New action movie War On Terror: KL Anarki, directed by Kroll Azry and Frank See, centres on the police uncovering a terrorist attack planned for Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, by brothers Lang (Qi Razali) and Joe (Naque Ariffin).
Unfortunately for the brothers, a police special team is assigned to thwart this threat.
For his part, actor Qi had some two months to immerse himself in the role of Lang, the formidable and silent-type terrorist.
And according to Qi, he needed all the time he had to play the intimidating mastermind.
The 46-year-old, whose full name is Qushairi Mohammed Razali Wong, has always played nice guys (think father or teacher) on screen. So, it was a foreign concept for Qi to embody a villainous character.
“This is the first time I am playing a really bad guy ... and to get the evil side out of me was quite a process,” said Qi, who was a former member of the popular 1990s group, OAG.
Qi consulted with some seasoned actors he has worked with before for pointers, and according to him, it all lies in the eyes where he has to make them “as dead as possible”.
“I watched a lot of gore videos such as cartels cutting heads, fingers, and all that. I used to skip those videos, but to play Lang, I had to force myself to look until I’m OK with watching them.”
Furthermore, Qi kept quiet on set and didn’t speak to cast and crew to ensure he stayed in character. This went on for some 40 days.
He said: “It wasn’t that I was going method or anything, I just wanted to have a bit of Lang with me at all times (during filming). My manager and assistant did notice the difference in my personality.”
Once filming ended, Qi cleansed himself of this character by watching cartoons and lighter materials in order “to neutralise my emotions”.
Unfortunately, Lang stayed on far longer within the actor than he would’ve liked.
He said it affected an audition he did for the role of a loving father after he was done with War On Terror.
“The director asked if I portrayed a villain before this (audition) because he said ‘the evil is (still) there’,” recalled Qi.
As he wanted the next role badly, Qi went home and played with his cats even more and made sure Lang went away for good before auditioning again.
Whether he’d be keen to take on the role of a villain again, Qi said: “It would depend on the type of ‘darkness’ I have to enter because this method (of watching gore videos) was for Lang specifically.
“... I do not like to play the same type of roles. Maybe the next villain is not the silent type, maybe he’s a psychotic person with crazy eyes. (Then) I will have to go into another kind of research for that.”
Director Kroll said he wanted to feature different types of villains with this movie, which is why he cast actors who have never been seen as baddies before.
Kroll said: “I like a villain who doesn’t yell unnecessarily. Lang is actually quite polite.
“I have seen Qi in other roles, but never something like this. Qi initially auditioned for the role of Joe, but I knew he’d be better as Lang. So I had him audition again.”