Wrapped in a selection of stunning Givenchy pieces, the young, talented and tenacious Jefri Nichol is back for a chat about his upcoming projects and life during the pandemic.
Here at DA MAN, we recognize talent when we see it. And for that reason, Jefri Nichol is back again to grace our pages. The last time we caught up with the young actor was last year, during the magazine’s anniversary celebrations, when Nichol was crowned “Rising Star of The Year.” And as the year went on, Nichol continued building up his repertoire through movie after movie. After all, he is in his prime. At the time of writing, however, Jakarta has once again enacted large-scale social restrictions. Still, it was quite interesting to go through our conversation about pre-lockdown life.
DA MAN: Hi Jefri, great to have you with us again. How are you doing?
Jefri Nichol: I’m good, everything considered. At times my activities are limited due to the pandemic, but things are picking up now.
DA: How are you holding up and staying positive during the pandemic?
JN: Uh, positive. Well, I actually have quite a few negative thoughts, but then I work out, watch movies and my family is there with me at home. Those are the factors that keep me positive. I don’t know what I would do without them.
DA: Do you have any memorable Stay-At-Home moments?
JN: No, not at all. [Laughs] Well, maybe there’s that one time that I ordered junk food every night for two whole months. We ordered, like, nine buckets of fried chicken and finished it all together. I gained 10 kilos during the quarantine. But luckily, I’m back to my normal weight now.
DA: Did you learn or try your hand at new skills while staying at home?
JN: I had the chance to learn how to speak French because a friend of mine is fluent in it, but I got stuck saying “absurditès de laexistence,” Which is actually written on my Instagram bio. I tried to say it, but I just can’t. I think my time to learn new languages has passed, honestly, much less learning French. It’s hard, man.
DA: Are you still under self-quarantine or have you start working already?
JN: I have started working now, preparing for my new film, “Dear Nathan 3.” It’s going to be interesting. There were plans to open the cinemas, but that didn’t happen and I still have two films pending. I should be promoting those films, but for now, I’m just preparing for my next one.
DA: What has the pandemic taught you?
JN: The pandemic has taught me to be patient. I mean, I had the chance to learn how to rest my body because I’ve been working non-stop for the past two to three years. This period has also given me the opportunity to spend quality time with my family. Although I still get into quarrels with my sibling and people at home. But it’s cool, as I get to learn more about my family.
DA: What do you think working on a film set will look like after all this?
JN: With the pandemic still ongoing, the health protocols will be tough. Not to mention that we’re not even done with the first wave. Shooting will be difficult, for sure. Luckily, for my next time on set, the whole crew will do rapid tests. I just hope everyone is safe.
DA: On the flip side, let’s look at the beginning. Can you tell us again about your first steps in the entertainment industry?
JN: To be honest, it was hard and luck was a big factor. I got lucky because I got my first movie and from there, I was offered to play in another movie and so on. My first movie was “Pertaruhan” where I played together with Adipati Tolken, Giulio Parengkuan and senior actor Tio Pakusadewo. Back then, I thought that there’s no way I would land that role but somehow, I got it. I think that’s luck. Tio Pakusadewo was one of the people who drew me into the acting world. He told me how hard the film industry in Indonesia is, with audiences who don’t “trust” the films. But there has been significant progress, especially “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” “Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku” and “Gundala” to name a few. I hope that in the future, Indonesian audiences will trust Indonesian films, which will then be balanced by good filmmakers who aren’t simply looking for high viewer numbers but treat film as the artform that it is. So, yeah, that’s what basically drew me into acting. I want to experience the struggle and acting is my passion.
DA: In our interview back in 2017, you mentioned that you would like to explore darker genres like crime drama. Do you still feel the same now?
JN: I still do. And as a matter a fact I have one film that is a crime drama, “Jakarta VS Everybody,” which is not out yet. I play as a drug courier and I prepared for the role by learning from an actual former drug courier. He’s always on set during the shoot and he would give me tips on how he would do things. But for the future, I’d like to explore being an antagonist.
DA: What was the most impressive movie you watched lately and why?
JN: I just re-watched “The Night Comes For Us” by Timo Tjahjanto. That is the best Indonesian action movie, in my opinion.
DA: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be and why?
JN: I think I would be a programmer, making phone games. I majored in IT and learned how to code, especially making games for Android-based phones. That was all because “Flappy Bird.” Everybody was playing that game and I know how much the developer made in a day. That’s why I wanted to be a game developer. Besides, I’ve always loved playing games.
DA: This may sound clichéd, but what are your hopes and plans for your career?
JN: I don’t have any specific plans; I just want to play in the movies. Or maybe go to film school at New York Film Academy, perhaps in three- or four-years’ time.
DA: If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
JN: My cousin. He’s 13 years old and I can see that he’d enjoy acting.
DA: If you had super power, what would it be and why?
JN: I want to answer “flight” but there’s a chance I’d get hit by lightning, right? [Laughs] Perhaps, teleporting, then; because there is no risk to it.
DA: Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?
JN: Tony Stark, because his super powers are based on intelligence. Maybe I can learn a thing or two from him.
DA: You have a good sense of fashion. Who do you look up to for styling inspiration?
JN: Really? Who said that? [Laughs] I like Shia LaBeouf’s and Anderson Paak’s style.
DA: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
JN: Like I mentioned earlier, there’s “Dear Nathan 3” which will begin shooting soon and there are two other films that are done: “Seperti Hujan Yang Jatuh Ke Bumi,” which is a drama and “Jakarta VS Everybody,” a crime drama. “Dear Nathan 3” will be special for me because it’s the last of the trilogy and it’ll get into the topic of sexual harassment in universities. It’s an important issue and we brought that up in the film. It’s special that we end the story with such strong issue.
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PHOTOGRAPHY Andrean Lim
STYLING Safina Harys
STYLING ASSISTANT Lintang Hutami
GROOMING Ryan Ogilvy
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