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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.

Dec 22, 2021



JOHN ARCILLA is one actor who most showbiz pundits predict will fill in the shoes vacated by the late Eddie Garcia as a performer who’s accepted by the viewing public in both bida and kontrabida roles. 

He can play to the gallery but you don’t mind as he does it with so mych style He just won the Venice International Filmfest best actor award for his lead role of Sisoy in “On The Job: The Missing 8”. 

Last year, he had an entry in the Metro-Manila FIlmfest, “Fr. Suarez: the Healing Priest”, for which he was nominated as best actor. In this year’s festival, he has not just one but two entries: “Big Night” and “A Hard Day”. 

We’ve seen both films and he is superb in both of them, so we won’t be surprised if he’d get best supporting actor nominations for both his performances.  

In “Big Night”, he has only one lengthy scene as Donato Rapido, a former action star who is now a barangay captain. 

Lead actor Christian Bables visits him in his office to ask him to remove Christian’s name from the Watch List of drug addicts and pushers made by Donato’s barangay. Christian comes with his lover, Nico Antonio, who turns out to be a diehard fan of Donato Rapido. 

To impress his admirer, John as Donato relives his glory days as a gun slinging action hero with Nico. 

It’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie and it worked because John carried it so well and it’s obvious he’s having a blast doing it.  

Later on, it turns out he is actually a ruthless drug lord who’s out to recruit Christian to work for his syndicate.  

In “A Hard Day”, he appears in the middle of the film and the very moment he appears, the screen springs to life. 

His first face-to-face scene with Dingdong where he suddenly slaps him several times, pretending he didn’t know Dingdong is a cop, is done with so much aplomb and the impact is so great. 

Dingdong is visibly stunned, obviously because the role calls for it, but also because of John’s brilliance as an actor. 

He gets to beat up Dingdong several times and, although you know he can’t maul Dingdong that easily in real life, here, he does it so persuasively. 

In their final showdown scene, they wrecked the entire condo unit where Dingdong lives while fighting with each other. 

It’s violent, it’s very long, and very convincingly staged and it proves John is a powerful, formidable actor. 

Is he expecting to win an award come filmfest awards night? 

“Every actor who’s part of the filmfest has a chance to be nominated and win,” he says. “But for me, I’m just happy that both my films made it as official entries. Blessing na yun. 

"My prayer now is for viewers to actually go to the theaters and support our films para makatulong na makabangon uli ang ating film industry that really suffered during the pandemic.” 

So how is it working with Dingdong? 

“He’s definitely not just a matinee idol or a screen heartthrob. He’s a serious actor who values his craft, an artist who dissects his role and the scenes we do to make sure he’ll be effective in them. 

"You can’t just take him for granted because you can feel his dedication to his profession. He throws himself in every scene and you have to be ready. 

"Even in our fight scenes and stunts, we tried to do them ourselves and seldom resort to doubles. I had a great time doing ‘A Hard Day’ with him.”