Jakarta. Actress Adinia Wirasti ventures into the world of action films in HBO Asia's newest period series, "Grisse."
Best known for her role as Karmen in both installments of the Indonesian film "Ada Apa Dengan Cinta" ("What's Up With Love?"), Soelastri in Hanung Bramantyo's biopic "Kartini" and Anya, a successful career woman in "Critical Eleven," Asti plays Kalia, an honest and reluctant leader who leads a revolution in a corrupt, messy town during the Dutch colonial era, in the upcoming action-packed series set to premiere on HBO Asia this weekend.
Co-directed by award-winning veteran Australian television director Tony Tilse and Mike Wiluan, the series follows the story of a group of unlikely heroes leading a rebellion against a brutal governor and suddenly finding themselves in control of a garrison town called Grisse.
Asti, who plays the leading role in the series, said at a press conference in Jakarta on Oct. 23 that she wanted to challenge herself with each project and that she did not want to play it safe.
From a sporty Karmen in the 2002 film "Ada Apa Dengan Cinta," to Nadia, a mythical creature from Indonesian folklore that feeds on dead fetuses in HBO Asia's newest fantasy series "Halfworlds," Asti has explored diverse roles in her career and she wants to continue doing so.
"I have tried many characters in my career and Kalia is one of the most challenging I have ever played," she said.
The 31-year-old health enthusiast said she had to enroll in martial arts, armory and shooting classes to dive into her powerful character and that this encouraged her to push the boundaries.
"I have to do a lot of fighting and shooting in the series, which I found very challenging and exciting at the same time," she said. "Risk is fun."
Details of Asti's transformation speak to the full extent of that commitment. During the filming, she had to spend eight weeks in Batam, Riau Islands, in extreme heat, while participating in extensive action scenes.
"It was like an extreme sport. You get sweaty and it's hard to sleep at night. It was very uncomfortable in the beginning, but I was as committed as I got," she said.
The physical duress did not stop there. Over the course of the month-long shoot, Asti and the rest of the crew had to wake up at 4 a.m. every day, and she would subject herself to a 10- to 12-hour shooting schedule.
"I had no time to go home during the filming. It was intense," she said.
Marthino Lio, who plays the supporting role, praised her character and commitment in the series, saying that he had learned a lot from her courage to step out of her comfort zone.
"I have known Asti for quite a long time and I am so lucky to have shared scenes with her. She gave all of her commitment to the series and sure, it makes this project special," he said.
"Grisse" is scheduled to premiere on HBO Asia at 8 p.m. on Sunday. New episodes will be shown in the same time slot every Sunday.