THE LIFE BRINGER. Reza Rahadian shares the story of his latest performance and his humanitarian mission with DA MAN’s Joezer Mandagi
Outfit by Dunhill London
After a dozen years in the acting business and more than three dozen titles under his belt, it would seem that Reza Rahadian has done it all. That being said, 2016 sees the gifted actor break new ground yet again with two incredible titles. The first—which was released to cinemas in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei—is an innovative comedy flick titled “My Stupid Boss.” The titular boss, or Bossman to be exact, is, in the words of Rahadian himself, “somebody who’s super unique, super annoying, a smart aleck and incredibly stingy.” As the title implies, we see much of the story from the eyes of Bossman’s employee—his secretary, played beautifully by Bunga Citra Lestari in her second movie with Rahadian.
The antics of a stupid boss might not sound all that original, but “My Stupid Boss” is practically setting a new standard for comedic works in Indonesia. “You will get a cinematic experience that, I promise you, you’ve never experienced before from the Indonesian movie industry,” he exclaims. And if the trailer is anything to go by, this is definitely not your run-of-the-mill comedy, with one of the movie’s most notable highlights being that it features Reza Rahadian sounding and looking quite unlike Reza Rahadian.
The former is, of course, a product of Rahadian’s acting skills. The latter, however, includes a bit of special effects and make up magic by Orlando Bassi, whose previous works include “The Lords of the Rings” and various Cirque du Soleil productions. “The shooting was fun,” Rahadian recalls, “even if it took two hours each day to prepare the look.”
“You will get a cinematic experience that, I promise you, you’ve never experienced before”
Still, another movie might just eclipse the hype and success of “My Stupid Boss.” We are talking, of course, about “Rudy Habibie,” which will see Rahadian reprise his role as Indonesia’s third president, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, during his time studying in Germany. It goes without saying that this prequel to 2012’s “Habibie & Ainun” is one of the most anticipated (arguably the most anticipated) Indonesian film production for 2016. And it also has some very big shoes to fill. During its run in cinemas all across the country, “Habibie & Ainun” drew in ticket sales of 4.3 million—which is more than impressive in a country where a million tickets sold is already considered “great.”
As mentioned earlier, the story of “Rudy Habibie” will follow a young Habibie during his time as a student at RWTH Aachen University where he studied aircraft construction. Being set in a more, shall we say, tumultuous time in Indonesian history, the movie also enjoys a unique opportunity to explore the clashes in ideology that hounded Habibie during the time, as he came fact to face with Indonesian students who were much more militant in thought. Unsurprisingly, these initial disagreements escalate into open conflict, and would ultimately shape Habibie’s famous vision for a modern Indonesia.
Outfit by Paul Smith
“We don’t have many movies of historical figures who are still alive, and who are still relatable to current generations,” Rahadian points out. Furthermore, he emphasizes how “Rudy Habibie,” which will be released during this year’s Idul Fitri holidays, will carry a strong youthful spirit. “And there’s still a very entertaining element,” he adds with a smile, “which is the romance.”
Interestingly, a unique bond has grown between the actor and the ex-president he portrays onscreen. The latter, for example, has on many occasions indicated that he is a fan of the former. In an exclusive video for DA MAN, however, Rahadian describes the relationship as more like between a grandfather and his grandchild.
“It’s too easy for people to feel small and incapable of doing something”
This, however, is much more than just a story of an actor bringing life to two incredibly contrasting characters. This is also a story of a man bringing the chance at a better life to people incredibly in need. Last April, he was appointed by the UNDP, the United Nations Development Programme, as the agency’s latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Movers. As his first project, the actor chose Bring Water for Life, which aims to build a solar-powered water pump for the village of Napu in East Sumba.
“I agreed to get involved,” Rahadian begins, “with one condition: that I am assured that I am doing my job correctly. Not good. Correct.” The UNDP couldn’t have found a more driven ambassador for its mission of mercy.
Outfit by Louis Vuitton
Bring Water to Life also happens to be the UNDP’s first crowdfunding campaign, which, in theory, is much more accessible than more traditional charities. “It’s too easy for people to feel small and incapable of doing something,” Rahadian emphasizes, “and when one person thinks like that, multiply it by a million, there are so many lost opportunities.”
Opportunities are at the heart of his mission of mercy to what is one of Indonesia’s most disadvantaged corners. For one thing, Eastern Indonesia, including Sumba, has gone through a period of climate degradation, with intense but short monsoons followed by a long and scorching dry season. More importantly, however, is the lack of meaningful development in the region. “In Java, we have everything, and yet some people still complain,” Rahadian exclaims. “But in Eastern Indonesia, there is so much potential, but it doesn’t get enough attention. That’s the reality, no? That’s why we’re focusing on Eastern Indonesia, especially Sumba.” Then, he quietly sums it up with this simple line: “They deserve it.”
To see more images from this shoot, get a copy of DA MAN June/July 2016 here. And check out the outtakes below:
Outfit by Lanvin
Photography Mario Ardi
Styling Peter Zewet
Styling Assitant Jay Robert Davies
Grooming Kenshie Lie
Videography Dimas Anggakara
Location Motion Blue Jakarta (Fairmont Jakarta 3rd Floor, Jl. asia afrika No.8, Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta; +62 21 2903189; motionbluejakarta.com)