Exclusive Feature: Rio Dewanto

Blame it on Rio. Indonesian television personality and co-star in the acclaimed film The Forbidden Door, Rio Dewanto is on the cusp of a show-business industry breakout.


Photo above: Turtleneck by ck Calvin Klein

From a truck driver to a rock-star, a debt-collector to a homosexual partygoer, talented television and film actor Rio Dewanto has taken on a large variety of interesting roles.

Still just 23 years old, the Jakarta-born, versatile young actor is capitalizing on every opportunity available to him in order to learn and develop his acting skills. And that means tackling each and every role offered to him with energy and gusto and a can-do attitude.

In terms of the types of jobs and roles he is willing to take on, Rio explains that he just wants to do as much as he can, so he doesn’t get overly selective. “I’m not exactly picky when it comes to the characters that I play,” says Rio, while adding, “just as long as it helps me develop my acting skills.”

Left: Jacket by A|X Armani Exchange; Right: Shirt by Banana Republic

The not-so forbidden door
From what we have observed, this bright young thespian is going to develop into something special.
He continues to grow as an actor, getting his foot in all the right doors in the industry, especially during and after his minor role in Joko Anwar’s 2009 movie, The Forbidden Door.

In that film, not only was he working with one of the best directors in the country, he was also working alongside a cast of veteran acting talent, which included his current flame Atiqah Hasiholan—herself a former DA MAN feature personality.

Although his lifelong aspiration has been (and still is to a large extent) to become a popular, professional singer, he discovered—almost by accident—that he had quite an aptitude for acting. It all happened after he was offered a role in a relatively minor made-for-TV movie in 2008.

Above: All clothing by A|X Armani Exchange

Quick rise
The self-described “conservative” and “animal-lover” soon found himself being referred to as an actor.
He had duly impressed in the aforementioned 2008 TV film, and thereafter was cast in many other television dramas and films. Seemingly a natural when the camera is rolling, Rio has only been coached in the arts of theatrical performance during a short spell.

His biggest role came when he was cast in The Forbidden Door, as mentioned. In that film, he appeared in several scenes as the husband who murdered his entire family. Despite the gruesome role, Rio believes it was essential for his career. In addition to that, he’s willing to work through stereotypes and is confident enough to pull off playing characters from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. So does he feel he will be typecast and the public will think he lesser of him?

“On the contrary, I think it’s great to portray real people, actual people who actually sweat blood everyday just to get something to eat and carry on living,” Rio states with an obvious passion. “It’s realistic. Like I said, all this harnesses my acting skills, so it’s not a problem.”

Singing or acting?
When asked what he would choose if, someday, he had to make the difficult choice between singing and acting—specifically, being a leading man in a feature film—the ambitious star-to-be said he go for a win-win solution and opt for both. “Hopefully, if someday I have to face such a predicament,” Rio contemplates, “my manager would somehow be able to manage my time so I can do both.”

As an animal lover, Rio is fond of nearly everything, except for one thing—spiders. “This is due to a terrifying encounter with spiders when I was a kid,” he recalls. “I cannot exactly remember what it was all about, but I’ve always been afraid of spiders ever since.”

Farmyard breeding
Rio told us that he has had all kinds of pets over the year, from slithering snakes to barking dogs.
Someday, the contemplative actor adds, he hopes to breed farmyard animals such as cows, chickens and ducks.

In addition to dogs, snakes and the like, Rio is also a big fan of hogs. The throaty, motorized ones, that is. Indeed, not only does he have a love of Harley-Davidson hogs, but he digs the whole culture of it all, tattoos included.

Above: Shirt by A|X Armani Exchange

Hogs and tats
So what kind of bike does he have? That’s one of the sticking points, you see. But mark his words, some day Rio will be the proud owner of a Harley-Davidson hog. He’s already the proud owner of a handful tattoos, so he’s got that part covered. He got his first tattoo when he was in high school, and currently there are seven tattoos decorating his body.

Quick to add that this tattoo thing is not an obsession or an addiction of some kind, he says, “I’m not addicted to tattoos, because for now, I think seven is enough.”

Bright future
Back to Atiqah—who Rio describes as “understanding, passionate and, in a cute way, grouchy”—the two have been together for about a year, and although things are going well so far, they have nothing grand planned in the near future. “Things are fine between us at the moment, but as for settling down, we don’t have anything like that planned just yet. But who knows, right?”

Continuing his quest to become a successful icon in the entertainment industry, rising Rio is currently working on a bevy of new projects for SCTV channel’s made-for-TV film program, FTV. Some of the films that he’s worked on include Love Affair, Rocker Pulang Kampung, Love Comes When You Were Sleeping and Bromo, I’m in Love.



Refa Koetin


This article was originally published in the October/November 2010 issue of DA MAN magazine. To get a back issue, go to this link and inquire.