“Takut dong (I’m scared)”.
When it comes to fighting in real life, Indonesian pencak silat practitioner-turned-actor Yayan Ruhian prefers not to engage unnecessarily. In fact, he admits that he is scared of hurting his opponent.
“If I have to fight someone, winning won’t bring me anything. The person who survives the fight may have to go to jail. Your loved ones will end up suffering more than ever,” he said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
As a child growing in West Java, Indonesia Yayan took up silat as he wanted to be good in fighting. Now, however, he just wants to be able to control his movements and hold back from hurting anyone.
“I realised that I did not want to become someone who likes to fight. Instead, I became a penakut (coward). I’m scared what if someone dies, then I’ll end up being in more trouble than ever.”
Yayan’s sense of brutality or violence is reserved for his on-screen counterparts. The 49-year-old actor has created a following among action movie fans thanks to his unforgettable role in The Raid. Released in 2011, the Indonesian action film is a gruesome survival story centred on Rama (Iko Uwais), a special tactics officer stuck in a building filled with murderous criminals.
One of them is Yayan, who played cold-hearted henchman Mad Dog. His breakout performance in The Raid got him noticed and that led him to being cast in films like Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse and Hollywood blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Recently, it was announced that Yayan will be joining the cast of John Wick 3 as an assassin tasked with taking down the hero played by Keanu Reeves. He shared photos on Instagram showing how he celebrated Hari Raya on the set of John Wick 3 in New York.
“Who doesn’t want to be in a Hollywood production like Star Wars? It was just unbelievable (when I got cast). I’ve never dreamt or hoped for anything like that. But it goes to show how much God cares,” he said.
Yayan will also be starring in the upcoming Malaysian period piece Mat Kilau, directed by Syamsul Yusof. Currently in production, the film also stars Datuk Adi Putra, Fattah Amin and Wan Hanafi Su.
“I’m very proud to be working alongside Syamsul. He’s a very expressive young director. I’m definitely going to embrace this new experience. At the same time, I’ve been given this huge task to train the actors in silat,” he explained.
It’s no surprise that he will be playing another baddie in Mat Kilau. The father of three said he has no problems being typecast.
“I’m not choosy. I feel that playing a villain is the best option for me. If I play the good guy, it would feel like I’m taking gaji buta (blind salary),” he said with a boisterous laugh.