By now, most of you would have heard about an upcoming Indonesian movie called My Stupid Boss, which will begin shooting in Jakarta this month, and then will move on to Kuala Lumpur for the rest of the production.
Here’s the interesting thing about this light-hearted comedy – its origins is somewhat similar to the movie John Dies at the End, which was adapted from a book that was adapted from a blog. In MSB‘s case, it’s adapted from a series of books adapted from a very popular blog where the blogger, Chaos@work, had intended it to be a ranting blog for private viewing, but saw it become so big that it’s now on its way to becoming a movie starring famous Indonesian and Malaysian actors.
Reza Rahadian and Bunga Citra Lestari are on board, as well as our own Bront Palarae and Chew Kin Wah. The movie will be directed by Upi Avianto, who is reportedly a good friend of Joko Anwar’s. That was how Bront became involved; he had been working with Joko on the Halfworlds TV series and was recommended to Upi by Joko himself.
Meanwhile, Chew, whom I call “Malaysia’s greatest character actor” but which he humbly denies, answered an audition call. While Bront has a face made for film, Chew has a face practically every Malaysian recognises. He’s been in films, TV series, stage plays and commercials, and he’s played everything from a gangster boss to a doting father to a Communist. I think it’s a very strange area for him to be in, being well recognised but not fittingly commended enough, though he won Best Male Actor at the Anugerah Skrin 2014.
I got him to talk about his role in MSB.
“I was called in for an audition, like any normal role, and I heard that they saw quite a number of Chinese actors,” he told me. “I play a jaded salesperson who has a funny relationship with the protagonist. We had a workshop and rehearsal process in Jakarta, and it was a good one, getting to know our characters, scenes, and the overall feel of the story.”
I asked if he’s ever read the blog or the books. “You cannot read the blog anymore, but apparently, the bossman is oblivious to the blog or the books written.”