Jakarta. Behind "Foxtrot Six," an upcoming Indonesian action film directed by Randy Korompis, is executive producer Mario Kassar, known for franchises such as "Rambo," "Basic Instinct" and "Terminator" as well as popular standalone movies "Total Recall" and "Cliffhanger."
During IdeaFest in Jakarta on Oct. 27, Randy and Kassar dished the details on how their collaboration came about.
Randy and his friends came up with the idea for the film after establishing their own production house, Rapid Eye Pictures, eight years ago.
"It came from our team at Rapid Eye Pictures. We always wanted to make an action movie. We had multiple ideas but we always came back to this one because we loved it so much and we couldn't shake it off. We had one purpose, which was to make this movie happen no matter what. We didn't know anyone in this industry but we just went ahead," Randy told reporters.
Five years later, Randy sent the script to Kassar through a mutual friend.
"It was a long shot. We just sent the script. I was in L.A. and my teammate told me, 'Hey, Mario wants to meet you at his house after he read the script,'" Randy said, referring to Los Angeles, California.
Kassar said the script was impressive and showed Randy's passion. He even thought Randy was an American writer, because the script was written in such good English.
"It was a terrific screenplay and I was attracted to it. I don't know, maybe my instinct, maybe my experience, something attracted me to it. [It is] the kind of movie that I would love to do, but if I do it in L.A., it would cost about 15 times more than here," Kassar said.
He decided to executive-produce the film. Despite Randy being a first-time director of feature films, Kassar did not hesitate to collaborate, as he found Randy "smart, meticulous and precise – a little bit too much sometimes."
Kassar reflected on his own experience as a young, half-Italian, half-Lebanese filmmaker immigrating from Europe to "movie mecca" Hollywood and making a name of himself there.
"I think talent has no nationality. It doesn't matter what country you're from. It doesn't matter where you are. If you have it inside you, sooner or later, if you have perseverance and never give up, you get that," Kassar said.
Kassar's involvement is said to give "a Hollywood touch" to the film but did not restrict Randy's creative freedom.
"This is all my vision, my story. Mario helped as a mentor and to distribute it to sales agents. But the look, design, it's all me," Randy said.
Working with Kassar is "a dream come true" for Randy, who grew up with Kassar's films in the 1980s and 1990s. Following the iconic presence of "Rambo" and "Terminator," Randy aimed to introduce new action heroes with "Foxtrot Six."
"There's always new movie heroes not existing before. I would love to do something like that and we are doing it right now and it's a movie from a movie fan to movie fans. That's what's so special to me. I'm a geek. I collect comic books and toys. I play games. Many of his [Kassar's] movies like 'Rambo,' 'T2'; ['Terminator 2: Judgement Day'] and all those became toys, comic books and stuff. That's what I want to do," he said.
Indonesian Movie Heroes"Foxtrot Six" imagines a future where the price of food surges because crops are dying due to climate change. Indonesia rises to power as it is one of the remaining fertile lands. However, the country is ruled by an authoritarian party called Piranas. One of the party's congressmen is Angga (Oka Antara), a former Marine officer. His job is to keep the people from revolting against the government.
However, he later discovers that the party is corrupt and aims to starve the people. As he reunites with his former comrades, he is determined to save the Indonesian people.
Kassar said the movie is a "hybrid experience" because all the actors are Indonesian, the story is set in Indonesia, yet every line is in English.
He called the story "deep" and "patriotic," similar to the "Rambo" franchise.
Verdi Solaiman, who plays Oggi, one of Angga's Marine friends, said "Foxtrot Six" was one of the best scripts he had ever read.
"Randy wrote the script over eight years. When we were filming, it was his 80th draft, so there must be thousands of versions of this story, of the characters, in his mind. We had the liberty to experiment, but he knew where he would take the story," Verdi said.
Besides Oka and Verdi, "Foxtrot Six" also stars Chicco Jerikho, Arifin Putra, Rio Dewanto and Mike Lewis.
Part of the reason Kassar agreed to finance the star-studded film was its potential to become a franchise, but only if the first one succeeds, of course.
"You don't see sequels for a movie that make $2 for a day and done. It has to be a hit before you create a franchise," he said.
Though it is a standalone movie, Randy is willing to make more if this one is successful.
"The story completes itself, so it's a one-movie thing. But I leave room so it has a larger world, because every character has their own background and story so that we have the flexibility to turn it into as big a franchise we want," Randy said.
Kassar added that action movies form part of a universal genre.
"One subject that works everywhere, is an action movie because it travels the world. If you put a good message in that action movie and good characters you can relate to with a good story, you're almost there," he said.
"Foxtrot Six" is scheduled for release in Indonesia on Feb. 21 next year, distributed by MD Pictures.