Rolling Stone Style
By Yarra Aristi
(behind the scene)
One day in Singapore. Nicholas Saputra is sitting in a hotel room occupying with his cell phone, accompanied with a cup of coffee milk. Behind his back, an Asian lady is busy doing something on Nicholas newly haircut. On the corner of the room, Agung Sentausa – the photographer, is discussing with Rolling Stone, while two stylists are busy spreading out several pairs of clothes, combining one another as talking of several locations.
That day we plan to enshrine one day of Nicholas life and the photo shooting will be executed on some places in Singapore.
Nico –as familiarly addressed- whom normally I could only spot on magazines, glass screen, and wide screen, is now in one room with me. He’s rattling on his experience of watching Fall Out Boy’s concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium the night before.
“There was Ashley Simpson last night. She went upstage,” tells he, followed by a nod from Agung. “Actually the concert last night was not bad. Unfortunately, on several parts, there were little sound troubles so I was less enjoying the concert.”
It doesn’t take much time for waiting Nico geared up. As a person who’s already has a name, he is the kind of people who’s very accommodating and fun to work with. “Okay, I’m ready!” he exclaims after putting a checker short pant and white shirt on.
We started our first photo shooting session at the Esplanade infamous with the durian shape-like. Although the sun shines grilling hot and the weather is severely muggy, Nico obediently carries out whatever the photographer asks him to pose.
“I’ve been shorting of sleep!” he says while we are in the minivan that taking us to the next location. “Lately I could only sleep for three hours every night. Normally I slept around one or two o’clock in the morning, and three hours later I already woke up.”
The lacking of this sleeping habit must have something to do with his new profession as the new face that has been accompanied you on the famous channel called Channel [V]. Ever since the mid of 2007, he’s been greeting the viewers in a show called Screentime, a segment of The Ticket program.
“I had never thought that one day I would become a VJ. This chance purely came in a sudden. I recall, the offer came in 2007 when I have just graduated from university,” he goes on. At the time Nico was just accomplished his study at the architectural engineering, University of Indonesia.
“At that time on such quiet a young age, I have held a degree and accomplished four movies. That was the moment when I didn’t want to do anything because I really needed to take some rest. Finally I decided to go traveling for six months. When I came back to Jakarta and had to do a series promotion for the film 3 Hari Untuk Selamanya (Three Days to Forever), I was interviewed by Channel [V] and next they proposed me to become the VJ.”
Definitely it was not a hard thing for Nicholas Saputra to do the screen test, since he’s already got a handsome look and good communication skill. “But still, in the beginning I happened to feel very stressful because this was something truly new to me. First of all, I had to get out of Indonesia. Second, working overseas made me realize that the working standard out there was so different with what I have done in Indonesia.”
Towards the evening, we arrive at Ann Siang Road which has a down slope land structure that reminds us of San Fransisco, United States. During Nico’s chatting, Agung Sentausa keeps trying to take his pictures from different angles. Astonishingly, even when he is not posing (either when he is moving, talking, or laughing), Nico always delivers amazing photos.
(behind the scene)
To most people, the profession of VJ is a fun job and many people want to have this career. Thanks to his job, Nico can go traveling overseas more often. “This is an exciting job to me since I’m able to work and travel at the same time, although occasionally I feel it too much traveling [than working],” utters Nico while sipping a cold lemon juice.
“What most exciting is, we can perceive ourselves and our own country from different point of view. When we are in Indonesia, it just feels normal. But when I go outside Indonesia, I find out different standards.”
Within one month he can go abroad at least three times. The frequency of moving back and forth which has become his routine, he admits has made him feel homesick. “I don’t like leaving Jakarta, I don’t like leaving my friends there,” he admits. “But this is not something irritating. I realize that this is something I must pay for what I’m doing now.”
Traveling overseas in instant pace has become an ordinary norm to Nico. Nico explains how Singapore and Malaysia become two countries he visits the most, as he always takes shooting in both countries. Then he tells about the good times when he visited Greece, when he got a chance to cover the making of Mamma Mia!, a film directed by Phyllida Llyod.
“I love Greece, the scenery is so beautiful!” he enthuses. He met with and interviewed top actors and actresses involved in the film, such as Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard. We talk a bit longer since suddenly that evening the rain falls heavily, that the photo shooting must be quitted for a while.
(behind the scene)
When the night goes down, we are in a merry hallway of Chinatown with colorful lampions and lamps decking out the area, while the air is stuffed with pleasant fragrance everywhere. Nico begins to look fatigue yet not a single sigh comes out of his lips. He’s doing this long photo session with easy going and full of laughs and teasing. Heng Wei Wei, the Executive Marketing & Publicity Star TV, who escorts us along the day, always becomes the object of Nico’s gag.
Some people who come across this guy have to turn their heads twice to make sure who’s the guy they’re just passing by – even some of them keep looking at him with various expressions. Two teen girls accost Nico, “VJ Nico? May we take picture together please?” Nico serves the request with full smile, and both girls look truly as pleased as punch after taking the picture. I can see their cheeks blushed and they’re smiling when leaving us.
