CAUGHT IN THE ACT. DA MAN chatted with model Richard Kyle about catching the acting bug and running with it until now
Outfit by Louis Vuitton
Richard Kyle arrives at the photo shoot location riding his own motor scooter, which is something you wouldn’t expect from a male celebrity. During the shoot, the 29-year-old pulls off poses and follows directions effortlessly. That alone is enough proof of the talent and the experience he has amassed in modeling over the years before delving into the Indonesian film industry quite recently.
On a lunch break, Kyle receives a notification on his phone about the teaser of his upcoming action movie “The Professionals,” where he stars alongside Arifin Putra and Cornelio Sunny. While the release date hasn’t yet been revealed, Kyle can only share a little about his role, Joe—a man of action who is trying to take down the bad guy.
His eyes are glued to the phone screen as Kyle replays the teaser over and over again. At one point, he pauses the video, turns to us and asks: “What’s the meaning of kecolongan?” Apparently Kyle, who’s born to an Australian father and Indonesian mother and spent most of his life in Australia, is still brushing up on his Indonesian. That being said, the language barrier didn’t seem to stop him from netting offers from a bunch of TV shows, landing a couple of hosting gigs and ultimately making it in the big screen. He is currently acting in the sitcom “OkJek” and hosts the “My Trip My adventure” travel program, among others. (by the way, kecolongan is an Indonesian slang that basically means being blindsided.)
His latest big project, however, is playing in the movie “Ini Kisah Tiga Dara” (The Story of Three Maidens), an adaption of Usmar Ismail’s 1957 classic “Tiga Dara” (Three Maidens). The character he plays, Erick, is described as a free-spirited backpacker who spends his time traveling overseas. While in Indonesia, Erick meets a girl named Bebe (played by fellow model and newcomer actor Tatyana Akman) and ends up falling in love with her.
“Teh Nia Dinata [the director] encouraged me to audition for the movie. I was feeling unsure at first because it’s a musical and I can’t sing. I’m not a very good dancer as well,” recalls Kyle. “But when I read the script, I thought to myself, I like the role and Erick looks a bit like me. It was hard at first because it’s not merely acting, there’s also the choreography we needed to memorize,” he further adds.
Nia Dinata in a separate interview gives her take on her decision to cast Kyle as Erick. “He possesses undeniably positive vibes, and Erick’s character has to own that kind of vibes,” she comments. “This cannot be faked. Either you have it or you don’t.”
“You don’t have to be yourself, and you can invent something new from it [acting]”
Looking back now, Kyle can’t hide his pride in being in the movie, “In the end, I guess it works out for the entire cast, we had a lot of fun doing it and we’re like a family now.” Kyle also admits to having watched the original movie twice and praises it as the best Indonesian film ever made.
But what is it that drew Kyle to acting in the first place? “You don’t have to be yourself, and you can invent something new from it,” he calmly notes while revealing that he did once study filmmaking in the past. For his dream role, Kyle wants to “play the hero, but not like a superhero. It would be the main role that, you know, saves the world or saves the girl. That kind of hero. I want to play a role where I’m doing something throughout a journey with a lot of hurdles.” Still, he embeds that he’s up to the challenge of playing any kind of character.
Diversity in the local film industry is another issue that has pulled his attention, as he acknowledges that there are plenty of opportunities not only for actors and actresses but also filmmakers as well. “I see many local directors who make movies that are aimed for film festivals,” he starts off. “The industry is really diverse because everyone has something they want to do.” But as the question turns to whether he would ever consider trying his hand at directing—perhaps even directing and playing the lead role in his own movies à la Ben Affleck or Woody Allen—he concedes, “Probably not. I think it’s so much hard work to act and direct yourself.”
Kyle does say after a second thought, “Maybe I’ll make a film one day. When I’ve already established connections within the industry and have a story idea to pitch, I’d definitely give it a go.” Only time will tell as how the versatile model will eventually grow in the business.
Photography Nicky Gunawan
Styling Edwin Habibun
Videography Dimas Anggakara
Location Daitokyo Sakaba (Jl. Melawai 9 no. 26, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta; +62 21 722 2047) & Kira Kira Ginza (Jl. Melawai 8 no. 9, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta; +62 21 726 2611)