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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 27, 2015

John Arcilla Proud To Be Play The Title Role Of The Most Enigmatic General In Local History, 'Heneral Luna'

AT 49, JOHN Arcilla gets his crack at stardom playing the title role in the historical epic, “Heneral Luna”, which got praised when it premiered at the recent Asian American Filmfest in New York City. John grew up in Baler, Aurora and came to Manila after finishing high school. He started acting in theatre at PETA and was a masscom scholar at St. Joseph’s College where he finished college. He then became an Actors’ Workshop Foundation scholar in 1987 then moved to Tanghalang Pilipino of the CCP where he did several plays in 1990-97.

In the movies, he got first noticed for Gil Portes’ “Mulanay” where he won a Metro-Manila Filmfest best supporting actor award in 1996. He also won an Urian best supporting actor award for “Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin” in 1998. He last won an award in the 2010 Cinemalaya Awards as best actor for the indie film, “Halaw”. He was even nominated as best supporting actor in the British Independent Film Awards in 2013 for the movie “Metro-Manila”. He also played a role in the Hollywood movie “The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner filmed in Manila in 2012.

On TV, he has done soaps for the top two networks, like “Genesis” and “Machete” on GMA-7 and “Apoy sa Dagat” and “OMG” for ABS. He’s also a regular in their drama shows, “Magpakailanman” and “MMK”. He’s now very proud to have been chosen by Director Jerrold Tarog to play the role of Gen. Antonio Luna in the sprawling filmfio.

“He’s a very misunderstood hero because he has a temper, which I think is his tragic flaw,” he says. “Pero yung pagiging madali niyang magalit, kailangan kasi he has to train the soldiers under him and the needs of the revolutionary war then was immediate. Playing him on screen is a learning experience for me. Siya talaga ang nagsabing ang mga Amerikano, nagpunta rito hindi bilang kaibigan kundi para lupigin tayo. He wants our country to be completely independent from Spain or America. The film is meant to be an eye-opener as it says tayong mga Filipino mismo ang responsible on how our country is run. Pag-isipan natin bilang isang Filipino na kung anuman may gobierno meron tayo ngayon, tayo rin ang may gawa noon. Magbabago lang ang ating bansa kung tayo bilang mga mamamayan ng bansang ito, matututong pumili ng mga tamang mamumuno sa atin.”

How’s Jerrold as director? “He’s young, organized and very good. He’s so cool on the set. Hindi sumisigaw. Mahirap gawin itong movie kasi malalaki ang eksena, with big battle scenes and cast of thousands. He knows how to get what he wants from his actors in doing a scene. I’d really like to work with him again. Nakagawa na ako ng historical movie before, ‘El Presidente’, where I play Gen. Mariano Trias, pero ibang klase itong ‘Heneral Luna’.”

Supporting him in “Heneral Luna” are Mylene Dizon as his love interest, Joem Bascon, Archie Alemania, Joem Basco, Alex Medina, Art Acuna, Mon Confiado, Epy Quizon, Bing Pimentel, Alvin Anson, Nonie Buencamino, Leo and Loren Martinez, Ketchup Eusebio and Paulo Avelino in a special role as Gen. Gregorio del Pilar. The movie opens in theaters nationwide on September 9.