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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 13, 2017

Acclaimed Actors Arnold Reyes And John Arcilla Get To Work Together For The First Time In The Award-Winning 'Birdshot' To Be Shown Starting August 16

ARNOLD REYES and John Arcilla are both acclaimed actors who started their careers in theater. They now get to work for the first time with each other in Mikhail Red’s award-winning mystery-thriller, “Birdshot”. They play provincial cops who are tasked to investigate the killing of the endangered Philippine eagle in a forest reserve.

They later end up discovering a terrible crime about some missing farmers who are on their way to Manila to air their complaints. Their chief (Dido de la Paz, doc of “Respeto”) tells them to forget about the farmers as the case of the dead bird is more important. John as Mendoza is a jaded and cynical law enforcer but Arnold as Domingo, being the neophyte cop who also just moved into the area with his young wife (Elora Espano), is more idealistic.

“Challenging yung role ko as he is in a dilemma,” says Arnold, who has earlier gained acclaim in films like “Graceland” and “Tag-araw ni Twinkle”. “You’d wonder if he would stay clean and fight for truth and justice, or will he eventually be swallowed by the system of corruption around them.”

How was it working with John Arcilla? “Siempre, kinakabahan ako kasi even then, he’s such a big name in theatre. Tapos, naging ‘Heneral Luna’ pa siya. When I heard about him, I wanted to quit. When I ventured into musical theatre, I was asked to play Crisostomo Ibarra in ‘Noli Me Tangere’. Nauna siyang gampanan ang role na yun and when I when heard the recording of his songs as Ibarra, I was intimidated sa galing niya. But when we got to work na in ‘Birdshot’, it turned out he is a very generous actor. First day pa lang ng shooting namin on location in Isabela, I already learned a lot from him. We shot ‘Birdshot’ there for 23 days and ang mga kuwentuhan namin, nakatulong talaga para mas mapagbuti namin ang trabaho namin.”

Both Arnold and John agree that they do prestige films like “Birdshot” to enhance their craft as actors, but when it comes to having a steady income, they both turn to television. Arnold is now a mainstay in the hit late afternoon soap of Maja Salvador, “Wildflower”. John just worked with GMA-7 as Hagorn in “Encantadia” and right after that, he moved to ABS-CBN to play a crooked general in “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano”.

John said he first met Mikhail Red, their 25-year old “Birdshot” director when Mikhail was just a 9-year old boy. “Noon pa lang, sinabi na niya sa’kin, kapag nagdirek na ako ng movie, kukunin kita ha,” says John. “Kaya nang ialok niya sa’kin itong ‘Birdshot’, hindi na ako nakatanggi. Maganda rin yung role ko, hindi talagang kontrabida, kundi meron din siyang flaw in his character. I hope the viewers will not treat it as an indie film na mahirap intindihin kasi very accessible siya. The story is very involving and it’s for the whole family. Kaya lang, we got only 60 theaters while the other entries in Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino got more than 100 theaters. It depends daw kasi sa recommendations ng bookers. So sana, if you’d watch us, manood na kayo in the first three days para hindi kami maalis sa mga sinehan. The movie got wide acclaim in various cities and filmfests abroad. So sana, ma-appreciate naman siya dito sa ating sariling bansa.”