If you got a ticket to paradise, which place would it be and why?
I have lived my whole life in Bali. That’s pretty much home and paradise right here. But to answer your question, it would be anywhere that my family is. Nowadays (after the pandemic) you miss your family much more than when you were younger.
This is your first global release and it’s a big-ticket romantic comedy with Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Kaitlyn Dever, what was it like being a part of this cast? How did you guys break the ice and bond off camera?
It was a shock for me when I landed this film. On set, during my first time filming with George and Julia, I was weak in my knees. I couldn’t stand or even say my name right. First time I met George I even spelled my name wrong because I was so nervous. It was at that moment I realised that I was talking to George Clooney, Batman, Danny Oceans and Julia from ‘Nottinghill’ and ‘Pretty Woman’.
For Kaitlyn and me, it was interesting. We met a few times before we met the other cast members. She is a musician as well, so we bonded over music and the Beatles. This was after the lockdown, so it was all a treat for us.
Shooting in exotic locations in Queensland, Australia, must’ve been a treat, but if you could pick your favourite moments from the shoot, which would it be?
It has to be me picking up George. It was such a beautiful area too, there was no one there, the sea was blue, it was just an incredible experience and then I had to pick George Clooney up. That was just the icing on the cake.
What was one preconceived notion of George that changed after you worked with him?
I thought he would have a different side to him. I heard stories that George told on TV shows and I was taken aback to find out that he is really that guy you see on screen, when he is at interviews. It is incredible that he doesn’t have a second side to him. I respect that.
He has an aura, this presence and chakra. You really feel it. It is all his experience and knowledge. That is something I would like to imbibe from him. If 30 years down the line I am still doing this job, then I would like to have that kind of impact on someone younger.
Since you had this man-to-man scene with George, did you feel that he’s softened up a bit after becoming a dad?
For that scene, I was shaking. It was my first scene with him where I had dialogues. It was also his scene where he was not listening to me at all, so I was just intimidated on-screen and off. I remember him just talking to me, and sharing stuff. It felt like we were equal as actors and from then on, he was a brother, father figure and George Clooney.
We’ve seen many rom-coms set in Bali, but you are among the few to represent the people, culture and traditions of the place. As a French-Indonesian artist, what are your thoughts on representation in Hollywood?
It is a perfect time for representation in Hollywood. As far as watching family, values and tradition on-screen, I think with all the stuff happening in the world, you tend to go back to your family, friends and nature. We forgot about that somewhere with all the politics. I hope this movie reminds us that wherever you are, from whichever culture or tradition, it all comes down to your family. In Bali, we have always been in touch with our roots and never really got off track even though it is so open to the world. I think that is very important.
Will there be a sequel?
If there was a sequel to this film, it would be me not accepting who my daughter or son wants to marry.