Accidental actor goes international
Lance Raymundo stars in US film, after stumbling on the audition by chanceBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“The fun part about my journey as an actor is that I somehow land good roles by accident,” said Lance Raymundo.
In early 2008, filmmaker Elwood Perez saw Raymundo crying at the wake of manager Angie Magbanua and cast him in the indie film “Fidel,” which was eventually directed by Raymundo’s present manager, Mark Shandii Bacolod.
Later that year, Raymundo got a wrong call and was sent to a TV cattle call for extras. Quite serendipitously, he bagged instead the role of a villain in the ABS-CBN soap opera “Pieta.”
In 2010, he made an unplanned visit to former manager Ricky Gallardo’s office, where he met filmmaker Mario O’Hara—who then cast him as Emilio Aguinaldo in “Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio.”
Recently, he learned via e-mail of a go-see for an international film and tried his luck. Once again, he scored a meaty role, this one in US filmmaker Nathan Adolfson’s “The Thief, the Kid and the Killer,” filming in Metro Manila until this week.
In the drama-thriller, he plays an assassin straight from GQ magazine. “The director envisions my character as a killer who is so cool and calm … that he doesn’t even sweat.”
That’s a pretty tall order, considering that, in one chase scene for instance, he had to sprint across a park at the height of summer. “Every time he saw a drop of sweat on my costume, the director would ask me to change,” Raymundo related. “The staff brings several copies of my costume to the set. The makeup artist keeps retouching my makeup.”
An electric fan is always within reach as well.
It’s a different way of working, he observed. “We sometimes shoot a three-minute scene for one whole day. Someone jested that we would remember our lines until the next lifetime.”
It’s not his first time in an international production, though.
He starred in an episode of the TV show “Incredible Tales” for the Singaporean company MediaCorp in 2008. A year later, he played Boni Serrano in the Korean War film “The Forgotten War.”
He looks forward to international projects that allow him to push himself as an actor. “I’ve learned to combine what I already know with new tricks I pick up from foreigners.”
Although it’s a US production, the cast of “thief” features an all-Filipino cast, led by Epy Quizon, Felix Roco, Joy Viado and child actor Arvy Viduya. “It’s an experiment for the director.”
The producers plan to enter the film in top international festivals.
Raymundo hopes this opens doors for Filipino actors abroad. “The director has had this opportunity to work in Asia and was impressed with Filipinos who, he believes, can penetrate Hollywood.”
Cross-cultural exchanges in cinema are always healthy, he noted. “I now know how to adjust without sacrificing the qualities that make us original and proud artists.” The learning is mutually beneficial. “We learn from foreigners, but they also discover so many things about the way we work.”
The foreigners he worked with, he said, were astonished by the stamina of local actors: “On ‘Thief,’ we never shoot beyond 10 p.m. They were surprised when they heard that we could shoot from morning to morning.”
The secret of local actors, he told the Americans, is “power naps.” “I explained that Filipino actors don’t just do movies. We also appear in TV shows, plays and commercials at the same time. We’re always multitasking.”
Raymundo, who studied Biology in UP Manila, considers himself more of a singer than an actor. (He’s working on a new CD.)
In his four years as an “indie” actor, he acknowledged that he’s been “very lucky. I won plum parts by chance. Perhaps I’d get more projects if I really focused and planned.”
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