Directed by Nam Ron and produced by Bront Palarae; One, Two, Jaga, (international title: Crossroads) is a movie that explores the issue of foreign worker exploitation with gritty, multi-faceted honesty – and it’s going to be released this year!
LAST week on 2 March, Malaysian Golden Global Awards and Malaysian International Film Festival held a press conference at Sungei Wang for the upcoming film One Two Jaga. The panel consisted of Nam Ron (Redha, Bunohan) the director, Bront Palarae (Ola Bola, Bunohan) the producer, and not to mention, a star-studded cast and crew, namely Zahiril Adzim (Pekak), Chew Kin Wah (Che Toko Sebelah, Interchange), Iedil Putra (Interchange, J Revolusi), Timothy Castillo (Brutus, ang paglalakbay), Rosdeen Suboh, Amerul Affendi (Mandatori, Pekak) and cinematographer Helmi Yusof. Absent from the panel were the Indonesian cast members, Ario Bayu (Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2, Soekarno) and Asmara Abigail (Pengabdi Setan).
Before the panel discussion, Bront Palarae gave an opening speech about how grateful he is that his film with Nam Ron is coming together. “Being an actor working in the film industry for so long, the dream is to put together something great with the people you admire. I believe no one else has the guts that Nam Ron has to shoot a film like One, Two, Jaga“.
One, Two, Jaga first came to light when the concept trailer of the film was released on Youtube in 2014. It garnered a lot of attention during the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market in December 2015, from which they won a camera. After some alterations and a development fund from FINAS, the project came to fruition. A lot has changed since then, with new cast members, and a focus on foreign laborers as evident with the introduction to their new trailer:
Produced by Bront Palarae’s production company Pixel Play and Jazzy Group, One, Two, Jaga is starred by various marvelous stars from Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines. Director Nam Ron, who also stars in it, wants to present a story which acts as a social commentary on the colourful, but occasionally dark tapestry of our society. The script was inspired by a migrant worker who was a cleaner in his apartment. Nam Ron also expresses his gratefulness in being able to work with Bront Palarae, the only producer who was willing to take up the challenge of producing the film even after so many rejections and alterations compelled by Polis Diraja Malaysia (The movie heavily features the police).
“One of the challenges of making this movie was to find the middle ground for the story and the characters especially when dealing with the issues within the PDRM”, said Bront. Nam Ron elaborated on whether the police disrupted anything during the process of the shooting. “There wasn’t any major problems we had with the PDRM while making this movie. We discussed heavily with PDRM during scripting. There was a lot of back and forth. Besides that while we were shooting, it was mostly smooth”.
Nam Ron being at the helm of this production would most definitely add panache considering his background. He is also one of the most accomplished theatre and film actors in Malaysia, having won Best Actor at the 29th Malaysian Film Festival for his role in Redha. The side of him inseparable from theatre seeps into the filmmaking process, as Rosdeen Suboh, who plays a corrupt cop that partners with a junior cop played by Zahiril Adzim, recounts how Nam Ron directs. “We did rehearsals that usually are done in theater and that helped me a lot preparing for the role. We also had a former police with us during rehearsals that helped a lot on giving us information into the making Hassan”, said Rosdeen.
Amerul Affendi, who is known for his manic, oft-kilter roles, will be playing Adi; the son of a construction company’s owner managing foreign workers. He has taken a step further in character immersion, as he interacts and mingles with foreign laborers in order to prepare for his role, as quoted by Utusan. “I would like to express my thanks to all of my laborer friends who shared their stories with me about their life in Malaysia”, said Amerul Affendi.
Another exciting thing about this production is the international cast. Timothy Castillo, a Filipino actor, has had to learn some Malay language in order to truly embody his role as a foreign worker in Malaysia. ” “I had to learn a couple of Malay words for the role. So, it was definitely a challenge”, he stated as he jokingly talked about knowing the word makan. Iedil Putra, plays his partner-in-crime, Marzuki, who is also caught up in a sticky situation. In the press conference, when asked to summarize the film in his own words, Iedil stated, “Big fish, small fish, they’ll all end up in the box someday”. (Iedil Putra is currently acting as Rahman in Ola Bola the Musical which is showing for the last time this week!)
— One Two Jaga (2018) (@OneTwoJagaMovie) March 2, 2018
A novel adaptation of One Two Jaga by Fixi, written by Sahidzan Salleh, is also in the works with a publication date target of 1 July. One, Two, Jaga: Crossroads is expected to be released on September 2018.