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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.

Nov 7, 2018

Tony Labrusca Talks About His Experience Working With Iconic Actor Eddie Garcia In 'Ml (Martial Law)' That Is Now Showing Nationwide

TONY LABRUSCA was prematurely eliminated from the boyband search he joined, “Pinoy Boyband Superstar”, but now, he’s more popular and has a better career than any of those five guys who won in the contest. That’s really how the wheels of fate turns in showbiz. It’s not easy to predict who’s gonna make it or not.

Tony is the son of actor-TV host Boom Labrusca and singer Angel Jones who used to be a member of the singing group called Kulay. Boom was only 21 when Tony was born in Houston, Texas. Tony then had a stepdad, Boom Dayupay (his mom is obviously fond of guys named Boom), who put up the Kulay band along with Radha Cuadrado (the granddaughter of the late actress, Lolita Rodriguez.) Boom is Filipino-Canadian and their family moved to Vancouver in Canada where Tony was mainly raised.

Tony then came to Manila to pursue a showbiz career and he was a hit in a fastfood TV commercial. He then got his big break on TV in “La Luna Sangre” as Jake, the third wheel in the KathNiel triangle, for which he won the Star best new male TV personality award last year.

And now, he has made two movies for which he got good reviews plus a new one that is yet to be shown. First is Benedict Mique’s “ML (Martial Law)”, a hit as an entry in the Cinemalaya Filmfest last August, followed by “Double Twisting, Double Back”, which is an entry in the more recent Cinema One Originals Filmfest. Another film (for live streaming release) that he has completed is “Glorious”, a May-December affair directed by Connie Macatuno where he’s paired with Angel Aquino. We ask Tony how is it working with a respected veteran actor like Eddie Garcia?

“It’s a great experience,” he says. “He’s a legend in local showbiz and it’s an honor to get to work with him. The fact that I’m such a new actor still finding his way in this industry, it was so humbling for me. And I have to admit, I was very intimidated at first, but he turned out to be very nice and very helpful to a newcomer like me.”

In the story, he plays Carlo, a student who thinks martial law was good as people had more discipline then. His history teacher then assigns them to interview someone who lived through that era and Carlo goes to interview the retired military office who lives in their village. Is he in for a big surprise! He experiences the brutality of “Martial Law” first hand from the old soldier with dementia who believes it’s still the Martial Law era. Eddie holds him captive in his basement, torments and tortures him and his friends (Renz Villarais and Liane Valentin), thinking that they are all rebels who are fighting the government.

“I now feel so proud that I can tell to other people in the future that I got to work with The Eddie Garcia,” he adds.

He prepared for his role intensely. “Of course, I don’t wanna be an embarrassment, knowing he’s a great award-winning actor, so I really studied the script well, and with the help of Direk Benedict Mique, we evaluated each scene and he guided me all the way to make sure I do things right and we worked though it together. I now love the whole experience of working with an iconic actor like Eddie Garcia and with a very competent director like Benedict Mique . It’s a completely different vibe and I learned so much from the entire experience.”

He’s happy that “ML” is now showing in various theatres. “It was a big hit in Cinemalaya, but now, more people can see it as it’s released in theatres nationwide."