“I want the experience. It doesn’t matter that I only got a small part in the film – it’s wonderful to just let yourself be immersed in the process. (That way) you get to learn a lot,” he said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
To explain his hectic schedule, the 68-year-old shared: “I was at Pulau Carey in Selangor this morning. Right now, I’m waiting for my runner to pick me up to go to Temerloh, Pahang, for another shoot.”
The actor is starring in a 13-episode series called Ripin Murai Batu from director Sabri Yunus, to be aired on RTM.
The upcoming drama is an adaptation from the novel Jogho Yang Tewas, which tells the story of a dikir barat storyteller (played by Wan Hanafi) and the challenges he faces while taking care of his family.
“Sabri told me that this character was written for me. The challenge is to make it different from Pok Ya Cong Codei (a Kelantanese thug character made famous by Sabri).”
At the same time, Wan Hanafi revealed that he’s just received a script for horror movie Jodoh Syaitan, set to be directed by Ismail Bob Hashim (of horror comedy Ngangkung fame). Jodoh Syaitan sees Wan Hanafi playing a black magic practitioner. Production will begin in Kelantan and Terengganu this month.
“I’m not sure yet if my schedule will allow me to fully commit to Jodoh Syaitan. We’ll see how it goes.”
Wan Hanafi admitted that it’s becoming harder for him to travel extensively for work. But the award-winning actor is not ready to say goodbye to his acting career. This year marks his 40th year in the business.
“At this age – I’m 68 – it can be quite a challenge (to travel). But I will try everything. I will arrange for a runner to drive me around. I’ll check with the production company to see if there is anything they can do to help me travel.”
Throughout his four-decade long career, Wan Hanafi has starred in notable productions like film festival favourites Apprentice, Bunohan and Lelaki Harapan Dunia to box office hits like Polis Evo. For Apprentice (2016), the Terengganu native got to walk the red carpet at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
But, of course, he’s had his share of duds too like Gangsterock: Kasi Sengat and Chowrasta.
Asked if he feels disappointed about the films he’s in that didn’t turn out as well as he had expected, Wan Hanafi answered: “Yes. I feel it’s high time for me to look at the material before agreeing to do something. Maybe I need to be more selective.”
Brushing off his fatigue, Wan Hanafi said he hopes to keep acting for as long as he can.
“Maybe I’ll stop when I feel that people don’t want to watch me anymore. Or until I feel that I’ve become senile. For now, I want to know how far I can go. I just don’t want to be stagnant.”
The actor feels optimistic that the local film industry will see some improvement under Malaysia’s current government.
“I am feeling hopeful about change. Then again, I always feel that there should be some light at the end of the tunnel. Mesti ada (for sure).”