Ario Bayu on His Newest Venture, His Legacy and His Hard Work in the Industry So Far

HITTING HARD – Actor Ario Bayu chats with DAMAN about “Sultan Agung” and his contribution to the local film industry

Outfit by Valentino

Working with a seasoned actor like Ario Bayu is always a unique experience. At first glance, you can’t help but notice the determination emanating from the man. Arriving on set at lunch hour, he talked lightly, with a dash of his drama-comedy persona but completely at ease. Bayu explained that he’s just finished shooting his new movie until 7AM in the morning. “I’m still quite a bit jet-lagged after work,” he calmly says, opening the conversation. “I just finished shooting the parts for my character earlier this morning. I can’t share with you the title yet, but i can tell you that I finally got a role as the villain!”

Yes, you read that right. As we can see from his roles in his previous movies, Bayu has almost always played the benevolent good guy. “I always wanted to know what it feels like to be on the other side—to be the bad guy,” he elaborates. “But, despite everything, I’m still grateful for whatever role I have the chance to play with. I’m really happy to be able to do what I love each and every day. It’s the best feeling.”

Outfit by Lanvin
Outfit by Burberry

If anything, the acting is—and has always been—Bayu’s primary goal. Underlying that statement are the four released movies that he starred in this year: From “Crossroads: One Two Jaga,” “Buffalo Boys,” “22 Menit” and “Sultan Agung: Tahta, Perjuangan dan Cinta.” particularly for the latter, Bayu mentioned that delving into his character as a sultan was, at first, quite difficult.

“When we were in the middle of rehearsals for Sultan Agung, I realized and I truly felt that being a king was really hard,” he explains. “I felt like my entire kingdom, physically, sometimes feels like a prison. Then, there’s also a bit of loneliness felt by the people with this kind of power. To top it off, there’s also this question about integrity. Do they really care and hear you because of your great vision, great ideas or is it just a matter of fact that, for them, you are their king? And they just agree with whatever you say.”

As the saying goes, every role teaches you something about yourself, either as an actor or as a human being. In this case, Bayu found a new respect for people who become leaders. “I salute them for their courage. Whether it is becoming the president, or simply a husband, I have a respect for those of you who take a great responsibility and have the courage to make choices,” he goes on. “It was a really meaningful journey for me to become a king.”

Outfit by Prada
Outfit by Lanvin

And when it comes to the journey, Bayu feels that it’s the process that’s most important. “The key for me is the process. With all of the movies that I’ve done, the process is very important to me as an actor. Why? Because, I’m not gifted. I’m not talented. I always believe that hard work beats talent every single time,” he elaborates. “From A to Z, I always try real hard not to miss anything. Preparing everything helps me to manifest my character in front of the camera. If you are well prepared, chances are, the ratio of you failing during the shooting process becomes smaller.”

Trust in the local film industry is another issue that has pulled his attention, as he acknowledges that right now, trust for this industry has already returned. “There was a time when we have one or two hundred thousand viewers seeing a movie, and we were like ‘yeah, we made it!’ But now, we already managed to get six million people and we can compete with box office titles from abroad. This is a great number for our local industry,” Bayu passionately explains. “That means the market already trusts our own products. And we can’t lose this trust. What do we have to do to get more and more viewers in the near future? We surely need better stories and better quality movies! At least, if I don’t have a one hundred billion rupiah to make a great movie, I still have myself as a proponent to be an instrument for the industry. I want to be and I have to be a good actor, because I don’t want to let the audience down. That’s the very least i can do for the industry.”

Outfit by Ermenegildo Zegna

In closing, it would certainly seem that Ario Bayu will always try as hard as he can. The question that remains for now, will the industry put in the same amount of work as he does? Only time will tell … although as always, fortune favors the bold, right?


Photography Robby Agus
Styling Primawan Hakim
Grooming Arimbi
Location Hotel Pullman Thamrin, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.59, +62 21 31921111,