Indonesian actor Refal Hady returns for a second appearance in DAMAN and a second chat with us about his latest movie, what goes behind his roles and more.
There’s a well-known line by American rock band Journey— “Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feelin’”—that really fits Refal Hady’s journey. I first met Refal Hady for DA MAN’s 11th anniversary issue and found him to be a fun and casual guy. But, before we continue, a short recap might be useful here. Before Hady made his movie debut back in 2017’s “Galih & Ratna” and then went on to play in “Susah Sinyal” and “Dilan 1990,” he actually had quite an eventful life, to say the least. This down-to- earth guy was formerly a model, a host for MNC lifestyle and even spent a lot of time working behind-the-scenes.
At the time, Hady mentioned that it wasn’t until he got casted as Galih when it all suddenly became real. “It was between a yes and a no,” said Hady when he landed the role. “I was afraid of becoming a disappointment; that I couldn’t act and I’ll end up being remembered by everybody as a bad actor.” Our first interview then ended with a discussion about success. In particular, he mentioned that for him, success happens when he can make his mom happy. In the four years since that encounter, Hady has starred in numerous successful films, including “Teman Tapi Menikah,” “Orang Kaya Baru,” “Dilan 1991” and “Wedding Agreement.”
Today, Hady is busy promoting his latest movie, a mystery-thriller, titled “Tarian Lengger Maut.” “Compared to my last eight movies, this is by far the one that pushes me the most in terms of my limits as an actor,” he says excitedly, opening up the conversation. “I feel like my character in this movie allows me to explore more and more about my capability.”
Without giving away too many spoilers, Hady shares that this movie tells the story of a mystery that occurred in the village of Pagar Alas. One by one its residents mysteriously disappeared. Then, the corpses without hearts were found one by one in that village. At the same time, Sukma [played by Della Dartyan], a beautiful girl in the village is just about to become a Lengger dancer, as Dr.Jati, a young doctor, has just arrived to work in the same village.
“For my role as Dr.Jati, I had to prepare extra hard. I trained my mentality, I learned about medical science and surgical instruments, I stayed in Purwokerto for two months as I have to know and become one with the surroundings. In terms of research and how to explore more of the character, it’s pretty much similar,” Hady recounts his preparations. “But the main difference here was that I had to basically eliminate my sense of empathy.”
As challenging as it was, it wasn’t all bad. “I’m very happy about it. Now I know how it feels like,” Hady elaborates. “The excitement is different when you focus your mind, body and soul into a certain character. I fell in love with the creative process of it. Even though it’s hard, I learned new things and discovered so much about things that I didn’t know before.”
“I know I’m still young in terms of my time as an actor, but this kind exploration is the right step for me in order to do more.”
Hady also notes that this time, he’s far away from his comfort zone. “Usually, I play romances and dramas. But this one is far away from those; this is basically my first mystery-thriller movie,” he expresses. “You never know your limits until you step out of your comfort zone. Thanks to this character, I know that I can push against mine. I can challenge and explore myself more and more. I want to feel what others are feeling through different characters. I know I’m still young in terms of my time as an actor, but this kind exploration is the right step for me in order to do more.”
Speaking of which, Hady also reveals that for his next challenge, he wants to explore playing characters with disabilities. “I’m really sorry if this sounds rude to some people, but I want to tackle a role like that,” he explains. “I want to be able to make audiences believe that I was born with disabilities through body language. And there haven’t been many Indonesian films with stories about people like that. I want to test my consistency as an actor at that level.”
As our conversation came to an end, we inevitably talked about the pandemic. “I know my limits as a human being. I’m grateful that I still have a job, and I like to be more enthusiastic about work and enjoy life,” he shares. “And hopefully, when everyone can return to their pre-pandemic routines, we will all be more grateful and enthusiastic.”
“I hope everybody is staying safe and healthy through these unusual times, because the sense of being physically, emotionally and environmentally safe is so important.”
When asked about his hopes during these tough times, Hady replied, without hesitation: “I hope everyone’s lives return to normal. More importantly, I hope that the Indonesian film industry will also return to normal, because otherwise so many people will lose their jobs. I hope everybody is staying safe and healthy through these unusual times, because the sense of being physically, emotionally and environmentally safe is so important. 2020 has been a bad year for all of us; it made us restless. After everything that we’ve been through, I really, really hope that we can live our lives safely in the future.”
PHOTOGRAPHY ZAKY AKBAR
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