Raja Ilya goes to Hollywood: Malaysian actress talks Marvel role

Elizabeth Tong
Entertainment Reporter
Malaysian actress Raja Ilya (Photo: Raja Ilya)

Malaysian actress Raja Ilya has been in the spotlight since the start of 2017 after it was revealed that she will be joining the Marvel universe for an as-yet-unknown role.

The 32-year-old confirmed with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore on Thursday (30 November) that she has not been given a standalone character and will be heading to the United States for filming in February 2018.

Raja Ilya was in Singapore to sign a Memorandum of Understanding related to a new movie she has produced, entitled “Rafira”.

The signing was part of the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, held at Marina Bay Sands on 30 November.

(L-R) Abhi Rastogi, CEO, 108 Media; Malaysian actress Raja Ilya; Jeremy Sim, Group Managing Partner & Head, Special Projects, Aurora Media Holdings signed a partnership to co-produce upcoming action romance comedy feature film, Rafira (Photo: Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association)

“I’m trying to prevent people from putting too much hope in terms of, like, I’m going to get a super lead like some ‘Wonder Woman’ character, a standalone character movie kind of thing,” she said.

This won’t be her first time visiting the US, as the former Malaysia Airlines stewardess has travelled to the country many times. Marvel Studios is set to release their first female superhero film, “Captain Marvel” in March 2019, with Brie Larson playing the titular character.

And according to “Thor: Ragnarok” star Tessa Thompson, she claims to have pitched for an all-female superhero team-up film to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Raja Ilya herself is a Marvel fan and had gushed over recent movie “Thor: Ragnarok” and Chris Hemsworth. 

“Everyone who knows me knows that I like the character of Thor. Why do I like Thor? Other than being very good-looking… I really liked the character’s transformation in the recent ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ film. I also liked the whole story involving family bonds, siblings with different fathers, hate and revenge, that kind of thing. It’s very dramatic, very Bollywood,” said Raja.

While she remains tight-lipped about the preparations for her upcoming Marvel role, she seems positive about starting a new chapter in Hollywood in her 30s. 

“Not only in this industry, but in any other sector as well, a lot of people give up before they try something. Women especially – they give up in terms of age when they think they are heading into their late 30s. They think that they have to settle down, leave their jobs, get married and have a family,” she said.

“What I would say to the younger generation is something that is clichéd but it’s true: Never give up, keep striving for your goal, don’t let anyone put you down, and don’t let yourself down. It’s important to always think positively and keep moving forward.”

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