Actor Henley Hii watched Johnny Depp to play gangster role in 'The Assistant'


Although tough, Henley Hii is proud of his action sequences in 'The Assistant'. Photos: Handout

Besides actor Hairul Azreen, another of Adrian Teh's frequent collaborator is actor-singer Henley Hii.

The Sabah-born artiste has appeared in Teh's box office hits Paskal: The Movie and Wira, and is starring in his latest movie The Assistant.

If Hii previously played an even-tempered best friend to the main character, this time around the actor gets to flex his action muscle more than usual as he executes a fight sequence that lasts close to 10 minutes in the film.

“I loved that action sequence,” stated the 37-year-old star. “We spent a lot of time preparing for the physical aspect of this film.

“We started training three months before we began shooting, (working out) twice a day, every day.

"In my experience, a lot of times, we just start filming action scenes on the spot and that’s really dangerous. So I was grateful for the extra preparation before the shoot.”

The director confirmed that The Assistant had the least amount of injuries and it was due to the trainings beforehand.

“I place great importance in giving the actors proper training and proper choreograph because it’s not fair to the actors and it’s not fair to the cameraman.

“If you want everyone to showcase their talents, you have to give them time to prepare.

“And to get that time, we need money. That’s why I always incorporate all this pre-production work within the budget,” explained Teh, disclosing The Assistant’s budget stands at RM6mil.

Directed and written by Teh, The Assistant tells the story of Zafik (Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin) who is sent to jail for 10 years for a crime he is innocent of.

While serving time, he is informed about the deaths of his wife and son but not the reason or who killed them.

Zafik comes out of prison a broken man, with nothing to live for. Luckily, his close friend Sam (Henley Hii) reaches out to him and offers him a job.

Henley Hii (from left), Hairul Azreen, Adrian Teh and Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin at Udine Film Festival. Henley Hii (from left), Hairul Azreen, Adrian Teh and Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin at Udine Film Festival.

For Hii, The Assistant tested him on two levels – acting and fighting.

To ensure that he captured his character correctly, Hii analysed Johnny Depp’s performance in the 2015 film Black Mass.

“I figured that’s how I needed to be and the contrast I needed to portray for my character,” said Hii, whose character in The Assistant is a successful businessman with gangster vibes.

“I also got some help from Iedil on how to deliver my lines better,” Hii added.

Of the climactic fight sequence – where his character takes off his shirt at one point to show off a large tattoo on his back – Hii said: “That fight was the most challenging for me because it took about five to six days to shoot.

“And on top of that, I had a fake tattoo on my back, and the ink kept coming off due to the sweat. The crew had to constantly touch up the tattoo. It was tiring.”

Having said that, Hii admitted he’s proud of his physical work in The Assistant.

“I have been acting for more than 10 years, and this is the most choreographed action I had to do,” he shared. "I can't wait for the audience to see the film."


The Assistant opened at cinemas nationwide on May 19.

Henley Hii watched Johnny Depp's performance in 'Black Mass' on how to portray his character in 'The Assistant'. Henley Hii watched Johnny Depp's performance in 'Black Mass' on how to portray his character in 'The Assistant'.

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