TAKING INDONESIAN ACTION GLOBAL. Iko Uwais is without a doubt Indonesia’s biggest action hero at the moment. His film “The Raid,” which came out early in 2012, was declared by critics around the world as one of the best action movies of the year
“The Raid” was Iko’s second movie after 2009’s “Merantau,” both of which he made with Welsh film director Gareth Evans. Evans first came to Indonesia to film a documentary on pencak silat, a tradition martial art native to the archipelago. While making the documentary, he met Iko, who working as a driver for a mobile phone company at the time but was also a national pencak silat competition champion. Evans immediately saw movie star potential in the young, charismatic athlete, which led him to create “Merantau.” While that film met with success as well, Evans and Iko took it to the next level for “The Raid,” and the success of that film in Indonesia and abroad turned both of them into international action movie sensations.
In addition to working on a sequel to “The Raid,” Iko has already been tapped by Hollywood to star in a martial arts film, “Man of Tai Chi,” directed by and starring “The Matrix”‘s Keanu Reeves. Iko said that he began work on the film recently, just after “The Raid”’s Hong Kong premiere. He said working on the choreography for the new film has been a challenging but exciting experience. “For me, to be working with Keanu Reeves and his team is a great honor, especially since “Man of Tai Chi” is Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut.” The film is set to be released in 2013. Iko was also recently named one of the top 5 actors in Asia at the moment by the prestigious “Hollywood Reporter” entertainment industry trade magazine. Despite the high praise, Iko remains quite humble. “For me, it was certainly flattering to be equated with these big stars in Asia. I am still the new kid and still have much to learn, but I am very grateful to be getting such positive feedback from abroad.”
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