Director Syamsul Yusof is taking on the task to helm a biopic inspired by the bravery of Malay warrior Mat Kilau.
The ambitious RM5mil movie titled Mat Kilau will be produced by Studio Kembara. During a launch at the Finas complex in Selangor, Syamsul expressed his excitement about directing an epic historical film.
“My objective for this movie would be to highlight the sacrifices of our people. Mat Kilau fearlessly fought the British for the independence of his people and I hope viewers will be moved by his story,” the award-winning director said.
Mat Kilau will feature a star-studded cast with Adi Putra as the titular character alongside Fattah Amin and Beto Kusyairy as his fellow warriors.
“I’m confident that Adi Putra has what it takes to play Mat Kilau. Adi will bring soul to the character.
“I’ve heard stories about Mat Kilau possessing mythical powers but I want to show that he is a human being. He is not invincible and he bleeds like everyone else. I want the audience to be able to relate to him,” Syamsul continued.
Other cast members include Wan Hanafi Su, Namron, Datuk Rahim Razali, Nadiya Nisaa and Johan Asari. Indonesian action star Yayan Ruhian of The Raid fame – who also had a cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – will be a part of Mat Kilau as martial arts choreographer.
He is tasked with training the Mat Kilau actors in silat. Yayan will also take on a minor role as the villain’s henchman.
“I’m inspired by how movies like Ip Man is action-focused and entertaining yet eye-opening at the same time because it touches on history. My approach for Mat Kilau is to make it a martial arts film focusing on the warriors and the art of silat as a fighting method,” Syamsul explained.
He added: “But it won’t just be all about action. I want to make Mat Kilau a touching epic movie about brotherhood and sacrifice with some emphasis on spiritual values.”
Production starts this month and Syamsul said finding the right location is one of the movie’s biggest challenges.
“We will be shooting major scenes in Pahang with Gua Kota Gelanggi and Air Terjun Pelangi as some of the key locations. The movie is set in 1890, so we’re going to have to recreate some settings like the British base and a jetty,” he offered.
This is not the first time that the local film industry is seeing a Mat Kilau movie in the making.
Back in 2004, a Mat Kilau movie production was announced by Lagenda Studios with a budget rumoured to be at RM10mil. However, the movie never materialised.
Studio Kembara producers stressed that its company has no connections to Lagenda Studios.
Syamsul revealed that Studio Kembara had shot the Mat Kilau movie with another director before he was called in to take over the project.
“I didn’t mind taking over another person’s project. Initially, I was asked to help finish the other director’s work.
“When I saw the footage that the director had shot, I just thought it’s better to start over. What can I say about the footages (that had been shot)? It can’t be saved.”
The no-nonsense director hopes to release Mat Kilau next year.