Amar Asyraf would like to see more TV actors going into theatre.
The 31-year-old actor, who shot to fame after his role in 2012 drama Setia Hujung Nyawa, has starred in theatre productions since he was 14.
Today, Amar – who graduated with a diploma in theatre – is an avid thespian, besides acting in TV and film.
“As I get older, my heart grows fonder of theatre and the challenges of acting in theatre productions. I want to do it for as long as I can,” says Amar during a press event promoting the upcoming horror-thriller flick Blok 404. “And if possible, I want to see more TV actors doing theatre.”
Asked what’s stopping actors from taking part in stage performances, Amar surmises: “Some people don’t dare to do it because you are acting in front of a live audience and you’re getting feedback from them live. Whether they like your performance or not, you have to keep your focus.”
Melaka-born Amar adds theatre is a great way to hone one’s acting skills. “In theatre, you have to act from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. It’s good for people to learn to act with their whole bodies.”
Amar recently directed a monologue series for the stage, Perempuan Satu Malam, starring Ellie Suriati, Amanda Misbun and Mardiana Alwi. He has even set up a theatre production company.
“We’re doing it sort of on and off now. My hope is that it will become a steady business model one day,” he shares.
TV and film are still a significant part of Amar’s career. The actor is leading the cast of Blok 404, a reboot of a local film of the same name due at the end of the year. Released on VCD back in 2003, the horror-thriller film became quite a hit, and many still remember it.
“That’s one of the main reasons why I signed on to this show. The Blok 404 brand is (still) very strong,” he says.
In the reboot, Amar plays a rising artiste who holidays with his girlfriend Intan (Nadia Brian) and friend Zul (Datuk Boy Iman) at a guesthouse where strange occurrences take place.
Director Isma Aizal Yusoof – a fan of the original – talks about the new Blok 404. “When I was told that we’d be doing a completely new movie, meaning the storyline will have no relation to the original, I didn’t re-watch the original (as preparation). I wanted to give my own interpretation.
“While there is no connection to the original, it captures the gist of Blok 404. You’ll still see the elements of an axe, a guesthouse and a barbecue party (which were present in the original). But the reasons and the motivations of the characters have to be different because it has been so many years since the first movie.”
Meanwhile, Boy Iman, who was part of the original cast, talks about adding new actors to the movie’s line-up.
“For the original actors like myself, this isn’t our era anymore. We need (new) actors like Amar, Nadia, Fasha Sandha and others who are relevant and popular now to help sell the show,” he explains.
Speaking of the original cast, Malaysia Film Festival Best Actress winner Nabila Huda actually got her start on Blok 404. However, she won’t be in the new film due to scheduling conflict.
“We tried every way possible to have Nabila be part of this film but she’s been really busy with the filming of the 100-episode soap opera Dendam Aurora in Cameron Highlands. Blok 404 will go on without her. I’m sad she can’t be part of the show,” says Boy Iman.