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We Talk To Tira Herself, Chelsea Islan, About Being The Next Indonesian Bumilangit Superhero

From the world of Indonesia’s superheroes Bumilangit Universe, Tira tells the story of Suci, an inspirational stuntwoman stricken with a death curse. To free herself, she must find and defeat nine evil people who possess ancient dragons, only to discover that someone close to her is the evillest of them all. Produced by acclaimed filmmaker Joko Anwar and directed by Zahir Omar, Tira features Chelsea Islan in the title role.

Courtesy of Disney+ Hotstar, we were lucky enough to interview Tira lead actress Chelsea Islan. This article has been edited for clarity.

What do you think of the rise of the superhero genre in Indonesia?

Chelsea Islan: So far, I’m very proud of the progress in Indonesia. We’re progressing more and more, and we can see from movies like Gundala and Sri Asih, that the CGI is out of this world. I’m amazed by the cinematography in Indonesian movies, which has produced a variety of different films.

This is a real breakthrough and a new genre that will bring Indonesia’s name to the international level.

What is like working with Malaysian director Zahir Omar?

Chelsea Islan: It’s been an honour working with Zahir Omar because he’s really patient and he’s a really caring director. I had so much fun during the shoot and it’s been a blessing to everyone in the team because Zahir really, really takes care of all of the crew and he gives space for all the actors and actresses to transform into the character.

Because it’s not an easy process becoming the character itself, but he guides us throughout the way, along the way, and I’m really excited to work with Zahir.

What were the stunts like and did you get injured?

Chelsea Islan: During training, I wore a sling, so I was thrown around and there were a lot of extreme physically-demanding action scenes that I’ve never done before. Because of that, there were some scenes I couldn’t perform myself, so Disney and Bumilangit provided a stuntwoman for me.

I also learnt a lot from the stuntwoman, as did the rest of the cast, to the point that there were stunts that we wanted to perform ourselves, which included a high 9-meter jump stunt sequence. Of course, we did get cuts and bruises but there were no serious injuries.

Training only lasted for two months, while the shooting took 66 days. The training consisted of choreography and also script-reading sessions with the cast and crew. But because it’s mostly a lot of action, there was a lot of physical training.

Can you tell us more about your character, Suci (the name of the character’s human identity, Tira is her superhero name)?

Chelsea Islan: Tira will be teaming up with Godam in a new movie, Godam & Tira, next year. However, the Tira series will focus on Suci’s journey in becoming Tira. Suci is actually a normal human, who’s a student and stuntwoman who must free herself from a curse. That journey will see her getting superpowers.

What attracted you to the role of Suci?

Chelsea Islan: That’s a good question. I believe that Suci is a different kind of superhero. She doesn’t have any superpowers at all and I see that this is the most human superhero. That’s why I am attracted to the role of Suci, because I want people to see that superheroes are not always heroes but they can a human being too.

What do you think Tira’s role would be in an Avengers-like Bumilangit movie?

Chelsea Islan: I think an Avengers-like Bumilangit movie is at least 3 years away, since we’re still in the midst of introducing each individual hero. As for Tira’s role, she’s likely more of someone who would rush into the fray with enthusiasm.

Who would you like to see Tira teaming up with from the Bumilangit universe?

Chelsea Islan: Probably someone who’s already been introduced, like Sri Asih.

What is Tira’s weakness?

Chelsea Islan: What she fears the most is acrophobia, the fear of heights. Suci, or Tira, is afraid of heights due to a past trauma.

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