Joe Taslim: His fast & furious moment
Posted May 23, 2013on:
Getting a role in Hollywood’s blockbuster Fast & Furious 6 is a life-changing moment for actor Johannes “Joe” Taslim.
“My life has been great. I cannot complain,” said the man when summing up the latest development in his five-year acting career.
His rise to fame came following his successful role in The Raid action flick by Welsh Gareth Evans in 2011. A year later, Joe stepped up in his career — taking part in Dead Mine, HBO Asia’s first action-thriller movie.
“Being an actor has always been my dream,” said the 31-year-old actor, who was born in the South Sumatra capital, Palembang.
Prior to his current career, he was a judo athlete — he was listed in the national squad, leading him to win several notable national and international championships, such as winning a gold medal at Southeast Asia Judo championships in 1999 and a silver at Southeast Asian Games in 2007.
“I was a judo athlete, while taking modeling as my side job, before I eventually quit my professional sports career over a knee injury.”
Joe revealed that being 12 years in judo was partly because of his parents’ wish.
“My parents wanted me to become a national athlete. I did it because I wanted to make them happy. But acting has always been the main aim,” he said, adding that it was his time to pursue his dream.
In 2007, he launched his acting career, referring to his role in Karma (2008) and Rasa (Sense, 2009).
“Then came The Raid, which was a true sustenance for me,” he said.
And he couldn’t be more grateful over his recent success — getting a bad guy role named Jah in the latest Fast & Furious franchise.
“I’m satisfied with what I’ve done. I mean, I was nobody, but then I got involved in the phenomenal The Raid and I was trusted by a great director, Justin [Lin of Fast & Furious 6], to take part in the movie — so, I really can’t complain,” he says.
Despite his roles in action films, Joe said that he was not obsessed with the genre.
“I actually have one film set to release this year that is a light, popular genre. The film is entitled La Tahzan — a quite religious story.”
Playing in different film genres is important to develop his skills, he added.
“I need to slow down, playing in a pop flick before taking another dark character,” said Joe, who along with Gareth and Timo Tjahyanto is in another action movie project, entitled The Night Comes for Us.
“Gareth and Timo team up, giving me a hit-man character. It’s sort of The Raid meets Rumah Dara. The upcoming film is going to be a mix of martial arts and bloody scenes,” he said, referring to film titles of each director respectively.
Joe, who is big fan of the drama genre, said that he loved to learn acting by simply doing it.
“I don’t take acting classes — I’m quite an autodidact. I prefer to learn from other actors by watching various movies. Evaluate my acting, spot the flaws and fix them,” he said.
The learning process is ongoing. I know that auditioning [in Hollywood] is pretty demanding.”
As part of his professional attitude in the business, he keeps his body fit and in shape — running 5 kilometers a day.
“My work demands good stamina so I have to train to maintain my endurance,” he said, adding that his current training regime is much lighter than in his athlete’s years.
“I was running for 12 years when I was in judo. Now, I don’t feel well if don’t run at all. Such a disciplined attitude works perfectly with my current job.”
Apart from the hustle-bustle of the entertainment industry and his super busy schedule, the father of two confessed that deep down he was just a simple family man with a normal daily life, preferring to spend good times with his family when not in working mode.
“I’m giving back [some quality time] to them because I’m always away when I’m working. I do some exercises, take the kids to and pick them up from school — and that’s it. My life is two different things when I’m on and off the screen. I prefer not to mix the two together.”
His off-screen daily routine after waking up is having breakfast, playing with his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, taking them to school, exercise, helping in the family business for an hour or two, having another exercise session and meeting with friends or family.
Once in a while, he likes to visit his old judo club and practice with his friends.
Despite the quality of an actor’s performance, Joe believes that a successful film is made of solid team work.
“If you get a great director who sees your potential and knows how to direct you, the movie will be awesome. Yet, if the director doesn’t have good chemistry with his crew and actors, it won’t be fruitful,” said the fan of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Michael Mann.
Joe chose to be careful on selecting future film project deals.
“My standard is definitely for quality. After The Raid, I found that taking part in a good film will lead to a better career,” he said, refusing to take various roles in films just for publicity stunts.
“It’s not about quantity at all. I’m not planning on being in 20 feature films a year, it is more about the opportunity to pick a great script with a great director, and how well I will do it.”
The actor, who lists The Godfather and A Beautiful Mind as his all-time favorite movies, takes his acting work seriously since it involves large groups of people.
“You carry a huge responsibility. Money in the film business isn’t small.”