10 things you need to know about Iko Uwais

We bring you the facts about the star of THE RAID 2

THE RAID 2 kicks and punches its way into Irish cinemas this week, and we are more than a little excited to see rising star Iko Uwais in action again. To celebrate the release of the film, and it’s charming leading man, we gathered together the facts about Iko Uwais.

1. …If that is your real name.
Although we know him as Iko, this is actually a nickname. Our hero’s real name is Uwais Quorny; he was named after the Muslim mystic Uwais Quarni.

2. Scary kid!
Iko has been learning the martial art Silat Betawi since he was 10 years old at his uncle’s pencak silat training hall, Tiga Berantai. Although he is a genuinely sweet guy, we still wouldn’t want to take on Iko in any capacity.

3. On the ball
Once a midfielder in an Indonesian B-League soccer club, Iko’s dream of becoming a soccer star ended after his club went bankrupt. …And we are so grateful things worked out as they did.

4. Chance Meeting
Iko met THE RAID director Gareth Evans when Evans was filming a documentary about Silat in Iko’s training hall. Evans and Uwais immediately hit it off; as Iko himself says ‘…He fell in love with me!’

5. Award Winner
In 2003, Iko won third place at the Jakarta Provincial Tournament. In 2005, he won first place at the National Pencak Silat Championship as the best performer in the demonstration category.

6. Breakthrough
Iko’s first acting job was on Gareth Evans’ film, MERANTAU. Until this point, Uwais had been working as an operational driver in telecom company, Esia. Uwais left his day job when he signed a five-year contract with Evans and his production company. We bet he has never looked back!

7. Rising Star
Iko makes a special appearance as a Pencak Silat Fighter in Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, MAN OF TAI CHI. We told you he was a performer to watch out for!

8. Fight! Fight! Fight!
When we talked to Iko for THE RAID, he said he never wants to use the same fight movement twice, even in different movies. This may be a huge challenge, but Iko also said that he was more nervous about acting than fighting, and he had to run around the set to relax.

9. Let Iko Entertain You
When there were technical difficulties during the screening of THE RAID 2 at SXSW earlier this year, Iko and co-star Cecep Arif Rahman demonstrated their fighting skills on stage in the cinema.

10. Remake
Although Iko will not star in the US remake of THE Raid – and Gareth Evans is only minimally involved – Uwais has signed on to cheoreograph the fight scenes for the movie, which can only mean they will be epic.

THE RAID 2 is in Irish cinemas from April 11th

Words: Brogen Hayes