Yeah, Nico’s face is getting recognized among people outside. In Indonesia most people know him as one of the actors we can be most proud of. The Indonesian film wagon found one of its bits of blood in 2002. When a boy named Nicholas Saputra played a character of Rangga in Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (AADC/What’s With Love?), a character depicts a mysterious and fierce handsome young boy, yet having utterly charisma which makes a girl namely Cinta (played by Dian Sastrowardoyo) falls head over heels.
Thanks to the profile of Rangga, Nico became the new idol for Indonesian teens at the time. The triumphant of this film subsequently brought him to the other respected films.
One year after AADC, Nicholas got a new challenge, as playing with two senior actresses Jajang C. Noer and Ria Irawan in Biola Tak Berdawai (Stringless Violin), directed by Sekar Ayu Asmara. His acting in both movies placed him to Best Actor nominee at the Indonesian Film Festival 2004, however the trophy fell to Tora Sudiro who played in ‘Arisan!’.
One year later, he was once again nominated at the Indonesian Film Festival 2005 at the same category for his performance in film Janji Joni (Joni’s Promise/Invincible Man) and Gie. And finally Nico won Best Actor for his role as Soe Hok Gie in the film Gie. In 2007 Riri Riza asked him again to participate in his movie 3 Hari Untuk Selamanya (3 Days to Forever), where Nico headed on with Ardinia Wirasti.
(behind the scene)
At the end of 2008, he reunited with Dian Sastrowardoyo in a film 3 Doa 3 Cinta (3 Wishes 3 Prayers). He plays as Huda, a teenager who lives in a small town in Central Java, and falls in love with a sexy dangdut singer played by Dian Sastrowardoyo. “It happened to be that I and Dian have known each other for quite a long time, so I didn’t find much trouble when we had to act together again in this movie,” he explains. “I was pleased to play with her again in a different story and, for sure, with different chemistry too.”
Nico involved in this film began when the director and producer offered him the role. “Having read the script, I was interested in it immediately. 3 Doa 3 Cinta is a story that is honest about love which takes place in a pesantren (Koranic school). Love in here is not a teen love story like in AADC. This is the film that brings out the love theme towards parents, religion, and between us.”
The most important thing he notices before taking the offer is the script. He happened to say that he just wanted to play one film for each year. “When I get involved in one movie project, I have to be sure that I feel comfy working together with the people behind the scenes, either the producer, director, and most important is the story, and how the script written. Normally I receive film offers with good scripts.”
Once again he chose to get involve in the right film, given that the script of 3 Doa 3 Cinta won Script Development Grant from Global Film Initiative in San Fransisco, Goteborg International Film Festival Fund from Sweden, and Fond Sud Cinema from France.
(behind the scene)
Talking about movie, Nico states that he still likes acting world. He considers the blooming of Indonesian films has increased very rapid. “Now given that a lot of new genre produced, viewers have so many choices to watch,” he remarks. “As is proper, the Indonesian film industry should get much support from the government, in the education till the facility of the industry itself. It would be even better if there is a regulation that’s supportive of this industry, thus it can work properly.”
Nico was just finished the video shooting for Nidji’s new single ‘Shadows’ for the TV series Heroes, where he played as Sylar-like villain. In this video he paired up with Fahrani Empel and the members of Nidji. They had to do quite complex action scenes. “It was the first time I played action scene, with choreography,” he recalls. “Believe it or not, I only had 15 minutes to memorize all the choreography for that video!”
Starring in numerous music videos and commercials is his current job, but Nico admits he has not yet has any plans to play in another new film. “At the moment I haven’t taken any offers yet, so there’s no next film so far. I don’t know what else to do,” he says. “I’m always just that kind of guy, don’t know what to do but there’s always this and that offer come my way. However I cannot just simply take it all because I still have to adjust them with the condition and schedule. There are many offers to play in the film again, they just don’t suitable yet.”
He seems like the luckiest guy in the world given that jobs constantly advance him, not the other way around. “Of course not. If this is all considered as the lucky factor, it is not true. I do it all with hard work. It’s a mere coincidence that I got good offers and took them. I could have just turned them down but since I wanted to try it, I just did it.”
Nico seems enjoying his occupation as a VJ because he finds lots of new things and meets with new people. “It’s a perfect job for me, being a VJ.”
(behind the scene)
The photo shooting that day ends up in a room at The Fullerton Hotel. Nico still keeps posing the best he can in front of the camera. “Gosh, I won’t be able to sleep again tonight,” he says. “I should wake up tomorrow morning at eight because at ten someone will interview me. After that I want to go sleeping because at three I should be going back to Jakarta.”
That is how the dynamic life of Nicholas Saputra, yet he view that with laid-back. “Actually nothing special about my life,” he pretexts. “My life actually is just the same as Jakarta kids my age in general,” closes Nico with a slight smile.
credit: The Rolling Stone Indonesia, 2009