If you’ve watched the Malaysian-made movie Ola Bola, you’ll definitely remember the character of Rahman, the incredibly energetic commentator who made the movie all the more fun to watch. We speak to the man behind the character, Malaysian actor and director Bront Palarae to get to know him a little better.
LifestyleAsia (LSA): Have you always wanted to be an actor and subsequently, a director?
Bront Palarae (BP): I started acting during film school because it was an easy way to earn extra pocket money. Directing, particularly music videos was my aim. One thing lead to another, and I realised that acting is not only the easiest way to get pocket money, but also to as a front row view to learn through observation on how a director works.
LSA: What do you enjoy about acting and directing?
BP: To be able to escape reality and live in the bubble we create for the character or role. It sounds fun but acting is only one part of the picture. That’s where directing steps in and it’s more fulfilling. To be able to control as a whole and have a direction for every aspect of a picture.
LSA: Tell us a little about your experience in the UNHCR refugees camp in Greece, where you were shooting for “Eropah, here I am.”
BP: The plan was to shoot the camp in Leros, an island in the Aegean Sea that was an hour’s flight away from Athens. Upon arrival, we found out that all of the people at the refugee camps had moved to the camps in Athens. So, we had to make do with all we’ve got. Luck was still on our side as there was a volunteer centre run by the locals that housed 50 pre-teen Syrian kids. They were kind enough to let us in and shoot some scenes.
LSA: What’s your latest project? Tell us a little about that.
BP: The much-awaited Hanyut is coming out on 24 November 2016. It’s a screen adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Almayer’s Folly’, set in the 19th century. We’re talking about old Malay pirates, British platoons, steamboats, elephants and a particular monkey.
LSA: How are you inspired?
BP: I feel inspired when I read or watch about people in other places who have done something wonderful or profound for someone else. On a deeper level, I draw inspiration from people around me. Different people for different reasons and values.
LSA: What keeps you going and motivates you to do the best you can?
BP: The want to further improve and perfect my craft. Also to have more fun in the process, which will hopefully translate to good results. Just to do better, and be better than the last project.
LSA: What do you do for fun?
BP: I find fun in my work and I have fun working — I love acting. I have to admit that I am fortunate in that regard.
LSA: How would you describe your personal style?
BP: Well, comfort is very important to me. I like clothes that are stylish, comfortable and preferably fit me right off the rack so no alterations are needed.
LSA: Despite your crazy schedule and jet-setting requirements, how do you stay fit and what’s your fitness routine like?
BP: You just made me realise that it’s been more than a year since I last hit the gym. Hmm…
LSA: What’s a typical day in your life like?
BP: Having a child comes with the benefit of having life starts very early in the day. Work-wise, I’m finishing One Two Jaga with Namron and also some projects with Daily Seni, but things are not as crazy as during the preparation and production of a film. Now I get to spend more time with family and am trying to get back into the nine-to-five cycle again.
LSA: When you have time to go on holiday, where’s your favourite vacation destination?
BP: Probably another round of Italy, just to visit old friends. My wife and I did a three-month backpacking trip across Italy. It’d be nice to revisit all the friends we’ve made the first time around, with our daughter as a new addition this time around.
LSA: Do you think it’s important to smell good?
BP: It’s fundamental.
LSA: What’s your favourite scent?
BP: Fresh and elegant. Also citrusy with a trail of woodiness.
LSA: What does Dior Sauvage remind you of?
BP: It gives me the feeling of going on a classic adventure, under the sun. A sense of masculinity, that’s fresh and noble at the same time.
LSA: Is there anyone you’d like to gift Dior Sauvage to, and who would that be and why?
BP: Definitely my brother, he’ll love this.
Special thanks to Dior Beauty and The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur as our photo shoot venue sponsor. To see more of Bront, follow him on Instagram @bront_palarae.