Bront Palarae wears many hats and he is passionate about his craft, too.
BRONT Palarae. For a movie fan like me, his name exudes mystery, aloofness and intrigue, not to mention that his roles have so far showed his substantial acting craft.
If one notices, his name hardly appears in headlines – be it about his personal life or his work.
Bursting with curiosity, I caught up with Bront on his upcoming movie Lagenda Budak Setan 2, which will be screened in cinemas nationwide on Nov 29.
Bront, whose real name is Nasrul Suhaimin Saifuddin, turned up for the interview alone (minus the entourage which is common among local artistes) and my first impression was that he's a very nice guy-next-door type. And he's good looking to boot!
For the uninitiated, the 34-year-old is a highly-talented actor, screenwriter, director and producer.
Though he made his acting debut on TV in 2000, Bront first gained fame portraying two characters in TV series Cinta Tsunami (2005). Since then, he has starred in Castello, Man Laksa and Bilut, all in 2005.
Bront's biggest commercial success was drama series Sindarela (2008) which he co-starred with Sharifah Amani and Remy Ishak. This was followed by another TV series Rona Roni Macaroni with Sharifah in the same year.
Dissatisfied with his career direction, the media-shy actor turned his focus to movies. His first major role was in V3: Samseng Jalanan (2010) starring alongside his childhood buddy Farid Kamil, who also directed the movie.
In 2009, Bront played the leading character in Belukar, co-starring Daphne Iking and directed by Jason Chong. Though the movie did not do well at the box-office, Bront's acting was praised by critics and audiences alike. He received the Best Actor award at the 23rd Malaysia Film Festival and also at TV3's Anugerah Skrin 2010 for his portrayal of an insurance investigator in the movie.
"I studied film-making and I'm here to make movies, and maybe a bit of acting along the way. It is definitely not for the glamour," said the Alor Setar-born actor.
"My philosophy in acting is I would take any good roles no matter how small rather than play the lead in sub-standard productions. No matter how minor a role is, I make sure that I do a good job so that I do not disappoint my supportive fans," said Bront who speaks fluent Hokkien and Thai apart from English and Bahasa Malaysia.
"I try to live my life as normal as possible and I need to keep myself grounded at all times," said the youngest of three siblings.
"Frankly, my life hasn't changed that much, except that I can't be in the public much," he said.
"But being a public figure has its perks. I can cut queue at cinemas, hospital and at police road blocks ... and have people coming up to help in emergency situations because they recognise your face," he said with a devilish grin.
"I never really see myself as a celebrity. For me, the word 'celebrity' makes light of your crafts and skills and ultimately, your profession. But I don't have any problem with celebrities out there as long as they are passionate about their work.
"You know, I went to film school but somehow I ended up being in front of the camera. I guess I can call myself a filmmaker who acts," he said.
Bront explained how he ended up starring opposite Maya Karin in Lagenda Budak Setan 2.
"I play this psychotic fiance to Maya's character Katrina. Maya was bugging me continously to play the role and I wasn't really interested initially. But Maya is one of my closest friends and at the end I thought to myself, why not?
"My role has violent tendencies and he is very possessive. To get into character, I purposedly did things to annoy Maya and this went on for 11 days. Maya, however, stopped talking to me.
"What's strange is that she bugged me to play the role and kept telling me that it suited me perfectly. But after we have completd filming, she stopped talking to me! She is still one of the handful of close friends I have in the film industry."
But the frosty situation has to be set aside as they have been paired up in Jwanita, directed by Osman Ali.
In Jwanita, Bront plays Farhan, the husband to Julaika (Christina Suzannee) and the prized trophy for Jwanita (Maya) who dabbles in black magic. The movie will be released in the middle of next year.
His next movie is Anak Jantan, co-starring Farid Kamil and Nora Danish.
One his dreams when he studied film-making was to direct his own movie. With Otto Films, which he co-founded with two other friends in 2010, he recently co-directed a 20-minute short film entitled Kolumpo, featuring three shorts stories from three different directors but the tales are based on the same theme.
"It was a tough collaborating with two other directors, sharing the same theme and the director's seat ... But it had been both fun and challenging.
"Kolumpo pays homage to KL, how different people interpret and see the city in different light.
"The best part is I managed to arm-twist all my good friends to appear in the movie, with Yuna performing a song, too," said Bront, adding that the stars involved were Sharifah Amani, Adibah Noor, Azad Jasmin and Mano Maniam.
Lagenda Budak Setan 2 will be screening in cinemas nationwide on Nov 29.