One of the things Datuk Fizz Fairuz (whose full name is Mohd Fairuz Zainal Abidin) values most when working on a production is when everyone involved has the best interest for the project.
The 39-year-old is not keen on wasting time working with fellow cast members who are part of the production just because they are popular on social media.
“When we are acting together, it is important that everything falls into place like having an innovative director, and fellow actors who we can ‘spar’ with when filming a scene.
“I have gotten roles where my ‘sparring’ partner is ill-fitted for a role, but the director or producer insists on this person because their Instagram followers are high. That is the current trend. But I also understand that someone like that might pull in a higher viewership,” he laments.
When this happens, Fizz said he’d rather leave the production or just adhere to what the person in charge decrees.
“Sometimes, it is a losing battle,” he concludes.
Thankfully, that was not the case when director Syamsul Yusof asked the Raub-born actor to reprise his role in Munafik 2 (reviewed here), which recently became Malaysia’s No. 1 local film of all time.
“When Syamsul called me to say that he’s bringing back (the character of) Azman for the sequel, he told me that the character will have a different storyline in the second movie. I agreed to the movie because I always want to try new things with a role, even if it’s the same one I have played before,” Fizz said.
1. When it comes to filming projects, how do you decide on which roles to accept?
In Malaysia, we can’t be too choosy when it comes to roles.
But sometimes we need to say no … maybe because our schedule doesn’t allow it, or perhaps the role is not suitable. But most importantly, if it’s a role we simply cannot portray, then we should turn it down. We must know our own strengths and weaknesses as an actor.
For example, if I selfishly accepted every role that came my way but couldn’t do the role justice, I feel I would only burden the whole production. That’s something I do not want.
(At the moment) I am interested in playing roles that have Islamic elements; Munafik films definitely have it and so was my role in Nur Kasih (a 2009 TV drama series). This is something I want to pursue more in the future as well.
2. You don’t only act, but write scripts as well. How about directing?
I want to direct, but I want to do it for my own company and it has to be a project for the big screen.
I am 39 this year, so I aim to direct my first film by next year. I waited this long because I feel it’s important to have the knowledge and skill first before taking on the role of a director.
I am thinking of doing a film based on one of the characters I have played before, expanding on that role.
3. If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing today?
I would be playing football for Pahang. I had to quit football after a knee injury that happened during a tournament to select players for Sukma Games in 1996.
The doctor who took the X-Ray advised me not to play professional football. So I had no choice but to give it up.
But I still play football for fun with my friends every week.
4. You received a Datukship from the Sultan of Pahang recently for promoting the state. What exactly do you do for Pahang tourism?
I promote the culture of Pahang, its food, its traditions and encourage people to visit my state.
I organise events and concerts – because my company does event management – to promote all things Pahang.
There are so many things I can do to promote Pahang – we have beautiful islands, we have scenic lakes and we have gorgeous beaches.
5. You are father to two girls, a three-year-old and a two-year-old. How has your life changed?
My daughters are the best, they don’t wake up in the middle of the night like most kids do, which means I can also sleep through the night.
I don’t know how it’s going to be like with the next one though. (Wife Almy Nadia is pregnant with the couple’s third child.)
But I don’t think I have changed much other than that when I was single, I only had to take care of myself, but now I have other people I care for and people who care for me.
I love spending time with my family. For me being with them is a stress reliever.