Saputra plays himself

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am

'It doesn't matter if you like it or not,' says 23-year-old Indonesian actor Nicolas Saputra, referring to claims that he reduced a reporter to tears after an interview.

'She was a new girl. Actually, she was doing someone else's job, and she didn't do that interview properly. She was already very tired and so was I.

I answered her questions then I called the 'real' reporter and asked if we could do it again,' said Saputra, in Hong Kong to promote The Ticket, a film preview show that he hosts.

Some bloggers have described Saputra (right) as cold, mean and even awkward on camera, but he is unfazed. 'I don't feel pressure from people picking on me,' he said. 'It's not that I don't care what others have to say about me - I don't follow their needs. I'm just trying to be myself.'

His acting career began in 2002, at the age of 16, with a role in What's Up With Love?, a teen romantic drama in which he played a bad boy opposite heart-throb Dian Sastro. The film won him a nomination for best actor at the 2004 Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Fukuoka, Japan.

Despite this flying start, Saputra didn't opt to become a full-time actor, instead completing a degree in architecture at the University of Indonesia.

'It was always my dream to be an architect ... it was a promise I made to my parents,' he said.

He has acted in six films and won the award for best actor at the Indonesian Film Festival with Gie in 2005 and Joni's Promise earlier this year. Perhaps his most memorable role was playing journalist and political activist Soe Hok Gie in the biopic directed by Riri Riza.

'He was a real character. I had to lose 12kg in two months for the role. I had to read his books and watch a lot of 1960s films to understand more about him. Since Soe had already passed away, I even met his family.'

Saputra aso has political leanings, and wants to write a script reflecting his concerns about Indonesia's social problems. 'There is a huge gap between the rich and poor in Indonesia. And the rich are getting richer, but the poor are getting poorer.'

Saputra likes to party and hang out with friends, but being famous can mean losing your private life.

'I get noticed right away when I'm in Jakarta, but when I travel to villages or islands, people may still know who I am, they just don't care.'

His fame may not yet have given him a headache, but his mother has started to notice it. 'My mum doesn't like people to know she is my mum, as they suddenly act differently, so she keeps her mouth shut.'