Casting call for Instagram-famous talents riles up Malaysia’s veteran actors

If you miss seeing your favorite local actors on screen lately, that’s probably because the industry has been favoring talents with a huge social media following.

Long-time actors got their claws out at this controversial casting requirement yesterday, after an unknown media network allegedly requested for younger talents with no fewer than a million Instagram followers. Among those who called out the “unfair” requirement were award-winning actors Sharifah Amani, Iedil Putra, and Shahili Abdan, better known as Nam Ron, who first outed the “broadcasting company” on Wednesday.

“So who does this benefit really?” Sepet actress Sharifah Amani asked on Twitter yesterday, and then told her half a million Instagram followers that the criteria was “ridiculous” and “unfair.”

Actor-director Shahili had shared what appeared to be a part of an email telling casting directors to look for “younger, popular cast, with high IG following (over 1M).”

“This is from a broadcasting company,” the 52-year-old told his 116,000 Instagram followers. “It’s real guys! Not a joke. Not a myth or urban legend.”

He added: “So what now? The decision is in your hands. If you want to see your favourite actors and actresses on screen, follow them on social media.”

Shahili has been acting for almost 20 years, starring in movies like Beautiful Pain, for which he won Best Actor at the Malaysian Film Festival.

Actor Iedil Putra, who recently starred in Indonesia’s Toko Barang Mantan, reacted to the controversial email with a simple “bye.”

“… Over one million Instagram followers? It’ll be a long time before I get a job in Malaysia. This is what they want even though I’ve worked in the industry for over 20 years. Bye,” the actor told his 55,700 followers yesterday.

People reacting to “Instagram” criteria of a casting call in Malaysia. Photo: Nam Ron/Instagram

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