The two local actors play a married couple going through some problems in psychological thriller Nota.
It is funny how Maya Karin and Hans Isaac have never worked in a film together, considering both stars have had spurts of successes in various local movies. Then there is the fact that they have been friends for more than a decade, probably sharing the same circle of friends.
Well, that status has changed with Nota. Directed by Japanese Yasu Tanaka, Nota is a psychological thriller which sees Hans and Maya playing a married couple going through a relationship crisis, seen mostly from the wife’s point of view.
In a recent interview with these two actors at the photo shoot for the May issue of Faces, Hans shared that he was supposed to star with Maya in two previous projects which didn’t materialise. However with Nota, the 43-year-old actor feels it’s the perfect script for their first partnership.
“This script was right for Maya and me, and I knew she could carry the lead role,” he said.
Hans, who is a friend of Tanaka’s, said that he wasn’t involved in the casting process at all; it was Tanaka’s decision to team them up.
Hans shared that he had initially turned down the role when Tanaka first approached him with the script: “I told Yasu to give the role to someone else, because I had my plate full.”
However, when filming schedule shifted, Hans had some free time between projects which allowed him to participate in Nota. (Right now, Hans has immersed himself in yet another original musical – after helming Cuci, The Musical and Super Mokh, The Musical – called Rejang, which depicts the lives of the locals along the famous river in Sarawak. It is scheduled to be staged in March next year.)
Nota was filmed in Sarawak, with most of the outdoor scenes shot in Bako National Park. It sees Kamal and his wife Erin going through a deteriorating relationship as they attempt for the umpteenth time to have a baby. Frustrated and wanting to save their marriage, they decide to go back to the place where they first fell in love.
However, on the journey there, Erin discovers a note written by Kamal that makes her suspicious of his motives for the vacation. In turn, she starts to concoct a murderous plan.
Nota has yet to receive a release date in Malaysia, but judging from the trailer, it could do well in international film festivals. Hans agreed: “When I read the script, I realised that Yasu had a larger audience in mind.”
This is obvious from the fact that Tanaka – who is married to a Malaysian – has surrounded himself with an international crew. One of them is cinematographer Maximilian Schmige from Germany.
Schmige also happens to be the reason Maya was excited to be part of the film. A fan of European films, Maya knew the look and feel of Nota would be different from what has been done in Malaysia and she was keen to see what it would be like to work with Schmige.
Maya was also curious about working on a psychological thriller as it presented her with a different challenge. The half-German beauty explained: “In this genre, acting is especially important to make the suspense work. Psychological thrillers depends on good editing, good script and good acting.”
Her role required her to be physically fit as there is a scene which sees her fighting in the mud.
“The scene was filmed in a day, but let’s just say that I found mud in my ears days later,” deadpanned Maya.
According to the actress, the most challenging bit was the heat beating down on her during the filming. “The worst was when I was on a boat for a whole day, the heat was just extreme.”
The filming also proved to be tough as Maya has no family or friends in Sarawak. Hence, she was glad that she had at least one person she knew well on set.
“It was interesting to finally work with Hans. We also supported each other during filming when neither of our family members or friends were around,” said Maya.
- Grab the latest issue of Faces to read more on this duo.