Back in 2016, Datuk Rosyam Nor was looking down from the seventh floor of a building. The 51-year-old actor recalled how he had to perform one of the scariest scenes in his career.
“So, my (KL Special Force) director Syafiq Yusof wanted me to use a cable to rappel down from the seventh floor to the ground. It was something that I’ve never done before. I told the assistant director to tell Syafiq that I was afraid to do that scene. Could he use a stuntperson instead?” Rosyam shared during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Syafiq insisted that Rosyam had to do the scene on his own. “Before he said ‘action’, I saw the faces of my wife and my children in my mind. I couldn’t believe this was how I was trying to make a living.
“At the same time, I saw a great opportunity to prove myself as an action hero. I thought about how my fans would be impressed to see me do the stunt on my own … so I did it.”
Rosyam went on to do the scene for six more takes. Luckily for him, the scene also made to the final cut in his latest movie KL Special Force, where he plays a cop going after a bank robbery gang.
Long List Of Achievements
The resilient actor is not resting on his past achievements.
His impressive tally include the Best Supporting Actor award at the Asia Pacific Film Festival for his role in Lenjan in 1999 and the Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) trophy for Best Actor in 2008 for Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang.
Rosyam has also won the Anugerah Bintang Popular award for Most Popular Actor seven times (1998-1999, 2001-2005).
His comeback role in KL Gangster 2 as Tailong earned him the FFM award for Best Supporting Actor in 2014.
But Rosyam said fame is nothing without a consistent body of work to be proud of. However, box office receipts are equally important to the actor.
“I’m not looking to win awards these days. I admit that I want to have a box office movie. I need something to make me feel that I deserve being called a celebrity. I feel that you can’t just rely on being popular and hope that fans will remember you,” he explained.
After the release of KL Special Force, fans can see Rosyam as badminton coach Datuk Misbun Sidek in biopic Lee Chong Wei: Rise Of The Legend. Another upcoming film is crime thriller Motif, co-starring Sharifah Amani.
“I’m excited to be acting under new director Nadiah Hamzah. People have been saying that she’s going to be the next Yasmin Ahmad,” he said.
He will also be starring in action thriller Proksi alongside Bront Palarae and then start production on a horror movie with Syafiq.
The actor who grew up at a squatter area in KL never thought he’d make it big in the acting industry.
“Back then, I ventured into show business because I didn’t do well academically. I was just trying my luck. After starring in Gila-Gila Remaja (1985), I got a job as a production assistant.
“One of my earliest tasks was to scrub toilets. Then I had to buy food for the crew. Can you imagine back then I had to take the bus and carry 40 packs of food with me?” he reminisced.
But starting from the bottom gave Rosyam the resilience he needed to succeed in the industry.
“I’ve come to understand why God put me through a hard life. He wanted me to learn from having nothing.”
Rosyam is also thankful that fans of the local film industry have come to accept him for his talent.
“I owe it to the fans to keep on making movies. They are the ones who have kept me alive in this industry,” Rosyam said.
Top 5 Movie Roles
Datuk Rosyam Nor has played various roles in his 33-year-long acting career. He looks back at five of his most significant ones.
1. Gila-Gila Remaja (1985) as Remy, a teenager who got in with the wrong crowd
“Remember how I said ‘Oh, peperiksaan’ in this movie? I was terrible and I know people still find it funny. This role started it all for me. I started using my stage name from this movie onwards. My birth name is Mohamed Noor Shamsuddin. Then I changed it to Rosyam Nor, a combination of my mum’s name Rubiah and my dad Shamsuddin.”
2. Jimi Asmara (1995) as Dzul Fakar, a musician
“I feel that people in the industry only started to notice my talent after I appeared in this movie directed by Erma Fatima. It was through this role that I got more opportunities to work with different directors.”
3. Suami, Isteri dan … (1996) as Fatah, a hapless husband
“I got to be a hero in the leading role for the first time thanks to this movie. That really improved my acting chances.”
4. Lenjan (1999) as Zarin, a serial rapist
“I prepared for this role by reading up on rape cases. I wanted the audience to hate my character as much as I despised the rapists. This role means a lot to me as it got me the Asia Pacific Film Festival award for Best Supporting Actor.”
5. KL Gangster 2 (2013) as Tailong, a gangster
“When I felt like my name was going down in the industry, this role came to me and made me relevant again.”