Riga Ramadhan catches up with Rio Dewanto for his fourth appearance on DA MAN and talks about his latest movie, theater and the film industry.
The last time we met Rio Dewanto was in 2017 for our special 10th anniversary issue. At the time, we talked about, among other things, his passion for coffee. Since then, he has taken a quantum leap forward—to say the least. In just the last three years, Dewanto has played in more than five different movies, opened a coffee shop, became a father, etc., etc.
“I’m currently busy promoting my latest movie, which is titled ‘Nanti Kita Cerita Tentang Hari Ini’ (One Day We’ll Talk about Today) or ‘NKCTHI’ for short,” he happily explains, opening the conversation. “Adapted from the book with the same name by Marchella FP, it’s a movie—directed and co-written by Angga Dwimas Sasongko with fellow co-writer and Citra Trophy winner Jenny Jusuf—that tells the story of a family trying to chase a happy and normal life but with a secret twist.”
“NKCTHI,” by the way, currently stands as Indonesia’s number one drama movie in 2020, having successfully drawn in more than two million moviegoers. Still, even though he starred as the lead of the movie, Dewanto admits that at first, he didn’t expect to get the role. “Not many people know about this, but to be honest with you, my involvement in this movie was pure coincidence,” he explains with a smile. “Back then, I was completely unaware that Sasongko and the rest of the Visinema team have just done a press conference about making a movie out of Marchella’s book. I was just coming out of a barber shop nearby, and I met them as I was heading to my car and said ‘hi’ to them.”
“Long story short, a couple of weeks later, Sasongko and his team asked me to sit down with Sheila Dara and Rachel Amanda,” he mentions two of his co-stars. “After that, they suddenly presented me with a contract to play as Angkasa. And the rest, as they say, is history.”
As it turned out, “NKCTHI” was not the only new update in Dewanto’s career, as at the end of last year he made his debut on the theater stage. He notes how it’s very important for him—or any aspiring actor, for that matter—to always try something new, in order to keep growing each and every single day.
“At the end of last year, I did my first theater performance in a play titled ‘Monolog Para Romeo,’” he spells out. In the play, Dewanto—who stars alongside actors like Adjie NA and Arie Walker—reveals a different side of Romeo, based on the legendary play by William Shakespeare.
“For my monologue, I had to prepare extra hard. I trained my voice, my body language, as I have to own the stage. In terms of how to explore more of the character and research, it’s pretty familiar. I have to read the script over and over again, in order for me to know more about Romeo and the things that he wanted to talk about,” Dewanto recounts of his stage debut. “But the main difference was when it was the time for me step on stage.”
“I wasn’t satisfied with the duration of the performance, as it was only twice a day, compared to Broadway shows that can take a whole year. Still, I’m very happy about it. Now I know how it feels like,” Dewanto recalls. “The excitement and also the preparation time are quite different between shooting a movie and for a live performance. I learned a lot of new things and discovered so much through theater. And thankfully, the training and preparation for both made me a better actor and performer.”
As our talk turned to the future and whether he wants to focus more on theater, he replies: “I might. Because deep down inside I also want to contribute in Indonesia’s theater industry. I won’t forget about the movie industry either. As long as I can still perform, I think I can work at both at the same time.”
Speaking about the business side of things, he also notes that right now, the Indonesian movie industry is changing. “Right now, in terms of numbers, it’s increasing every year. In terms of story, it’s becoming more variative. There are also a lot more young filmmakers compared to past years,” Dewanto answers. Then he added: “On the other hand, unfortunately, I think to call it an industry isn’t 100-percent accurate, since we still don’t have a lot of infrastructure to support it. Business-wise, it still not ‘healthy,’ because until recently, we still don’t have a distributor yet. We, the production houses, usually just go direct to the cinemas and ask for consignments. On top of all of that, we still don’t have regulations to protect us and the working hours can still change every single day, unless it’s requested by the actors or the actresses. But what about the film crew, then?”
One thing for sure, I couldn’t help thinking that this multi-talented actor is somebody who is not only willing but perhaps capable, of helping this budding industry grow into something better. “As a public figure, I also have the responsibility to help Indonesia get to a better place. From basic things like working hours to other areas that also need improvement, in order for our movie ‘industry’ to become sustainable,” he concludes.
PHOTOGRAPHY Vicky Tanzil
STYLING Safina Harys
STYLING ASSISTANT Lintang Hutami
GROOMING Engelina Inez Wibowo
LOCATION Ding Dong Disko
(Jl. Kemang Raya No.8B, Jakarta Selatan; +62 21 719 9289)
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