The Melaka-born actor first skyrocketed to fame through the popular TV drama series Nur Kasih, winning the hearts of fans (and maidens) across the nation. Since then he’s launched himself into leading roles, most notably in 2018’s Pulang. Now he’s back on the big screen in the horror-thriller Dendam Pontianak alongside Nur Fazura.
What made you fall in love with acting?
The first seven years I started acting, I wasn’t really passionate about it. I thought of it as more of a way for me to earn a living and to try and do a bit of business from it, and to find out what life was like as a public figure. I just wanted that kind of feeling. But after seven years of being in this industry, I started appreciating the scripts, the characters, and I wanted to get behind the scenes to learn more in-depth about movie-making, and this has helped me visualise the characters that I was playing.
What acting roles are you most attracted to?
I’m attracted to roles that have a message for the audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s an action film or a drama, as long as it has an impact on the audience.
But what was it that sparked your passion for performing?
It was probably because I got tired of just being known as a public figure. It doesn’t leave you with much privacy but it was something that I can’t hate because it’s a part of acting which was what I loved to do. So, I realised I had to go deeper in my acting by exploring the characters I played. The more I got into acting, the more I became invested in the charactersI was playing.
Before that, I was just acting for the sake of it. After seven years, I’ve learned so much more and maybe that spark came from really getting into the scripts; it’s a different feeling. To me, life as a public figure and an actor are two different things. You don’t have to be an actor to be a public figure, but life as an actor is different and you tend to appreciate the ins and outs of movie-making and the journey a lot more.
When did you first realise you had a knack for performing?
When I did stage performances in theatre. When I perform stage plays, the rehearsals and the family on set are all exploring the story together and that made me love performing.
What is your favourite horror film?
I adore James Wan who is Malaysian-born. I don’t watch so many Hollywood horror films any more after discovering Wan’s films; I’m a huge fan of his.
What was the scariest moment during the filming of Dendam Pontianak?
The scariest part was when we were shooting in Hulu Langat on a production set that was built for the movie for this scene that wasn’t part of the script. The director added a scene of the pontianak pacing behind my back. Even though it was supposed to be a body double, somehow I could sense that it was the real thing and it really felt so real.
What are your career highlights so far?
This is the time. This is it. Someone once told me you can only last five years as a leading actor in this industry, but I’ve been here for 15 years and I’m still holding leading actor roles, so this for me isthe highlight.
Which director would you like to work with?
I adore Dain Said and U-Wei Haji Saari. I love Dain’s work because he has this ability to transform the actors that he’s working with. The actors who have worked with him were really able to get into character for their roles; so far I’ve never had the opportunity to work with him but I hope to one day.