Last year, actor Shaheizy Sam shocked fans when he appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight.

Shaheizy admitted that his skinnier frame had some of his friends worried. “I looked skinnier and haggard to the point that some of my friends asked if I started doing drugs. Actually, I was in the process of losing weight for a role,” Shaheizy, 35, said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

He was in the midst of filming Pinjamkan Hatiku, a romance drama which also stars Ayda Jebat and Farid Kamal. The movie will be released on Nov 30.

Shaheizy Sam

Shaheizy Sam when he lost 8kg for role in Pinjamkan Hatiku, Photo: Instagram

The affable actor shared how he lost 8kg for the role of Naufal: “While filming, my character was going through a physical transformation so I had to lose weight fast. One of the things I did was literally ‘tahan makan’ (refrain from eating),” Shaheizy said. He went from 65kg to 57kg in a span of two months.

He added: “I stopped taking carbs and cut down on protein. I remember eating just vegetables, fruits and drinking lots of water. Then before I go to bed, I will run for one hour.”

Shaheizy admitted that the drastic measures he took to lose weight was reckless as he did not seek any professional opinion.

“I didn’t get a doctor’s advice and didn’t talk to a nutritionist. I just went with it and I told myself that if I get sick, it’s my responsibility. While filming the movie, I was feeling lethargic. It helps with the character anyway,” he said.

The dedicated actor is also out to prove that Malaysian actors can be on par with international stars when it comes to preparing for roles.

“I can’t accept it when people say Malaysian actors don’t put any effort into their roles. That kind of criticism really affects me. So I try to do what I can to prove people wrong,” Shaheizy said.

At the same time, he understands why some actors don’t have the tenacity to go through such physical transformation: “Maybe they don’t get a deserving return for their hard work.”

Shaheizy, who has been acting since he was 12 years old, explained that the way local filmmakers go into production also needs to change. He feels more time should be allocated for actors to prepare for their roles.

“I hope what I do in terms of this weight loss can open the eyes of producers out there. Maybe they’ll understand why actors need time to start early preparations for a role. Pay them well and they will reward you with their efforts. It’s a practice that’s lacking with our filmmakers here,” he offered.

Doting dad

In May, Shaheizy took on his most cherished role to date – as a father to baby boy Syeriv Samheizy.

“He knows how to laugh now. It’s a special feeling to see him going from not knowing anything to learning different things everyday. I want to be there for him at every milestone,” the proud father said.

Shaheizy plans to balance fatherhood with acting by having his son close to him on set.

“ I guess, it’s because when I was a kid, I didn’t get to see my late father often. He was a policeman and the former deputy inspector-general for Selangor.

“He would have already left the house when I woke up. And when he came home at night, I was already asleep. I don’t want my son to go through the same thing.”