Following the blockbuster hits “Paskal” and “Wira”, local director Adrian Teh is tackling on the treacherous side of the underworld in his upcoming thriller “The Assistant”.
As we mentioned in our previous article, the action-packed film stars Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin and Hairul Azreen as the lead roles Zafik and respectively Feroz. Familiar face Henley Hii (who starred in several movies helmed by Adrian previously) also appeared in the movie as the antagonist character Sam.
Ahead of the premier of the movie this month, we sat down for an exclusive one-on-one, spoiler-free interview session with the four handsome men, as they shared with us about their experience filming the movie. Check it out:
Can you explain the process of recruiting the cast members in “The Assistant”?
Adrian: “When I start a project, I like to work with people that I’m familiar with. Plus, I’m very comfortable working with Henley and Hairul. They are very good actors, especially when it comes to action and everything. I cast Henley, and I told him, “Enough with playing good guys (in movies). So it’s time to give you a breakthrough role, a bad-ass character, and he was willing to accept it.”
Basically, for both Hairul and Henley’s characters, there were no second thought, I just cast them straight away. As for Iedil. I needed someone with an innocent face. I cast him through a Zoom meeting. I’ve known him for a long time, through his previous roles. It was a pleasure talking to him, and I immediately locked him (for the role) after the meeting.
This was your first time working with Iedil in the same project. Have you been following his work prior to working together?
Henley: To be honest, no. But then again, I had a good time working with Iedil. He’s really nice. Both of us have a lot of fighting scenes. We struggled a lot during our workout times and also during the rehearsals.
Hairul: I’m already a fan of Iedil. Seeing him from an actor’s viewpoint, I thought to myself, ‘How I wish I can be like him one day.’ I watched a lot of his previous movies, including ‘Interchange’, in addition to his work on stage. I really adore him since back then.
What drew you to participate in “The Assistant”?
Iedil: When Adrian contacted me about this project, I immediately felt that this was a big opportunity working with a great production team, a great director, and also a great lineup of cast. When he revealed to me the backstory of the film, I considered it as a challenge because this is something new to me as well. I’ve never done an all out action film.
I also worked with Hairul for the first time. So, my appreciation and adoration towards Hairul is similar to what he had pointed out earlier. He’s a hardworking actor, he had done a lot of great things, and he has achieved a lot. I think the universe has given us the chance to work together in the movie. So that drew me to take part in this project.”
What is you inspiration behind portraying your bad-ass characters in the movie?
Iedil: I really love Brad Pitt. I like watching how the actor carries his role. So in portraying my character in the movie, I used some of Pitt’s acting roles when it comes to bringing out a whole different side that I’ve never done previously.”
Henley: I was inspired by this one movie from Johnny Depp. It’s based on a true story. It helped in channelling my character’s dark side, especially during this one scene where I killed a guy. The director gave me a lot of direction on how to appear looking bad-ass, especially with my facial expressions with my eyes.”
What was the most challenging part while filming the movie?
Iedil: My character undergoes a lot of transformation, particularly with everything that he has go through. He’s an ex-convict. He was imprisoned for 10 years. After being released from prison, he seeks revenge. So in his life, throughout the years he spent in jail, he’s trying to adapt to the new world. That’s one of the challenges for me to bring Zafik to life.
Hairul: He also had to shave his head bald.
Iedil: Yup, that can also be a challenge for an actor!
Adrian: This project is hands down a challenging one. I was motivated to do better than (my previous film) ‘Wira’. In this movie, I put a lot of new elements. So, I think this was one of the biggest challenge I had while coming up with this movie. I wanted to make it looks new and attractive to the audience.
Henley: As you can see in the trailer, I got a really huge tattoo. It’s actually a fake one. It’s not a permanent tattoo. We spent like 16 hours for only one session of drawing it.
Iedil: And Adrian, being the perfectionist himself, he even tried the tattoo first before we started shooting the scenes. Henley spent over 20 hours just lying there. This clearly shows that he’s a great actor and fully committed to his role.
Hairul: The only problem I had with my character Feroz is that the character ‘followed me back home’. That thing happened at my home and also during my off days. I had a shoot at another place, I accidentally channeled my role during the filming process. It never happened to me previously. A lot of people refer it as method acting, but I had no idea why I became like that!
Watch the trailer here:
“The Assistant” is set to debut on local cinemas on 19th May 2022.