A very fine Art, indeed
This year’s Cinemalaya best supporting actor doesn’t judge the characters he playsBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Award-winning actor Art Acuña follows a simple method when preparing for a movie, TV or stage role.
“I try to understand the motivation of every character I play, what makes him tick. I venture into his psychology; I don’t judge him. There’s good and bad, light and dark, in every person,” he told the Inquirer.
He portrays Inspector Domingo, a crooked cop, in Lawrence Fajardo’s “Posas,” which won him his second best supporting actor award (Directors’ Showcase section) from the annual Cinemalaya festival. He won the same honor in last year’s “Niño” (New Breed section).
Acuña said of his character in “Posas”: “It made me wonder: If I were given a badge, how would I wield power? Am I sure I won’t end up like Domingo?”
He was happy he won, but said he was more elated about the best picture award that went to “Posas.” He explained: “It’s the most coveted trophy. It means the ensemble cast was tight; the production team, flawless. Direk Law, as composer and conductor of the ‘band,’ is a genius.”
Acuña described the film’s shoot in Quiapo as a collaborative process: “Law is a rock ’n’ roll director. Since he’s a film editor by training, he already edits in his mind while shooting. But he was very open to suggestions.”
The actor had vowed he would work with the filmmaker after catching Fajardo’s “Amok” in last year’s Cinemalaya. “I was totally floored by that film,” he said.
Speaking of “Amok,” Acuña was likewise awed by veteran character actor
Dido de la Paz’s work in that indie drama, so much so that he wanted to give his Urian best supporting actor trophy to him.
“I sincerely meant it when I said I was sharing the honor with him,” Acuña recalled. “Dido’s performance was a perfect mixture of raw physicality and subtle nuances. He was scary and charming at the same time.”
An art form
Acuña firmly believes that acting, as an art form, shouldn’t be judged and ranked “gold, silver and bronze. Acting is not
like [a sports competition like] track and field. All of us nominees are winners in my book.”
This year in the indie fest, he also had a cameo in Loy Arcenas’ “REquieme!” which won special jury prize and best screenplay in the New Breed section.
Though it was a small part (as a radio commentator), Acuña didn’t think twice about collaborating with the same director behind “Niño,” for which he won three best supporting actor trophies (from the Urian, Golden Screen and Cinemalaya) last year.
“Since I had worked with Loy in plays, I already understood his work style,” he said of Arcenas. “As early as a decade ago, I told him that he should direct films. As a set and production designer, he has a fine eye for detail.”
Acuña delivers the same intensity whether it’s a small or big role, onstage or onscreen, in an indie or mainstream project.
“I’ve always had the same attitude: If I fall in love with the story, I’ll do it without question,” he said.
He won’t even discuss his talent fee. “I know it’s not practical, but I’ve done plays for free.”
He was last seen onstage at RCBC Plaza in Atlantis Productions’ “God of Carnage,” which will have a run in Singapore in November.
“I passed on a play with Duncan Sheik in New York so I could do ‘Carnage,’” Acuña said. But he didn’t regret that decision for one moment. “It’s a great cast and crew. We played around onstage every night.”
Next in line for the actor is the indie period film “Lam-Ang,” to be directed by Ana Agabin.
“I play the nemesis of Lam-Ang (Rocco Nacino),” Acuña said. “For this movie, I trained in martial arts. I now know arnis, spear and dagger fighting. We’ll incorporate these skills in the fight scenes.”
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