While waiting in the lobby of a Changkat hotel, we watched as 31-year old actor Iedil Putra arrived with a nosebleed and a towel over his shoulder. According to publicist Faisal Mustaffa, Iedil had just shot a scene in the vicinity, a pivotal one in Dain Iskandar Said‘s Interchange.
Aside from Iedil, Interchange also stars popular actors Nicholas Saputra, Nadiya Nisaa, Prisia Nasution and Shaheizy Sam. You can read more about the film from our piece last month.
We managed to score some time with the charming and genuinely amusing Iedil in which we bombarded him with several questions on acting, his experience working with Dain Said, the Disko Baldi group as well as his Facebook fan page.
Tell us, how was it transitioning from stage to screen?
I get asked this a lot! Let me give you my cliched answer.
To me of course there are challenges; you’re adapting to a different environment. But I hold on to the principle that an actor is an actor whether we’re talking stage or TV or film.
I started doing stage when I was eight or nine years old. I did my first TV or film work when I was 10 or 11. A lot of people would know me from my stage background so it’s not that hard it’s just a different environment lah, macam you go to a different country you’re still the same person. You go through the same principle of getting into character.
Because of my stage experience I have a lot of discipline, things like being in the moment and time management. At the end of the day you will always give 100% in terms of your work and craft.
What is your view on the idea that you have to “play big” for the stage and “play small” for the screen?
The general mindset is that with stage, you’re being theatrical. But you see Malaysian actors on TV pun typical falling-down-on-the-floor-laughing-and-shouting even when it’s not funny. It depends on the scene; it depends on the mood, and your intentions as an actor. Because if you’ve gone through a lot of things, there are many ways for you to tackle the action.
For instance if you’re mad or if you’re angry you don’t have to shout at the top of your lungs, you can keep still and people will know you’re angry. But it’s all about intention – knowing your character inside out, knowing the story and knowing the moment.
I don’t believe in “stage is theatrical, TV you have to tone down”; if you’re a really good actor with experience you’ll know how to manage the range and that will carry you anywhere.
How is it like working with Dain Said?
I have to admit that I’m quite a fan boy of Dain Said, agak groupie jugak. But I try to hide that.
Of course it’s intimidating lah you see Dain Said from far pun macam nak tegur pun takut but he’s a very nice person, he’s great with actors.
When I was first offered the role of Adam in Interchange I knew it was a big step for me, and I know an opportunity like this wouldn’t come easily. Even if you look at Dain Said’s body of work – it’s basically one film after five years – so immediately I said yes.
I mean first I gave it a thought lah, to see if this can go or not. But you know he comes from a place where he values actors, he values stories.
We worked with him on Terbaik Dari Langit because he was our mentor. At that time I saw glimpses of him and how he functions, and I really wanted to get into the psyche of Dain Said and understand.
Thank God for the whole rehearsal process before we went on location, I got to know the story, and my character, and of course then I got to know Dain Daid and how he works.
It’s been a great journey so far. We still have half of the shooting left to go but its been great, I feel blessed to be working on this big production and to be working with a lot of talented individuals that are sought after.
On set, because he’s very particular, he really pays attention to detail in terms of shots and visuals and how it looks like. He would balance it out and he’s very hands-on which I appreciate, but at the same time it feels macam he’s everywhere!
What have you learned from working with Dain Said?
You learn a lot lah. Dain Said is a person yang macam, a learned person tahu. His references are not just films, they include literature and macam mana nak cari orang yang kat malaysia ini who has this kind of knowledge? To have at least a single bit of that pun to me is just amazing.
I’ve been in and out of productions kan and you learn a lot of things, but to be in the same room as Dain Said is just… You try and absorb everything and you put it into your body of work.
He gives you a lot of room to experiment and to feel your character and the story and there’s always a line where he would say something and you would say something, and he would say “try, try try”.
How do you feel looking back at your Disko Baldi geng and how far you’ve all come?
When we set up Projek Disko Baldi we were different individuals, but we shared the same vision and direction. To see how we’ve grown and where we are right now, it’s just very inspirational. We transitioned from being an actor to a writer to a producer to a stand-up comedian. These are things macam dulu who would have thought it would happen.
It’s all about sharing the same sense of humour; kalau you know each other’s sense of humour you will guide each other.
We love each other so much, macam tak percaya jugak ada yang dah jadi writer, ada yang dah jadi comedian, but it’s good for all of us. Sometimes you cannot just stick to one thing, you need to try something different, so it’s nice that we’ve become a wholesome kind of family where we can do almost everything.
Yesterday we had a Disko Baldi meeting and we were talking about our next show which will probably come out at the end of this year or early next year; it’s a totally different concept.
Which Disko Baldi member did everyone think was going to end up being the superstar of the group?
By default it’s Redza Minhat lah, dia baru buat dua filem pun dia punya Twitter followers, Instagram followers dah melampau-lampau kan. I don’t wanna say bad things about him but, ya, he’s a superstar in his own right lah.
I think everyone’s a superstar in their own right: Tapai is now like a big-shot, sought after producer; Farah Rani is all the way in New York doing acting; Sherry Al-Hadad, well, she’s really doing it; Ashraf Modee Zain, writer, actor; Shamaine Othman, female standup comedian di Malaysia yang current and leading…
The Indonesian cast seem to have their own official websites, but not the Malaysians. How do you get through to your fans?
There’s really a lot of platforms where you can engage with your audience and fans, for example, Instagram and Twitter.
I already have like a Facebook fan page yang I check regularly, kadang-kadang on Twitter, I’m active on Instagram-
-you check your Facebook fan page?
I run my own Facebook fan page!
I get this all the time, macam whenever people send me a message on my Facebook fan page, “Hi, is this Iedil Putra?” I cakap “ye“, “betul ke ni?”, I cakap “ye“.
I still have time and I like to engage with my fans and people who like my work, that’s how you can tell if they really like you and your body of work.
* Interchange began principal photography last month and is expected to wrap up filming this month. Look out for our interviews with Prisia Nasution and Nicholas Saputra over the coming weeks.