For the past few days, I’ve noticed a crap ton of people on my social media sharing a particular news story: Malaysian actress Raja Ilya to undergo plastic surgery to star in Marvel movie. Two things immediately came to mind. One being, “HOLY SH*T! First, Malaysian in Star Trek. Now, Malaysian in Marvel?!” Two, “Wait… Marvel told someone to undergo plastic surgery for a role?” That’s crazy! There’s going to be a huge backlash. #Feminism
Surely sites like New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter would have a thing or two to say about that. Actors being told to go under the knife isn’t a commonality, believe it or not. I mean, this isn’t freaking South Korea, bruh. So, I waited. I waited and waited. But nothing happened. Not a single article. Did all the feminist journalists take a simultaneous vacation or something? Forget anti-plastic surgery articles. There was literally ZERO mention about this in any prominent International websites. Not even sites that primarily covers comic book movie related stuff like CBR and ComicBook.com published an article on this. And these are sites that would even catch wind of and write something like Iron Man had eggs for breakfast. So it struck me as strange that none of these sites wrote a piece about a Malaysian actress going under the knife for a role in a Marvel movie.
So I began to wonder. WHAT IF Raja Ilya, just like Miyyo Rizone, is lying? WHAT IF it’s all just a big publicity stunt. But before I start speculating, let’s look at some facts, shall we?
Who on earth is Raja Ilya?
If you’ve no idea who she is, don’t worry. You’re not alone. After all, she isn’t Siti Nurhaliza nor is she Aaron Aziz. Having said that, Raja Ilya is actually a pretty good actress. She has won quite a number of awards such as Pelakon Pembantu Wanita Terbaik (Drama) – Anugerah Skrin 2015, Pelakon Pembantu Wanita Terbaik (TV) – Anugerah Sri Angkasa 2016 and perhaps her most prominent award being Best Actress Award at the Malaysian Tamil Awards for her work in Afdlin Shauki’s Appalam.
She’s supposed to act alongside Bollywood megastar Kajol??
This news broke back in August 2015, with various prominent Malaysian sites such as CinemaOnline and New Straits Times covering it. Sounds pretty cool, right? Upon closer inspection (and by closer inspection, I mean typing some stuff in the Google search bar while playing Tetris Battle), there are a couple of holes in the story.
For one, ZERO prominent Indian news websites covered this story. Forget prominent. No Indian websites, not even the random gossip ones, not even the ones run by three-year-olds in their kindergarten playground covered this. And just in case the header wasn’t clear enough, Kajol is a Bollywood MEGASTAR. She’s like the Scarlett Johansson and Yuna of Bollywood. If she farts, you can bet news portals are gonna report what it smells like.
Secondly, the local websites quoted Raja Ilya, saying that the film will be directed and produced by T.Anand. The question is, who on earth in T.Anand? I’ve never in my 24 years of watching Bollywood films heard of a T.Anand. But hey, I don’t watch nearly as many Bollywood films as I do Hollywood films, so I decided to do some digging. The problem is, the interwebs doesn’t really know who the f*ck he is either. The closest I could find was one Tinnu Anand, who’s known for his acting more than his directing and producing. So, it COULD be him, though the last movie he directed was waaaaaay back in 2003. But IF it was him, logic dictates that prominent Indian websites would have picked up the news.
Thirdly, and this is the most interesting part, a couple of local sites called this a BOLLYWOOD movie, while others claimed that T.Anand is a MALAYSIAN director without indicating if it’s a Bollywood film or not. Yes, you can be a Malaysian and direct a Bollywood film. But the point is, nobody was clear about anything, especially not Raja Ilya.
Why didn’t any of these sites include links to this mystery director’s IMDb page. Or at the very least, a Wikipedia page? Just SPECULATING here, but what if this T.Anand guy doesn’t exist? Of course, there’s always the argument that one might not be popular enough to pop up on Google. Let’s do a quick test.
Heard of the Malaysian director Bernice Low? She directed a pretty solid independent film titled In Between Floors. Chances are, you haven’t seen it nor heard of her. If you have, then you can sit at the cool kids table with me. Anyway, Google, “Malaysian film director Bernice Low.” Go on… I’ll wait for ya.
Now Google, “Malaysian film director T.Anand.”
I rest my case.
