 2009 ) and Hari Untuk Amanda (Days for Amanda, 2010).
Ayat-ayat Cinta earned him a Citra award nomination for best leading actor at the Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) in 2008.
He was later nominated in the same FFI category for Hari Untuk Amanda in 2010 and won the best actor at the Indonesia Movie Awards in the same year.
He was also awarded best supporting actor at the 2009 Bandung Film Festival for Perempuan Berkalung Sorban.
When asked whether he would focus on feature films rather than TV-based jobs, Oka took his time to reply.
'It's a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, there's the need to consistently be in the eyes of the viewer, but on another hand I long for challenging roles,' he said.
Oka said his dream acting role would be starring in a film that had a perfect balance of action and drama.
'I want to play in an action movie with a bigger role, but also still be able to explore my emotional acting skills.'
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