Sunday September 9, 2012
Remy Ishak is shining brightly
By AZHARIAH KAMIN
Remy Ishak went into acting simply for the love of the arts, and not for glory.
SIX years ago, Remy Ishak was a struggling young actor trying to pursue his dreams.
Remy knew that unless you were blessed with good looks, it was going to be pretty hard for someone to do well in today’s fickle-minded entertainment industry. After a while, he gave up his dreams, and started a career in the food and beverage industry instead.
However, a couple of years later, he decided to give his almost forgotten dream another try by going for several auditions. His perseverence paid off as he managed to land a supporting actor role in director Osman Ali’s award-winning and critically acclaimed film, Anak Halal (2007).
Remy’s luck turned for the better when he got the leading role of Adam in one of TV3’s highest-rated drama series Nur Kasih in 2009, which endeared him to millions of fans (especially women!). A star was born.
These days, 30-year-old Remy, whose real name is Mohammad Zalimei Ishak, is riding high in the local movie scene. However, he feels that his popularity has come with a heavy price as his personal life has become a matter of public interest. The Malacca-born actor is the target of wild rumours and gossip, especially when it involves his love life (he is linked with actress Tiz Zaqyah). Recently, it was “reported” that Remy had passed away due to complications from pneumonia.
“That’s the price I have to pay,” said the affable actor in an interview recently, referring to all the gossip that has been spreading in the media and on social media networks about him.
“Initially, it was difficult to deal with it but I’ve learned to handle things better. Truth be told, deep down, I feel hurt when I read all these untrue stories about me. But at the end of the day, I tell myself that these people don’t know me at all.
“I’d rather focus my energy on my acting. Seriously, there’s a lot more to learn (about acting),” said Remy whose latest movie 29 Februari is currently screening in cinemas nationwide.
29 Februari is the actor’s 10th movie after Anak Halal, Duhai Si Pari-Pari, Hooperz, Evolusi KL Drift 2, Cun, Nur Kasih The Movie, Aku, Kau Dan Dia and Jiwa Taiko.
In 29 Februari, Remy plays Budi, a man who only “ages” once in four years and spends his whole life waiting for his true love.
“Budi was born on Feb 29, 1896, and lost his parents during the Japanese invasion on Malaya in 1941, following which he finds refuge at an orphanage called Rumah Bakti. There, he meets Razak, who becomes his best friend,” said Remy.
In 1957, Budi meets a Chinese girl named Lily and falls in love with her. They become friends but Lily runs away one day when she is asked to marry Alex, the son of a close family friend. Budi then spends the next 40 years searching for Lily.
With a budget of less than RM3mil, 29 Februari – which spans centuries, from 1896 to the present day – highlights some important moments in Malaysian history such as the Japanese Occupation in 1941, followed by the Independence of Malaya on Aug 31, 1957, and the violent racial riots of May 13, 1969.
Remy said that Budi was the most difficult role he has ever had to play.
“Budi was the toughest role I’ve played in my few years of involvement in the movie industry. I really don’t know why it was difficult for me to ‘leave’ the character even after we finished filming. Budi’s influence on me was so strong that I decided to take a month’s break (from acting) after we wrapped,” said Remy who sang three songs – Kelip-Kelip, Jagalah Diri and Seperti Dulu – for the movie.
During filming, Remy said he went through a tough time psychologically.
“I needed to be in different emotional states in a single day. For instance, I would be doing a scene depicting the Japanese Occupation era in the morning and then be in a scene from the 1990s by noon.
“Not only did I have to display a whole range of emotions – from sad to happy to despair – in one day but the movie is also a musical so I was required to sing, too. I have to be very careful with my emotions in every scene. Despite the challenges, I feel really honoured to play the role.”
Directed by KRU’s Edry Abdul Halim, 29 Februari is the first film in Malaysia to be shot on stereoscopic 3D film. “Filming in 3D isn’t all that different compared to (filming on) normal feature film. The only difference is probably the waiting time. It took a bit long to set up certain 3D scenes so we had to wait quite a bit.”
Remy added that working with Edry for the first time was an invaluable experience.
“Edry was meticulous with the shots and other technical aspects of filming. He helped me a lot in playing Budi. Looking at the film on screen now, I’m happy with the result. It was worth all the effort. If I’m given a chance to work with Edry again, I’d be more than happy to!” Remy exclaimed.
When asked about his co-star Jojo Goh, who plays Lily, Remy said he was impressed with her as she was very professional and committed to her work.
“Jojo was very good and humble despite her experience working abroad. She’s also very professional and it was fun working alongside her. I was initially a bit awkward with Jojo. But we did have discussions on what our characters were like and that helped. As the day went by, we got more comfortable with each other,” said Remy.
While the actor’s plate is quite full – his upcoming movies include Ghaz Abu Bakar’s Hantu Kapcai and Kabir Bhatia’s Azazil, and he is currently filming a 26-episode drama series called Cinta Jangan Pergi – he feels that there is so much more for him to do in acting.
“I act because I really believe that I have something to share with the audience. There is so much to learn and so much to do. I feel that I still have a long way to go and a lot to do in chasing my dreams,” he said.
> 29 Februari is currently playing in cinemas nationwide, while Hantu Kapcai will be released on Sept 27.