‘Manila merited Bourne premiere’By Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Manila audiences were treated to an advance screening of the fourth installment of the “Bourne” film series—the first time that a premiere of the spy thriller was held in one of the cities it was filmed in since it was initially produced 12 years ago.
“That’s because you deserved it,” American producer Pat Crowley told the movie audience during the special screening of Tony Gilroy’s “The Bourne Legacy” at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila on Sunday night.
The screening began at 6:45 p.m. The audience in the 1,500-seat auditorium all applauded the first time they heard Weisz’s character mention “Manila.”
More applause was heard when the words “Manila, the Philippines” flashed on the screen, as well as when the audience first caught a glimpse of the breathtaking islands of El Nido.
Newest thrill ride
Crowley said in his welcome speech that Manila would now be in the same league as cities like Moscow, Paris, Prague, London, New York, Madrid, Tangiers and Berlin because it has become the “newest thrill ride in the billion-dollar ‘Bourne’ roller coaster.”
“Millions and millions of fans worldwide will be rocketed through San Andres, race through the Pasay Metro rail station, careen down Magsaysay Boulevard and stop very quickly at the end of the ride at the Navotas fish port,” Crowley said of the film’s 20-minute nerve-wrecking chase scene.
Crowley said his team hired hundreds of local technicians, drivers, assistants, “many of whom were brand new to the movie business, but some with resumés that stretched back to ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979).”
“When we started interviewing local actors, we found some great ones,” said Crowley. Among them were John Arcilla, Madlen Nicolas, Lou Veloso, Joel Torre, Ruby Ruiz and Anne Garcia, who all played “minor yet vital” parts in the movie. “We also rented a parking lot and trained a core group of drivers to keep a straight line and not to flinch as Hollywood stuntmen and motorcycles raced past them with inches to spare.”
Crowley also told of the renovation of the roofs of some 50 houses in San Andres, Manila, “for a spectacular rooftop chase.” He said his team likewise “spent hundreds of hours working with local officials to plan traffic diversions, special parking and controls so we could make this possible and safe at the same time.”
“Bourne Legacy” features a new protagonist, Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner, Academy-Award nominee for “The Hurt Locker”), who like Bourne, is a covert agent trained to become an assassin. Also in the movie are Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton.
“The good news is all those efforts really worked,” Crowley said. “The movie you are about to see is being talked about as better than the first three, and the Manila chase as one of the best chases ever.”
Crowley, who also produced Hollywood hits like “The Legends of the Fall,” “Robocop,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” stressed the successful filming of his latest project would not have been possible “without the support of the Filipino people—from the store owners in San Andres to the highest government officials.”
Thank you, Manila
Crowley, who attended the event with his wife Cathleen, then introduced a video featuring Renner, Norton and Weisz, as well as director Gilroy, who were all in New York to promote the screenings there.
“We hope you will enjoy the film that you helped us make. Thank you, Manila,” Gilroy said.
Lope “Jun” Juban Jr. of Philippine Film Studios Inc. (PFSI), the movie’s local producer, said he first received an e-mail from Crowley in November 2010, asking him to assist in the filming of the fourth “Bourne” installment. Filming in Manila began on Jan. 11 this year and lasted eight weeks.
Juban saw this as a chance “not just to show off Manila but our other islands as well.” He said the original plan was for the movie to feature Manila Bay and not El Nido.
The PFSI has been coproducing Hollywood films since the 1970s, among them, “Year of Living Dangerously,” starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver (1982); “Platoon,” with Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe (1986); and “Born on the 4th of July,” with Tom Cruise (1989). It has also been bringing various franchises of the reality show “Survivor” to the Philippines since 2007.
Wilson Tieng, chair and chief executive officer of Solar Entertainment Corp., the film’s local distributor, pointed out that “the Philippines may be a major backdrop of the film, but much of the excitement of the Filipinos comes from seeing their home in the big screen. In a way, ‘The Bourne Legacy’ is the outcome of our warm, welcoming attitude as a nation.”
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