Whenever we talk about Hollywood movies or TV shows like Kingsman
, Kung Fu Panda
, or American Horror Story
, what normally comes to mind is a mega-production company, helmed by award-winning directors and starred by Hollywood A-listers. Little do we know that some of these mega-blockbusters have some Malaysian involvement in it! And no, we’re not talking about Kuching-born James Wan, who has directed box office hits like Fast and Furious 7
, and the Conjuring,
or about Datuk Michelle Yeoh.
They are people that you may have never heard of and are not necessarily in the spotlight. But these unsung production members play a crucial role in delivering the crucial behind-the-scenes elements such as animation, special effects, song compositions, song mixing, and so on. Then there are also some who have contributed their vocals to movie soundtracks. Let’s take a look at a list of inspiring Malaysians who’ve made it in Hollywood!
If you’re wondering why he sounds familiar, well, it’s because Rendra has just recently won the 53rd
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Awards for Best Original Song
via the hit Ola Bola
theme song, "Arena Cahaya", which he co-wrote alongside singer, Zee Avi. The Berklee College of Music graduate is currently based in LA and has a very impressive extensive resumé.
He has worked with the likes of award-winning composers and musicians such as Mac Quayle and Yuval Ron, and also boasts a sturdy involvement in a long-list of Hollywood TV shows
as a composer assistant
. He has worked for shows such as Mr. Robot, American Horror Story: Hotel, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Scream Queens.
So, if you’re binge watching one of these shows, just remember at the back of your head, that the music for these shows had a Malaysian contribution. #MalaysiaBoleh
Image: Rendra Zawawi
Aside from working with Hollywood TV shows, Rendra has previously showcased his talent via numerous local TV shows such as Tarbiah Cinta
, Pulang Sayang
, and Mencintaimu
This lady needs no further introduction after putting Malaysia on the map thanks to her soulful, sultry voice that has taken the world by storm. Her decision to move to the US to further develop her career as a singer-songwriter is probably the best decision she has ever made as it helped opened so many doors and opportunities for her. From singing at underground gigs in Kuala Lumpur, Yuna now stands tall alongside international big names such as Pharrell Williams and Usher.
Last year, Yuna had quite a great year after appearing on Nasdaq’s Billboard in the heart of Times Square and was also listed as Billboard’s “Top 10 Best R&B Albums of 2016”. Well, that’s not the only achievement she’s made throughout her stint in the States. Did you know that Yuna has previously lent her voice to the soundtrack of the animated film, The Croods
? The song titled "Shine Your Way" was a collaboration between her and Owl City. Apart from that, she covered a Beatles’ classic, "Here Comes the Sun"
for the 2012 film, Savages
Silver screen soundtracks isn’t the only thing she’s dominating. Her original songs have also appeared on a number of popular TV shows
such as Arrow; Pretty Little Liars;
the reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210
; Grey’s Anatomy;
as well as the video game, Grand Theft Auto V
. Way to go, Yuna. Can’t wait to see what she has in store for us this year!
Tau Films (Formerly Known as Rhythm & Hues)
Image: Tau Films
These guys tau
what they’re doing with their craft or else they wouldn’t have bagged the prestigious Oscars for Best Visual Effects
back in 2013 with the movie Life of Pi
. Tau Films was formerly known as Rhythm & Hues when they won the award. The company has a few branches around the world including India, Canada, Taiwan, Malaysia, and its headquarters in the US. The Malaysian branch was mostly responsible for bringing the ocean, orangutan, and tiger to life in Life of Pi
Image: 20th Century Fox
Image: 20th Century Fox
The company mainly works on special effects and their achievements include Babe, Golden Compass, Night at The Museum, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Snow White and The Huntsman, and X-Men First Class
just to name a few. They have just recently completed a ride film for Movie Park Germany, which is similar to the “King Kong 360” attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. You can check out their spectacular portfolio here
Alvin pictured with Rendra after winning the 53rd Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Awards for Best Theme Song. (Image: Astro)
Alvin Wee may not be known to the everyday man and woman, but he’s well known within the music industry and has also helped lend a crucial hand as a production assistant by mixing "Arena Cahaya", the award-winning song sung by Zee Avi. Alvin is a music engineer who has mixed music scores in a long list of Hollywood movies. You might want to take a deep breath before we go into his impressive portfolio, because he has worked on a staggering amount of 33 films, documentaries, movie soundtracks, and video games according to his IMDb profile
He has worked on Kingsman: The Secret Service, Blackhat, Pixels, Kung Fu Panda 3, 13 Hours, Eddie the Eagle, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End,
and the list just goes on! Now we’re very curious to know what other projects he has under his belt.
Image: DreamWorks Animation
Image: 20th Century Fox
We’re very proud of our fellow Malaysians who are making gigantic waves on an international scale. Here’s to hoping that this new year will be a greater year for them and will help put Malaysia on the map – for the right reasons, of course – once again. They are the true walking spirit of Malaysia Boleh