But hey, my mom is convinced I am a complete idiot. And I can’t say I blame her. So, if I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments section below.
Also, you might be wondering, why on earth I wrote a few hundred words on something that has nothing to do with Marvel, nor plastic surgery. It’s just to highlight that whatever she says should be taken with a grain of salt.
So, what’s the deal with Raja Ilya and Marvel?
As mentioned earlier, none of the International websites covered the plastic surgery story that broke recently. BUT when news about her being cast in a Marvel film first broke in FEBRUARY, there were a number of International sites that picked it up such as Cinemablend and Screenrant. However, the international sites that did cover the news all had the same source, Malaysia’s Star2.com.
In an interview with Star2.com, Raja Ilya had this to say:
I can’t get any accurate shooting location for now. I’ve just been informed to fly to Hollywood by the end of the year for role selection and for which Marvel title (I would be involved in). The offer came from someone I know from Indonesia who has already acted in a few Marvel and Disney movies… Now I just have to get prepared for the moment of my life.
Now, wait just a second. She said the offer came from someone she knows in Indonesia who has acted in A FEW Marvel and Disney movies? WHO is that someone? Again, this is another case of Raja Ilya being unclear. The only Indonesian actor that I know of who acted in a Marvel property is Yoshi Sudarso who acted in ONE episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The thing is, Sudarso has been living in the US since he was 9-years-old. Or could she be talking about The Raid‘s Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian who had cameo roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Star Wars is not Marvel but it’s Disney. BUT, she used the word FEW. So, again, let me know in the comments below. Which Indonesian actor acted in a few Marvel and Disney movies.
ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT THING:
There hasn’t been an official confirmation from Disney nor Marvel regarding the casting of Raja Ilya. Forget Kevin Feige and the super duper higher ups. There wasn’t an announcement from Disney Malaysia representatives either. So, The Hyped Geek decided to contact them.
When we contacted Disney Malaysia in February, they apologised and said there haven’t been any official updates/confirmations from Marvel on Raja Ilya’s involvement. And we contacted them again today, and their response was the same.
So, while Raja Ilya is parading around telling people that she’s going to be starring in a Marvel movie, the people who are sitting behind desks at the Marvel office hasn’t confirmed anything yet.
Marvel told her to get plastic surgery??
Okay, before we move on. A quick recap on what we know so far.
- In 2015, she said she’s gonna act with Kajol. But till now, no updates.
- In February, she said she’s gonna act in a Marvel movie. But till now, no official confirmation, no release date, no movie title.
Okay, time to add more drama to this shizz! The big news that broke a few days ago. She said she’s gonna get PLASTIC SURGERY for her role in the mystery Marvel movie. Just to be clear about something, in her interview, she didn’t actually say that Marvel told her to get plastic surgery. Here’s Raja Ilya’s translated quote from Cinema Online taken from Berita Harian Online.
International film companies are hesitant to accept actors from Asia, especially Muslim talents. Even so, for my career and this golden opportunity, I am willing to take a risk. I still hold my religious virtues and they also know that I’m a Muslim. But I said to them, I can give a little leeway. They like my skin tone and want me to keep it as it is. Even though there’s no forcing, I feel that I need to do some changes to myself in order to be seen as on a par with international artistes.
- No major (or minor) International sites picked this plastic surgery news up. Literally ZERO.
- No confirmation from any studio executives or representatives.
Also, let’s think about it for a second. Would it be remotely logical for a major Hollywood studio to ask (or even indirectly indicate) an actor to get plastic surgery? ESPECIALLY the very family friendly, we-support-women-and-diversity-to-the-max company, Disney? Highly unlikely.
I did a quick check on actors going for plastic surgery for a role, and hardly anything significant popped up. In fact, there is this very interesting article by The New York Times that talks about how Hollywood studios prefer actors who didn’t go under the knife. You should definitely check that article out.
So, what does all this say about Raja Ilya’s proclamation?
Well, I won’t call her a liar. Mainly because there aren’t enough facts to prove that she’s lying, but also because my editor advised me against it. But, the facts do indicate that you should take everything with a grain of salt.
Now, it seems like she’s not going for plastic surgery, but something called EMS which will make her look like she’s hitting the gym without actually hitting the gym. According to Berita Harian Online that is.