A franchise-full of folklore-inspired superhero movies, that constitute Indonesia’s most ambitious film project to date, has finally begun production. Stringent health precautions are being applied as the coronavirus outbreak is still rampant and devastating the country.
“Satria Dewa: Gatotkaca,” is the first of eight movies branded under the Satria Dewa Superhero Universe produced by Rene Ishak and veteran Celerina Judisari through their Satria Dewa Studios. Hong Kong-based veteran Mike Leeder (“The Raid,” the “Ip Man” franchise, “Chasing the Dragon,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as associate producer.
Filming began on Aug. 6 after a two-month delay because of COVID-19, which has infected 163,000 people and claimed 7,064 lives in Indonesia. Lensing is expected to continue for 45 days until mid-September.
Ishak told Variety that the production had to observe strict precautions to get the cameras rolling. Cast and crew had to undergo two weeks of quarantine on location before shooting commenced, even though the majority of shooting takes place in closed-set locations and studios. Besides mask-wearing, daily body temperature checks and social distancing off-screen, swab tests are also performed on a weekly basis.
The Satria Dewa universe series draws on Indonesian folklore ideas that can be traced back more than 700 years. But the action is set in the present-day in order to create a wider appeal, and one that goes further than Indonesia.
The movie is slated for a theatrical release in Indonesia in summer 2021 followed by an international release.
The first movie “Gatotkaca” is expected to cost $4-$5 million, a large budget for an Indonesian movie. It is directed by Hanung Bramantyo (“Brownies,” “Get Married”), scripted by Rahabi Mandra (“Night Bus”), and stars Indonesian idol Rizky Nazar (“Danur 3,” “The Way I Love You”) as Yuda, a young man with superpowers.
It also involves Cecep-Arif Rahman and Yayan Ruhiyan, both known to international audiences through their roles in action franchise movies “John Wick 3” and “The Raid,” with Ruhian also having appeared in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.”
The scale will continue to grow as the series develops, Ishak said. The series will be diversify into animation, e-sports, mobile games, merchandise and licensing.