Things have been on the rise for Bront Palarae ever since nabbing the Best Actor gong at the ASEAN International Film Festival earlier this year for his turn in Terbaik Dari Langit.
His latest role is one that will drive his peers mad with envy; he’s set to star in Halfworlds, an upcoming HBO Asia Original Series that will be delivered in eight installments of hour-long episodes.
And with Joko Anwar (Janji Joni, Dead Time: Kala, Pintu Terlarang) in the director’s chair, Bront’s mantelpiece is about to get crowded.
“It’s enticing to be given the opportunity to work with the who’s who of the region, but at the end of the day, I’m more concerned with the work at hand,” Bront tells us.
He’s already anticipating the great work that lies ahead and isn’t up for celebrations just yet.
“I got excited for about three seconds and then I was just thinking about how to not eff it up.”
Halfworlds is written by Collin Chang and Joko Anwar himself, and will air on HBO by the end of the year. It is set to be a thriller with supernatural elements.
It has always been Bront’s dream to break into the regional market. After his success in Malaysia, both critically and commercially, he felt that the natural next step would be to reach into the international market.
“I feel that this production should have been done a long time ago. It’s good convergence, and this is an exciting region for original content,” he states on HBO Asia’s decision to produce Halfworlds.
“Hopefully, this will pave the way for many more things to come. We had Serangoon Road which was based in Singapore, Halfworlds in Jakarta, and perhaps soon we’ll see stories set in Bangkok, Manila and Kuala Lumpur too.”
Among the films Bront has appeared in are Ombak Rindu, Bunohan, the Lagenda Budak Setan series, Psiko Pencuri Hati, and last year’s award-winning Terbaik Dari Langit. Coming up however, are some very interesting projects ready to make him a household name.
In post-production are The Journey-director Chiu Keng Guan‘s Ola Bola, U-Wei Haji Saari‘s Hanyut which has yet to see the light of day in Malaysia, and Izan Hailmey‘s TyIcKoUnS, which hooks Bront with local heartthrobs Remy Ishak and Aaron Aziz.
“I think every other actor was so busy that they had no other choice but to come and get me,” Bront laughs when asked about his involvement in TyIcKoUnS.
It’s not about popularity or being cast with big names for Bront.
“To be honest, I never see acting as being a part of that. This is a different kind of script and approach, and I was interested by the prospect of doing a sort of stage adaptation,” he explains to us.
Halfworld‘s cast is primarily made up of Indonesian talent although there is one other Malaysian actor in the mix: award-winning Malaysian child actress Puteri Balqis, who last made waves with the TV3 telemovie Balqis.
This will officially be Bront’s first involvement in an international television project, although he isn’t a complete stranger to the scene.
Less-known is his cameo in Portuguese telenovela Poderosas, in which he bumps into veteran Portuguese actress Margarida Marinho on a beach in Langkawi. Produced by an Emmy-nominated team, Poderosas began airing in Portugal on the 18th of May.
“It was a good learning process,” he informs us of his experience working with production team SP Televisao.
Bront helms local production team Pixel Play, who provided location support services for the Portuguese during the filming of Poderosas. That was how he ended up being an extra in a scene which even required him to do some dialogue.
“It’s about tapping into their expertise and the know-hows at an international level,” Bront claims.
“Hopefully, we get to apply what we’ve learnt in a local context. It’s more about providing services, but we also get to tap into their skills.”
Halfworlds began production this week and is HBO Asia’s fourth original production after Dead Mine, Serangoon Road and Grace.