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Playing Mr President, the playboy

Published on Aug 13, 2014 6:54 PM
Ario Bayu. -- PHOTO: MVP

Indonesian actor Ario Bayu grew up largely unaware of the iconic status of Indonesian independence leader and first president Sukarno.

He spent 11 years of his youth in New Zealand, to which his parents had emigrated and where they run a cafe, before returning to Indonesia at age 19 to seek a career as an actor.

So when fate dictated that he should be given the role of the leader in the biopic Soekarno (in its Indonesian spelling) directed by Hanung Bramantyo, it sparked a flurry of research into the statesman's life as well as legal letters from the former president's daughter, who felt that the actor's years spent abroad disqualified him from playing a national hero.

The 29-year-old actor sighs when the topic of the legal challenge is brought up. It is clear in the telephone conversation with him from his home in Jakarta that he sees the courtroom issues as an annoyance.

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