After five years, director Faisal Ishak is ready to say goodbye to Juvana with one last action-packed film.
The 13-episode drama which premiered in 2011 has spawned into a movie trilogy – Juvana The Movie (2013), Juvana 2: Terperangkap Dalam Kebebasan (2015) and finally Juvana 3: Perhitungan Terakhir.
“We’re down to the last steam. I feel sad but at the same time I believe everyone is ready to move on,” Faisal says during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Actor Zahiril Adzim is thankful for the popularity that he experienced through Juvana. He shares how fans often come up to him for photos because they recognise him as Daim, the misunderstood juvenile delinquent who tries to turn his life around in Juvana.
“I’d shoot a movie in a rural area and this group of women know me as Daim. Youngster who see me will say ‘Daim, let’s fight’,” he recalls.
In Juvana 3: Perhitungan Terakhir, Daim is reeling from the death of his girlfriend Sara (played by Shera Ayob) at the hands of gangster Tok Ki (Pekin Ibrahim). In the last movie, Daim killed Tok Ki but he is not prepared to turn himself in to the authority for the murder.
His former warden Cikgu Raja (Hasnul Rahmat) agrees to help Daim cover up the crime. However, Daim is forced to work for Raja managing a prostitution syndicate.
Meanwhile, Daim’s friends Botak (Johan As’ari) and Ayam (Adam Shahz) are trapped as well when Cikgu Raja threatens to harm their loved ones if they don’t agree to comply with his terms. Soon, some of them resort to excessive violence and illicit drugs just to forget their inner turmoil.
For the unintiated, Cikgu Raja is a villain from the TV series. Daim, Botak and Ayam exposed Cikgu Raja for embezzling the juvenile detention centre’s funds. However, Cikgu Raja came back for revenge against the boys in Juvana 2.
“We have to go deeper and darker for Juvana 3. I want the characters to be stuck in a black hole. The reason for this movie is for viewers to see how the boys will crawl out of this mess,” Faisal explains.
Friendship will also be tested as Daim somehow blames Botak and Ayam for Sara’s death. Faisal notes how the viewers will see the characters change in Juvana 3.
Daim no longer believes in being the peacemaker while Botak and Ayam who started as antagonistic characters have evolved to become pacifists.
The director gets nostalgic when he recalls meeting his cast for the first time. Faisal “tortured” the cast by making them experience what it’s like to live in a juvenile detention centre at a location in Hulu Langat, Selangor.
“I was their drill sergeant. I gave them an early morning call time. I made them march. I made them sleep and eat together. I made it so they will develop this sense of camaraderie that will seem realistic on screen,” Faisal says.
The hard work paid off as the cast all agreed they will miss the life-long friendship that they have developed through Juvana. Adam who earned the award for Best New Actor at the recent 28th Malaysia Film Festival for his role in Juvana 2 is also thankful that movies gave him a place in the local entertainment industry.
“I keep getting cast for villainous roles but I can’t complain. Without Juvana, I wouldn’t be here,” Adam says.
So, is this really the end? Faisal admits he has exhausted every possible plot for the characters but is open to developing a new generation of Juvana.
He says there could be a Juvana spin-off with an all female-cast. “Suamiku Bekas Juvana, anyone?” Faisal concludes with a laugh.