A word from that ‘amazing’ Filipino actor in ‘Bourne Legacy’


JOHN Arcilla, second from left, with his Hollywood “fans,” Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Renner and Tony Gilroy.

Stage and movie thespian John Arcilla couldn’t contain his excitement when he learned that Hollywood director Tony Gilroy had praised him and other local actors cast in the action thriller, “The Bourne Legacy.”

Arcilla told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he received good feedback from Gilroy right on the set when the movie was shot in the country early this year.

After shooting one scene for eight hours, Arcilla said, Gilroy told him, “You’re amazing.”

Arcilla, who played the head security guard in a laboratory, recalled that they had been shooting the same scene repeatedly. “[Gilroy] took long shots, medium shots and closeups, from different angles.”


Gilroy praised Arcilla for keeping his portrayal fresh and interesting. “He was pleased that I never got bored and delivered the same intense performance in all those takes. He said that he was impressed by the professionalism of Filipino actors.”

JOHN ARCILLA ON THE SET His “small but significant” part was shot for eight hours.

Arcilla said he didn’t have the heart to explain that most of the bit players that the “Bourne” team had hired were theater-trained thespians. “I didn’t want to sound immodest. But that was our training in theater. Since we do a show several times for weeks, we have to keep our performances new and exciting every time.”

The other theater-trained Filipino actors who bagged small roles in the Hollywood film are Lou Veloso, Madeleine Nicolas, Ermie Concepcion, Archie Adamos, Ruby Ruiz, Anne Garcia, Bong Cabrera, Ruth Alferez, Andre Tiangco, Kathlyn Castillo and Joel Torre.

It also helped, Arcilla said, that Filipino actors were not as inhibited as foreigners. “We are very connected with our emotions.”

Like most Filipinos, he was thrilled to see the “Bourne” trailer in local cinemas. But he hasn’t decided whether or not he’d watch the film in a movie house when it opens on August 8.

Bigger star

“I’m nervous. I don’t want to disappoint people who may expect too much,” he explained. “They may think we have big roles in the movie. My role is small, though significant.”

Everywhere he goes in the country, he said, he is greeted, “You’re the ‘Bourne’ actor!” It’s embarrassing, he said. “We are not the lead stars in this movie.” Actually, he pointed out, the bigger star of “Bourne” is the country.

Arcilla explained: “It will be interesting to see how a foreign filmmaker has captured Manila onscreen,” he said. “We may get to see the country in a different light.”

It was not Arcilla’s first time to impress a Western director, truth to tell.


He received plaudits from Oscar-nominated British filmmaker Sean Ellis, who shot the film “Metro Manila” also this year with a cast of Filipinos, including Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega and Leon Miguel.

“Sean used to be a photographer; he knew what he wanted, how to frame each scene,” Arcilla said, surmising that Ellis truly enjoyed the country because “he named his firstborn child Manila. The experience must have been really special to Sean.”

“Metro Manila” is being primed for a major international film festival, said the actor. “Sean told me that we got a top distributor in France as well.”

Arcilla hopes that “Bourne,” “Metro Manila” and other international productions shot in the country will lead to more projects and meatier parts for local actors.

“I’m very proud of our countrymen,” he said. “Maybe in the future we will land bigger roles. Even if we’re just the villain’s assistant… that would be great. We have what it takes to cross over.”


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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Come on inquirer. Please do not make a big deal about this. The role Jon Arcilla portrayed will be given 5-10 second exposure on the film, if ever his scene will not be chopped off the editing room, with minimal to zero dialogue. I doubt any good actor can show his acting wares to the international film market with that so minimal exposure.
    I also doubt if the whole US film industry will come crashing at our gates just because Bourne was partly shot in our country. The producers chosed the Philippines because they needed a 3rd world country to shoot on. With shooting done in depressed areas in Manila eg.San Andres, Paco and the film showcasing our horrible traffic problem in Edsa, I dont think the film is just the right vehicle to jump start our tourism drive in the states.

    • Marlou Wang

       na-EXPOSE tuloy ang manilang kayganda (noong pre-war)!

  • AFPako

    Hala , mag praise na kayo sa mga sekyu, the silent heroes of our day . They prevent crimes all day long .  Marami din nagkunsabo sa mga shoplifters and organized crimes.
    Ang sarap ng writer na articke nito, praise ng praise daw. Estilo kayumanggi !!

  • Marlou Wang

    Ano kaya ang parte ni John A. dito? gaano katagal ang parte niya? Baka naman ang part niya ay sinabi niya ng ganito “Sir, may gustong kumausap sa inyo, manager daw siya ng FBI”, siempre sikyu siya di informer lang ang labas niya.

    • indiosbravos2002

      Yong mga role na pinapakain sa buwaya o sang tadyak lang ng bida tanggal na sa eksena at di na babalikan ng kamera.

    • indiosbravos2002

      Bwahaha. Tagalog pa pala dialogue. Tapos wala pang subtitle. Paktay na.

    • Denzel Boksingero

      Napanood nyo na movie? Grabe manlait itong mga ito. Napa nega ninyo. para kayong si mega (Star) . hehehe. 

  • Babinski Michaelangelo Tero


  • Babinski Michaelangelo Tero


  • pilipino_ako6

    For once, can we stop putting our own people down? Our local actors are very talented. Watch their performances so we don’t have to wait for foreign filmmakers to praise their work.

  • CmdrAdobo

    Not a big deal. Not worth reading. How can you be amazing if you have few seconds exposure in the movie?

    Amazing internation actors are Cesar Montano, Donita, and Bembol Rocco who have significant roles in international films.

    • ero

      ikaw adobo kakainin kita hahahah kahit cguro mili seconds wala ka wag kang ganyan

  • carlos1968

    Hay naku, ang pinoy, kung bolahin, naniniwala kaagad. But, of course, there’s no denying we got top rated talents.
    Pero, sikyu lang, “big fuss” na?!?
    Let’s give a big deal to the really significant big roles. 

    • Abraham

      Hay naku, ang pinoy, talangka talaga. Something positive gagawin pang negative. Manahimik na lang kung walang masabing maganda.

    • ero

      wag ganyan

  • Rolando T. Inocencio

    Sa mga utak-talangka, nilinaw naman ni Arcilla na maliit lang ang papel niya/nila.  May taga-ulat, si San Diego at iba pa pihado,  na interesado sa sanaysay nila kaya sila nagkukwento.  At ngayon, binabasa natin ang kwento nila, matuwa ka man o hindi…

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