GUNDALA: Joko Anwar To Direct Long-Awaited Indonesian Superhero Adaptation This Fall


Southeast Asia isn't hugely prolific when it comes to superhero movies, although they do exist - a clear indication that there's a market for such a subgenre in a region continually riping these days in movies. Author and creator Harya Suraminata (a.k.a. Hasmi) is even moreso an example as his 1969 launch of comic book brainchild, Gundala, was eventually adapted for the big screen in 1981 from Lilik Sudjio and starring Teddy Purba, and will once again take reprisal with cameras rolling this September.

Celebrated fantasy and horror director Joko Anwar (Satan's Slaves, HBO Asia series Halfworlds) is slated to direct this, his seventh feature film ahead of a 2019 release according to Wednesday's coverage at The Jakarta Globe. Screenplay Films and Legacy Pictures are producing the film in association with the IP's copyright home at Bumilangit Studios. Gundala is being noted as one of several films in development with the first to deliver an origin tale about a scientist who gets struck by lightining and transported to another planet before returning to Earth with the ability to channel thunder from his hands and run as fast as the wind.
"This movie is going to be an entry point and a reminder for Indonesian youth that Indonesia has so many intellectual properties. Gundala is not the only famous comic character.  I have been asking young children about Gundala and other characters, and they are not aware of them," Joko said.
The original comic, which spawned up to 23 entries through 1982, was also the crux of director Hanung Bramantyo's own efforts to adapt the comic book for moviegoers back in 2014 with Erick Tohir at Mahaka Pictures. Anwar's own take on the franchise will transplant its Yogyakarta-set story to the city of Jakarta for creative purposes.
"Gundala is a very beloved character and this movie wants to be able to depict his spirit. We do need to upgrade its tone and feel into something that is up-to-date. We must make the story accessible to Indonesian moviegoers. We must be able to understand their sensibilities," Joko said.
Bumilangit Studios's Imansyah Lubis on the film's vision:
"The term 'superhero' as we know it today is heavily associated with something that is created in the West. We are putting that mindset away, and we are trying to present local wisdom in a new presentation. We cannot share our design of Gundala's costume yet, but hopefully it's not disappointing," he said.
Anwar on franchise execution:
"This first film will talk about the origin of Gundala, and how he became Gundala. We may have plans to develop other Gundala stories beyond this movie," he said.

"In (HBO series) 'Halfworlds,' I tried to present the many faces of our ghosts. Now, I want to display our very own superheroes."
Satan Slaves is still making the festival rounds with a Vintage Film Festival premiere slated for April 29 in Canada, while Anwar plots his current involvement as one of several directors attached to deliver segments of HBO Asia's horror anthology drama series, Folklore, later this year.

Anwar further signaled his involvement with Gundala with a preliminary poster on social media which you can view below as cast and crew info remain pending. Take a look, and then read more over at The Jakarta Globe.


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