Daniel Mananta shows off the Ant Man suit (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Daniel Mananta Makes Ant-Man Larger Than Life

JULY 22, 2015

Jakarta. Most Indonesians who celebrate Idul Fitri take an extended holiday for almost two weeks. While the first days of Idul Fitri are usually spent visiting elder relatives and family friends, there is little else to do during the rest of the holidays. And most tourist attractions and amusement parks are bursting with screaming children and exasperated parents during the day.

So, why don't you go to the cinemas? There is a line of newly released movies that would keep you and your loved ones entertained during the holidays.

One of them is from Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man. The movie, which features the superhero that can quickly alter his body size and communicate with ants, promises entertainment for the whole family.

Daniel Mananta, Ant-Man's celebrity ambassador in Indonesia, attended the film's premiere last week at Kota Kasablanka.

For the premiere the former MTV presenter wore a tight-fitted black-and-red Ant-Man suit. Upon his arrival at the cinema he was immediately surrounded by young fans, who all demanded selfies with him.

Although the 33-year-old actor and entrepreneur was sweating profusely in the suit, he responded to each request of his fans with great enthusiasm. With his bubbly and dynamic personality, Daniel has successfully brought to life the funny, witty and sometimes silly main character of the movie, Scott Lang.

After a series of photo sessions, The Jakarta Globe managed to steal Daniel away from his fans to discover more about his exciting new role as the film's ambassador and the doors of opportunities it has opened up for him.

How did you get appointed as the Indonesian face of Ant-Man in the first place?

Marvel and Disney approached me about a month ago and asked me to become the ambassador of Ant-Man . I was like, "wow." The companies that approached me are really the big names in the industry. I didn't think that they would even know me. I feel very happy and proud, especially when I knew that I'm the first male celebrity-ambassador (of Marvel and Disney) in the world, because they only do the celebrity-ambassadors thing in Indonesia.

Before me, there was (actress and model) Sandra Dewi as Cinderella  and (actress) Luna Maya as the Black Widow ( from The Avengers: Age of Ultron).

When they first approached you, did you know what Ant-Man really is?

To be honest, I didn't. But when I've learned more of him, he becomes one of my favourite Marvel's characters.

How so?

He's different from the other superheroes. Spiderman got his power after he was stung by a spider. And Captain America got his power from an experiment. But Ant-Man is  really an ordinary man with ordinary physical strength, who got entrusted with a suit that can transform his body size and makes him so powerful. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to transform yourself to much smaller or bigger size in a split-second, even during fights? And this movie is just an introduction. I've heard that the Ant-Man will also appear in two other The Avengers movies.

So, how do you find your new role as the celebrity ambassador of the movie?

Oh, it's a lot of fun. We've been shooting 15-seconds videos in this costume. Marvel, Disney and myself then share these videos through Instagram. I also wear this costume to malls and cinemas and meet the fans.

How do you feel in that suit? Is it comfortable?

It's really hot and stifling to be in this suit, but thankfully, my six-pack gives me some ventilation. (Laugh).  But I truly feel like a superhero in this suit. I feel that I can save the world and fight any premans (thugs) in this suit. And I feel that I wouldn't feel any pain if they beat me up, partly because there are a lot of layers of foams lining on the inside. And I also realize that it's an amazing opportunity for me to be able to wear this costume and inspire a lot of kids with it.

How do you inspire kids with this costume?

Just the other day, I wore this costume and rode on the train with pemudiks (those who went home for Lebaran) from the Kota Station to Manggarai. It was really hot and a lot of little kids surrounded me and asked to take pictures with me. After taking pictures, I said to them, "Belajar yang rajin ya, Dik" ("You have to study well"). And they were watching me wide-eyed and nodding their heads. I don't think that even their moms get such positive responses. It's good to be such a great influence in their lives. And I really hope that they would really study well and achieve all their dreams.

Did you also get similiar positive responses on social media?

All my fans supported me on social media. Some of them even made sketches of me in the Ant-Man costume and uploaded them on the Instagram. As you can later see, I've re-posted some of them on my own Instagram, @vjdaniel. Some of them also joked around saying that I got appointed as the ambassador (for the movie) because of my last name, Man-Ant-a.

In your opinion, what is the message in the movie?

It has a very important message, which is, no matter how small or insignificant you are, you can still be a hero. The movie also portrays a very positive father-daughter relationship and also mentorship, which we all can learn from.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a superhero when you're a kid?

That's a very good question. When I was in kindergarten, one of the teachers went around asking the kids of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Some said they wanted to become a doctor. Some wanted to become teachers or businessmen. It was only I that said that I wanted to become a superhero. Hearing this, my teacher squinted his eyes and looked to me as if I were weird. But teacher, if you can see me now, I have truly achieved my dream. 

What do you think of Indonesian superheroes? Do you think they will ever become world-famous as Marvel's?

I'm sure, with the advanced information technology nowadays, those from Hollywood would also learn about Indonesian superheroes and film them. I don't know whether it will happen next year, or in the next 30 years. But the internet has made the world a lot smaller. We can easily get any information now. And I'm pretty confident that one day Indonesian superheroes will also "go Hollywood" and become internationally famous.

Do you have any plans for future collaborations with Marvel or Disney?

I don't want to expect too much, but on the other hand, it's always good to dream big. They have now sent my pictures and videos to Disney and Marvel headquarters in Hollywood. And the executive producer of Ant-Man has also seen me. So, who knows? Let's pray and hope that we'll soon have another collaboration.

The Peak