Indonesian badminton legend Susy Susanti, left, passes a torch to actress Laura Basuki during a media visit at Istora Senayan in Central Jakarta on Wednesday (19/09). Laura will portray Susy in the upcoming biopic, 'Susy Susanti – Love All,' directed by Sim F. (JG Photo/Cahya Nugraha)

Laura Basuki to Star in Biopic of Indonesian Badminton Legend Susy Susanti


SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Jakarta. An upcoming biopic about badminton legend Susy Susanti, the first Indonesian to win an Olympic gold medal, is currently in the filming process.

The film titled "Susy Susanti – Love All" stars Laura Basuki, who will portray Susy's dedication as an athlete.

The idea for this biopic came from television presenter, clothing line owner and now film producer Daniel Mananta, familiar to many as "VJ Daniel." Six years ago, Daniel met Susy and her spouse, Alan Budikusuma, who like her, also won a gold medal in badminton at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

The meeting inspired Daniel to make a film about Susy's achievements.

"I had the story and even the ending in my head. But I had not found the story that led to the ending. Since then, I approached some directors, writers and producers. Then, two years ago, I met co-producer Reza Hidayat from Orema Pictures and we just clicked. Then [I also met] the amazing Syarika Bralini, who's not only a scriptwriter, but also a story designer," Daniel told reporters during a media visit at Istora Senayan in Central Jakarta on Wednesday (19/09).

Sim F., known as a director of television commercials, has been chosen to direct the movie, despite never having made any feature films.

"Why did we choose him? You see, clients have many demands but Sim can condense those into 30 seconds. We hope Susy's long journey can be encapsulated in a 100-minute movie," said Daniel, whom Putrama Tuta recently cast to play former Jakarta governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in "A Man Called Ahok."

As is evident from the title, the film deals with Susy's love, which saw her make a name for herself.

"We wanted to make a film with love as the theme: love for country, God, sports – in this case badminton – family and a significant other. Love was the power leading Susy to become the torchbearer [at the opening of the 2018 Asian Games]. We can see her fire from when she first won the junior world championship at the age of 14," Daniel said.

Syarika, one of the five scriptwriters, said "love all" also has another meaning. In badminton, the term means "zero-zero," when neither of the two sides have scored any points yet.

Putting that term in the title reflects Susy's state of mind during competitions or "a clean start; to have a clean heart with a lot of love for the game, her family and her country," Syarika said.

Susy, who was present at the press conference, said viewers will not only get to see her winning moments, but also the struggles behind those. She also hinted that there will be a scene dealing with her experiences as a Chinese Indonesian during the May 1998 riots.

"I hope the film can be an inspiration to many on how to achieve success. People may have seen me at the top, but they haven't seen me at my worst. Hopefully, the viewers will be empowered to succeed in any field," said Susy, who managed the Indonesian national badminton team at this year's Asian Games.

Alan added that he expects the film to also be released overseas "to give an idea of what an Indonesian hero looks like."

Behind the scenes during filming of 'Susy Susanti – Love All.' The scene recreates the 1989 Sudirman Cup, which saw Susy beat South Korea's Lee Young-suk. (JG Photo/Cahya Nugraha)

Passing the Torch

In a symbolic gesture during the press visit, Susy passed a torch to Laura while a marching band played in the background, signifying her permission for the actress to portray her in the biopic.

Daniel said even though Laura went through the casting process, he already had her in mind for the role, because her mannerisms are reminiscent of Susy.

Susy also praised Laura's acting skills.

"I know Laura has amazing talent. I saw her audition, where the national anthem was played [after winning a game]. I was touched to see her being me. I'm sure Laura can execute this role because her talent has been proven in her other films," the legendary shuttler said.

Laura said she was grateful to land the role and that she had four months of physical training before the start of filming. She also watched old footage and consulted Susy to prepare for the role.

"We had a chance to sit down together and talk several times. I asked her how she felt, not only on the badminton court, but also when she was rehearsing. When she won, she always made the sign of the cross. I asked her about it and she said that no one but God could help her during her games," Laura said.

Dion Wiyoko, who is also Laura's onscreen husband in the 2018 film "Terbang: Menembus Langit," will act as Alan. Daniel said although Dion was chosen because of the palpable chemistry between him and Laura, the two actors will have a different dynamic as a couple in this film. Whereas Dion was the central character in "Terbang," it is Laura's turn in "Susy Susanti."

Other cast members include Jenny Zhang as Susy's coach Liu Chiu Sia, Chew Kin Wah as Alan's coach Tong Sin Fu, and Farhan as former Indonesian Vice President Tri Sutrisno.

Film director Sim F., center, flanked by the cast of 'Susy Susanti – Love All.' (JG Photo/Cahya Nugraha)

Daniel added that Susy's many achievements have made her a "world-class Indonesian" and that he wanted to use the film to elevate her as a role model for millennials to teach them to not be afraid to compete against people from other countries.

"The fire that is in her can hopefully be passed on to millennials through the version Laura Basuki plays [in the film]," Daniel said.

"Susy Susanti – Love All" is slated for release in the first quarter of 2019.