Calling all local superhero movie fans out there, brace yourselves to delve into the world of “Gundala”!

For those who don’t know, “Gundala” is an adaptation of Indonesia’s first ever comic character of the same name created by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata. It was first published 1969 by Jagat Cinema. 

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The Indonesian action-packed flick is directed by renowned filmmaker Joko Anwar, previously known for his blockbusters such as “Pengabdi Setan” (2017), “A Copy of My Mind” (2015) and “Janji Joni” (2005), featuring Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Lukman Sardi, Ario Bayu and our very own Bront Palarae as the main casts.

“Gundala” tells the story of Sancaka (played by Abimana Aryasatya), who has been living the tough life on the streets ever since the death of his parents. Growing up, he learns to not poke his nose into everyone else’s business and keep to himself. He gains his special superpower after being struck by lightning, where he becomes indestructible, possessing the powers to defeat his enemies.

The city he’s living in has been facing the ongoing issue of political corruption. So it is up to Sancaka to decide on whether he wants to succumb to the situation, or come out as the main hero in order to defend the oppressed society.

Hype was fortunate enough to attend the media screening of the movie recently. During the event, we caught up with Abimana Aryasatya and Bront Palarae where they talked about their first impressions of each other as well as the challenges they had on set.

This is your first time for the both of you working together in a movie, right? Were you following each other’s works prior to working in “Gundala”?

Abimana: Yes. I’ve watched “Pengabdi Setan” and “Fly By Night”. I want to watch his Malaysian TV series, but I don’t know where can I find them (laughs).

Bront: I’ve seen some of his movies including “Belenggu” as well as “Warkop”. It’s funny and weird at the same time because after “Pengabdi Setan” came out in 2017, somebody asked me, ‘Who else do you want to work with in Indonesia?’.

Come to think of it, I had two names in mind; Lukman Sardi and Abimana Aryasatya. In less than a year, I managed to work with both of them in “Gundala”. So, it was a dream come true to me.

What were your impressions of each other?

Abimana: Bront is very smart, a talented actor. He knows what do with the character he’s playing. Aside from that, he is very helpful.

Bront: I have a great respect for his talent as an actor, I have greater respect for him as a professional. He is very committed, focus and determined to come out with his best performance despite the challenges we had while filming.

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Speaking of challenges, what was the most challenging part while filming the movie?

Bront: We shoot in over 72 locations in a span of 48 days. It was crazily ambitious. Despite the unwelcoming weather conditions such as rain and thunderstorms, I have grown to adore and respect the team for the way they brought everything into this project. 

Abimana: It was all about time – we had only a small amount of time to film including the fighting scene. We only had 4 to 6 hours to finish every sequence of the scene. 

Abimana, could you explain to us more about the character Sancaka/Gundala? What does he do and what is his superpower?

Abimana: In the movie, we didn’t finish telling the story about the character’s origin. If you want to know more about Gundala’s superpowers, you might need to watch the sequel “Gundala: Son of Lightning”. The second movie will be spilling more on where his powers came from and why is Sancaka called Gundala. So, I cannot reveal now (laughs).

Any specific superhero that you look up to or inspired you in portraying the character?

Abimana: No, I’m not imitating any international superheroes. In fact, I was inspired by the original comic book itself. 

What do you like about the character that you are portraying?

Abimana: In the movie, you can see Sancaka’s development as a human, and not as a superhero. You can feel various emotions such as fear and sorrow as the film goes. This is different from any American superhero movies where they will be usually portrayed as strong and tough. For my character, you can feel a sense of fragility. 

Bront, could you share with us your experience in playing Pengkor who is physically disabled. Were there any difficulties you would like to point out while on the set?

Bront: Nope! (laughs) But to say there were no difficulties can come out as a disrespect to the role. For me, playing the character was challenging, but it was still manageable at the same time. We understood about the given task beforehand, because we had workshops to help us tackle (the character) on set.

But I don’t deny that the make-up process can be one of the worst parts of playing Pengkor. I had to go through 3 hours to put it on and up to 1 and a half hours to get it all off. 

What was the major difference in terms of working with the Malaysian production and Indonesian production?

Bront: Honestly, it is actually the same for both productions. As for me, whatever problems we’ve encountered, we will face it as a team, with a clear understanding that this probem is to be solved. In short, if you work with good people, you will eventually get through it and vice versa, despite which country I’m working with.

You’ve appeared in both film and also TV. Which one do you prefer more and why?

Bront: In order to fulfil the demands of people who enjoyed my performance, I tried to come back with at least one TV project every year. Some of them might have to wait at least one year for my return on the small screen. The only difference would be the economic side of it for both TV and film. 

What are your thoughts on the new generations of local talents in the industry?

Bront: I haven’t got the time to actually judge them in terms of their performance. But, I think the the industry is still lack of this up-and-coming hopefuls. I do believe that we need more of them. 

Since 2020 is just around the corner, what do you look forward to do for the new year?

Abimana: For me, I have never had high hopes. In real life, I am just a simple guy. So, I think the coming year would be just the same like the previous ones; enjoying my life with a cup of coffee and that’s it. But I believe that the biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year is that family is the most important thing for me to fight for.

Bront: I don’t know! (laughs) I still have a lot of unresolved resolutions from the previous years and I think having a new one will not going to help since it will only add up to the whole unresolved resolutions.

So, my focus at the moment is to look back on things that I wanted to do in the past years so that we’ll see if I could take some of them for 2020.

“Gundala” is available on nationwide cinemas starting today (26th December)!

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Syahrul Ramadan
Graduated with a major in K-pop studies... (lol jk 😆)