irst known as a stuntman, Yoshi Sudarso now steps into acting and boy did he deliver the punch.
I remember the very first time I saw Yoshua “Yoshi” Sudarso, it was online. It was a 2016 Buzzfeed video titled “Dramatic Men’s Hair Color Transformations” and he had his long mane colored from black to silver. “I’ve always wanted to look like a video game character,” he said in the video, which garnered a total of 6.3 million views to the day this cover story submitted. At the end he looked like a video game character that has come to life.
Yoshi’s love of video game translated towards his passion in life. From video games he got interested into learning fighting moves. “My family didn’t allow me to learn martial arts so I learned the moves from Youtube videos. Even at the gym, when I see someone doing martial arts and seems like an expert in it, I ask that person to teach me some moves.” When he figured he knew enough, he started doing stunts.
I asked him what his scariest moment in doing stunts is so far. It happened during the first few years he was doing stunts. The job was to jump 15 feet down into water. “My technique was wrong. It was so painful and I lost six of my front teeth. So these teeth you’re looking at, these are veneers,” he admitted while touching his ‘fake’ teeth. Yet, he didn’t falter. He later asked his mentors and corrected his technique, tried the jump again and succeeded.
This tenacity and hard work let him to get his first life-changing project he was cast on. It was Power Rangers. Yoshi gained massive popularity when he was cast as Blue Dino Charge Ranger in Power Rangers Dino Charge TV series in 2015. Indonesian press caught up on the news and it got huge. It wasn’t just a proud moment that an Indonesian entertainer has made it internationally, but also the sense of nostalgia Power Rangers brought towards not just early Millennials but also the generation preceding that, which is Generation X (those born on early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s). Power Rangers series first started in 1993 and was a 1990s pop culture phenomenon. For many Indonesian people, Power Rangers were, and probably still are, their childhood heroes.
oshi has gotten a good number of press coverage that I’ve lost count on how many interviews I’ve read that mentioned about his favorite Indonesian food. It’s Nasi Rames. It’s quite an interesting choice because most people would just say Nasi Goreng, the most common Indonesian food there is. “Nasi Rames is essentially nasi campur (mixed rice). I’m easily bored so with Nasi Rames I can just choose what side dishes I want to eat that day and choose different ones the next day.” He soon updated us on his latest favorite food. “I like Gado-gado now. It’s healthy and that’s pretty much the only way to get me to eat vegetables,” he grinned.
We caught up with Yoshi just a couple of days after he finished shooting Milly & Mamet (set to launch in December 2018). His latest movie, Buffalo Boys is recently released on July 2018 and got selected as the Singaporean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. “It was an amazing experience. Pevita (Pearce), Julie (Estelle), and everyone is so great,” Yoshi said.
“Ario Bayu is like a big brother to me, not just in movie (Ario played Jamar, big brother of Yoshi’s character, Suwo, in Buffalo Boys) but also in real life.” Both Ario and Yoshi do have things in common. Both are Indonesians who moved abroad when they were little and moved back to Indonesia and in the beginning, spoke little Bahasa. Yoshi moved to America when he was nine years old, and came back to Indonesia just a couple years ago. Coincidentally, it’s a similar situation with their characters in Buffalo Boys. In the movie, the brothers came back to the land of Java to avenge their father, who was murdered, after years of exile in America.
The photoshoot is located in a quaint thematic photo studio in Tebet, South Jakarta. Wearing a pink sweater with a female manga character emblazoned on it, Yoshi struck some poses while eating his bowl of Indomie. The past couple of months he has spent in Jakarta has been very productive. “I’ve done many photoshoots here that I think I’ve had enough photos for Instagram to last me until the end of the year,” he laughed.
“Honestly I never wear branded clothes ‘till I got to Indo,” he said while tying the shoelaces of colorful Gucci sneakers he’s wearing for the next frame. That’s interesting since in his IMDB profile it is written that he ‘developed a fanbase through social media by doing fashion blogging and Youtube videos.’ “First of all, I don’t know who wrote that. I can’t edit it.” We both giggled. So it’s not true? “Actually my brother, Peter, did take some OOTD (Outfit of the Day) photos of me. But he’s the one with fashion sense, he art directed and styled me.”
Yoshi’s tight relationship with his younger brother, Peter Adrian Sudarso, is something to look up to. Peter actually ‘continues’ the reign of playing Blue Power Ranger character in the following season. Yoshi played Blue Dino Charge Ranger in Power Rangers Dino Charge TV series (2015-2016) and Peter succeeded him in the next series called Power Rangers Ninja Steel as -guess what color?- Blue Ninja Steel Ranger.
Besides Peter, Yoshi’s wife, Sarah, along with his family, are his support system. “They keep me grounded.” Any plan to raise a family of his own? “Yes. In fact, we just moved to a bigger house for that reason.
Being an Asian actor in America is tough. “You’re expected to know some fighting moves, even though you’re not auditioning for a ‘fighter’ part,” he shared to me. Yoshi knew he had some experience to share for his fellow aspiring Asian actors. “We have these meetings where we can all teach each other some moves. When we’re done we will just hang out and eat afterwards.”
So what’s next for Yoshi? “Peter and I were involved in this indie short movie titled “The Monkey Prince and the Flower Maiden” and I’m so excited about it.” The movie centers around a half-Monkey God Prince and is a modern action fantasy film. Yoshi showed me some visual moodboards and inspirations for the movie and it’s looking like a video game in itself. And of course, Yoshi is game for it.