The Asian adaptation of "Pretty Little Liars" stars an Indonesian and Malaysian ensemble cast.
Award-winning Indonesian filmmaker Emil Heradi, who has helmed various short films and two feature films to date, has been busy following up his critically acclaimed "Night Bus" with several new projects.
The latest for the director is the Asian adaptation of the highly popular American TV series, "Pretty Little Liars". He tells us that is "new territory" for him as this marks his first time helming a major TV series.
Fully shot in Bali, the new series is set in the fictional town of Amerta. It stars an ensemble cast made up of Indonesia's Yuki Kato as Alissa, Anya Geraldine as Hanna, Valerie Thomas as Sabrina and Shindy Huang as Aria, as well as Malaysia's Eyka Farhana as Ema.
It follows the lives of the five female students whose clique falls apart when the leader, Alissa, goes mysteriously missing. Hanna, Ema, Sabrina and Aria are reunited a year later when they begin receiving messages from a mysterious figure known as "A", who is threatening to reveal their darkest secrets.
Continue reading below for our little chat with director Emil Heradi and find out what he has to say about the all new "Pretty Little Liars".
Emil Heradi, whose second movie "Night Bus" earned him high praises and various accolades,
ventures into TV series next with "Pretty Little Liars". (Photo source: Emil Heradi's Instagram).
Cinema Online: Will this adaptation be closer to the American TV series or the books? Since the American TV series made quite a few changes in its adaptation of the books.
Emil: We remake it from the American TV series. We tried to remain loyal to the TV series, with slight changes of the characters and relationship.
Did you make your main cast read the books or watch the American TV series before starting the shoot?
I let them decide if they need references from the original TV series or the book. If they don't, it's okay. The most important thing is that they can interpret the characters from the blueprint, which is the scenario.
Will this adaptation feature more Asian, or even Indonesian, elements in it?
In addition to Indonesian actors, there is the Amerta city that we created in Bali. We will see rice fields, beach and its cafes, a mix between modern and traditional structures.
How was it like directing "Pretty Little Liars"? It's quite different from your previous works.
Yes, here was my chance to enter a new territory. Lighter, younger, fresher, fashion, but I keep things I love the most: dreamy and mystery. Also, I like to have ensembled characters in a story, where we can see a variety of viewpoints, which are not about right and wrong, and often have to intersect with each other's values.
How about the girls (Eyka Farhana, Yuki Kato, Anya Geraldine, Valerie Thomas and Shindy Huang), were they able to follow your directions easily on set?
This was my first series, and working with them made my job easier and more fun. Each of them was very committed to their characters. I didn't have to direct them much, I just had to walk with them.
Having directed "Pretty Little Liars", it must be easier for you to helm your upcoming movie "Di Bawah Umur", since it also revolves around teenagers?
"Pretty Little Liars" is probably like a gateway for me to go into next projects. The horizon looks wider now. But that doesn't make it easier, each new place has its own challenge.
All 10 episodes of "Pretty Little Liars" are now available for streaming on Viu app and website!
Cinema Online, 11 May 2020