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Jakarta Post

Joe Taslim: His fast & furious moment

Joe Taslim: His fast & furious moment (AP/Carlo Allegri) (AP/Carlo Allegri)
Niken Prathivi
Jakarta   ●   Sun, May 19, 2013

(AP/Carlo Allegri)Getting a role in Hollywood'€™s blockbuster Fast & Furious 6 is a life-changing moment for actor Johannes '€œJoe'€ Taslim.

'€œMy life has been great. I cannot complain,'€ said the man when summing up the latest development in his five-year acting career.

His rise to fame came following his successful role in The Raid action flick by Welsh Gareth Evans in 2011. A year later, Joe stepped up in his career '€” taking part in Dead Mine, HBO Asia'€™s first action-thriller movie.

'€œBeing an actor has always been my dream,'€ said the 31-year-old actor, who was born in the South Sumatra capital, Palembang.

Prior to his current career, he was a judo athlete '€” he was listed in the national squad, leading him to win several notable national and international championships, such as winning a gold medal at Southeast Asia Judo championships in 1999 and a silver at Southeast Asian Games in 2007.

'€œI was a judo athlete, while taking modeling as my side job, before I eventually quit my professional sports career over a knee injury.'€

Joe revealed that being 12 years in judo was partly because of his parents'€™ wish.

'€œMy parents wanted me to become a national athlete. I did it because I wanted to make them happy. But acting has always been the main aim,'€ he said, adding that it was his time to pursue his dream.

In 2007, he launched his acting career, referring to his role in Karma (2008) and Rasa (Sense, 2009).

'€œThen came The Raid, which was a true sustenance for me,'€ he said.

And he couldn'€™t be more grateful over his recent success '€” getting a bad guy role named Jah in the latest Fast & Furious franchise.

'€œI'€™m satisfied with what I'€™ve done. I mean, I was nobody, but then I got involved in the phenomenal The Raid and I was trusted by a great director, Justin [Lin of Fast & Furious 6], to take part in the movie '€” so, I really can'€™t complain,'€ he says.

Despite his roles in action films, Joe said that he was not obsessed with the genre.

'€œI actually have one film set to release this year that is a light, popular genre. The film is entitled La Tahzan '€” a quite religious story.'€

Playing in different film genres is important to develop his skills, he added.

'€œI need to slow down, playing in a pop flick before taking another dark character,'€ said Joe, who along with Gareth and Timo Tjahyanto is in another action movie project, entitled The Night Comes for Us.

'€œGareth and Timo team up, giving me a hit-man character. It'€™s sort of The Raid meets Rumah Dara. The upcoming film is going to be a mix of martial arts and bloody scenes,'€ he said, referring to film titles of each director respectively.

Joe, who is big fan of the drama genre, said that he loved to learn acting by simply doing it.

'€œI don'€™t take acting classes '€” I'€™m quite an autodidact. I prefer to learn from other actors by watching various movies. Evaluate my acting, spot the flaws and fix them,'€ he said.

The learning process is ongoing. I know that auditioning [in Hollywood] is pretty demanding.'€

As part of his professional attitude in the business, he keeps his body fit and in shape '€” running 5 kilometers a day.

'€œMy work demands good stamina so I have to train to maintain my endurance,'€ he said, adding that his current training regime is much lighter than in his athlete'€™s years.

'€œI was running for 12 years when I was in judo. Now, I don'€™t feel well if don'€™t run at all. Such a disciplined attitude works perfectly with my current job.'€

Apart from the hustle-bustle of the entertainment industry and his super busy schedule, the father of two confessed that deep down he was just a simple family man with a normal daily life, preferring to spend good times with his family when not in working mode.

'€œI'€™m giving back [some quality time] to them because I'€™m always away when I'€™m working. I do some exercises, take the kids to and pick them up from school '€” and that'€™s it. My life is two different things when I'€™m on and off the screen. I prefer not to mix the two together.'€

His off-screen daily routine after waking up is having breakfast, playing with his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, taking them to school, exercise, helping in the family business for an hour or two, having another exercise session and meeting with friends or family.

Once in a while, he likes to visit his old judo club and practice with his friends.

Despite the quality of an actor'€™s performance, Joe believes that a successful film is made of solid team work.

'€œIf you get a great director who sees your potential and knows how to direct you, the movie will be awesome. Yet, if the director doesn'€™t have good chemistry with his crew and actors, it won'€™t be fruitful,'€ said the fan of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Michael Mann.

Joe chose to be careful on selecting future film project deals.

'€œMy standard is definitely for quality. After The Raid, I found that taking part in a good film will lead to a better career,'€ he said, refusing to take various roles in films just for publicity stunts.

'€œIt'€™s not about quantity at all. I'€™m not planning on being in 20 feature films a year, it is more about the opportunity to pick a great script with a great director, and how well I will do it.'€

The actor, who lists The Godfather and A Beautiful Mind as his all-time favorite movies, takes his acting work seriously since it involves large groups of people.

'€œYou carry a huge responsibility. Money in the film business isn'€™t small.'€