Indonesia’s rich history of cinema has encountered many setbacks but there has been a notable resurgence in the scene in the past couple of years with international quality films such as The Raid: Redemption and Lovely Man making global waves and raising the bar for Indonesian film and acting. This has opened new opportunities for a new wave of actors as well as veterans of the scene. Indonesian television, particularly sinetrons (Indonesian soap operas) is rife with opportunities and is another platform for actors to perform their craft. In this issue of the Top 10 of Asia, we feature here Indonesia’s top actors who are talented and famous in their own unique ways.
- Reza Rahadian
When it comes to Indonesian actors, Reza Rahadian is one of the first actors that pop out of people’s minds. Reza started out in modelling at a very young age but only considered it as a path towards acting. In 2014, he won Favourite Top Guest title awarded by Aneka Yess! Magazine. His modelling gave him exposure and he was cast in several sinetrons including Culunnya Pacarku and Idola. He made his film debut in 2007 for the horror-comedy, Film Horror. In 2009, Reza’s reputation as one of Indonesia’s finest actors started to take form after starring in the critically acclaimed Woman with a Turban. In 2012, Reza played former president B.J. Habibie in Habibie & Ainun. His depiction was described as “flawless” by The Jakarta Post. He is currently filming the highly anticipated My Stupid Boss 2.
- Joe Taslim
Joe Taslim is one of the few Indonesian actors who not only have success locally but has broken through the international barrier. His path to acting started by first being an accomplished martial artist, having won gold and silver medals in Judo at the local and Southeast Asian levels. His acting breakthrough came in the role of Jaka in The Raid (2011), an action film which garnered success locally and internationally. His first role outside Indonesia was as Jah in Fast & Furious 6. He also played Manas, an antagonist in the TV series, Star Trek Beyond, the latest addition in the highly revered Star Trek franchise.
- Iko Uwais
Iko Uwais is another actor with a strong martial arts background. He is known as one of Indonesia’s great actions stars. Iko burst into the movie scene in his first film as the lead actor in Gareth Evans’ Merantau (2009). The film garnered positive reviews in international film festivals and won the Best Film award at ActionFest 2010. Iko’s collaboration with director Gareth Evans continued in the highly successful The Raid and The Raid 2. He also made an appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens with The Raid co-star Yayan Ruhian. Iko’s next movie will be alongside leading Asian martial arts actors Tony Jaa and Tiger Chen in the film, Triple Threat.
- Nicholas Saputra
The illustrious actor of German-Javanese descent started his career as a model. His first hit stardom after starring as Rangga in the highly popular Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (2002). His acting has since been recognised by awards such as winning Best Leading Role Actor in the Indonesian Movie Awards for his role in Janji Joni (2005) and a Citra Award for Best Leading Actor in the 2005 Indonesian Film Festival for his role in Gie (2005). In 2016, Nicholas reprised his role as Rangga in Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2. The film became the most watched Indonesian film of that year.
- Yayan Ruhian
Born in Tasikmalaya, West Java, Yayan Ruhian has become synonymous with martial arts in the Indonesian movie scene. By the age of 13, hoping to “show his masculinity”, he began studying the traditional martial art Pencak Silat. By the mid-2000s, he was teaching it in countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands while also having learned other martial arts. He was hired by Gareth Evans in 2008 to do the choreography in the movie Merantau. He appeared in the highly popular The Raid and The Raid 2. His career has now taken off to international heights. Yayan made an appearance in one of the most anticipated movies and the third highest grossing movie ever, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is also set to play an assassin in John Wick: Chapter 3, the highly popular action series starring Keanu Reeves.
- Vino G Bastian
Vino G Bastian is the son of the famous novelist Bastian Tito. He made his acting debut in the movie 30 Hari Mencari Cinta (2004). He is known for starring in the 2006 movie Realita, Cinta dan Rock’n Roll which garnered positive reviews. For his role in 2008’s Radit and Jani, he won Best Actor in Film Festival Indonesia and swept the Indonesian Movie Awards for Favourite Actor, Best Couple, and Favourite Couple. In 2009, Vino claimed top spot as the highest paid actor in Indonesia’s history with an estimated 250 million rupiah per movie. The 2014 movie 3 Nafas Likas marked the first time Vino played a character from a different period, the 1930s.
- Arifin Putra
Ariffin’s big break as an actor came in 2004 through a national TV series dubbed Kisah Kasih di Sekolah. After 7 years on TV, he made his film debut in Lost in Love (2008) where he was required to speak French, English, and Indonesian fluently. His second movie, Macabre (2009) became an instant cult classic with slasher fans locally and abroad. Arifin’s most notable role would come in the second instalment of the highly successful Raid series, The Raid 2: Berandal. His role as Uco, an ambitious son to Jakarta’s most notorious mob boss, won him the Indonesian Movie Awards and Piala Maya Awards for Best Supporting Role respectively. He also collaborated with HBO Asia on its first original TV Series dubbed Halfworlds (2015). Arifin reprised his role as Barata in Season 2. The show aired in 26 countries all across the Asia Pacific region.
- Alex Abbad
Alex Abbad is well regarded as a character actor who takes exceptionally challenging roles. He has starred in Halfworlds (2015). Another notable role includes starring in the internationally successful The Raid 2: Berandal. Alex had received notable accolades including winning the Festival Film Indonesia (FFI) for Best Supporting Actor in My Stupid Boss (2016) and being nominated for the same category in the next year for Night Bus (2017). Alex has forayed into other roles including poet, host, musician, visual artist, and music producer. He is also known for his distinctive style of dressing which has made him a style icon for the modern gentlemen.
- Dion Wiyoko
This year marks Dion Wiyoko’s 10th year in showbusiness. Born in Surabaya, East Java, Dion found his passion for acting after beginning his career in the entertainment industry as a model. His acting breakthrough came in 2009 after starring in the much-praised action flick Serigala Terakhir (The Last Wolf), which has since remained one of the highlights of his career. In 2017, he won an award from Indonesia Movie Actors Awards (IMAA) for most Favourite Supporting Actor in Cek Toko Sebelah. Dion has now added entrepreneurship to his impressive portfolio. He owns two restaurants and one cake shop. Alongside acting, he has also become a travel enthusiast and photographer.
- Darius Sinathrya
Darius Sinathrya, born in Switzerland, is a true man of showbusiness having been an actor, TV performer, producer, model, futsal manager and sports presenter. He is best known for his role in the film Naga Bonar (Jadi) 2. Other notable achievements in the film industry include producing Night Bus, which won Best Film in the 2017 Festival Film Indonesia (FFI). In 2006, he married Indonesian actress Donna Agnesia and together they have two sons and one daughter.