Filipinos in ‘Bourne Legacy:’ Very patient, always punctual


FilAms cast as factory workers. Luis Pedron is second from left in front row wearing yellow shirt. Photo by Troi Santos, who is also among the performers together with his wife Mapet Santos, Victor Palmos and Richard Reyes.

Who coulda known? That just days after he rented the “Bourne Trilogy” on Netflix, Luis Pedron would get a casting call for him to appear in “The Bourne Legacy.” Luis would get to play two roles, that of an airline passenger and a factory supervisor.

“I believe in the Law of Attraction,” said Luis, himself an indie filmmaker and a film festival organizer. “I rented the ‘Bourne Trilogy’ and watched all of them. I was surprised to be on the Bourne set only a few days after that.”

“The Bourne Legacy,” directed by Tony Gilroy, is the fourth in a series of Bourne thrillers written by Eric Van Lustbader. About 40 percent of its scenes were filmed in the Philippines, with a cast of stars that included theater actress Madeleine Nicolas.

In New York where the filming continued, the production would cast more than 50 Filipinos in small roles. Luis recounted to The FilAm how he got a call from Grant Wilfley Casting inviting him to be part of the group of Filipino actors “acting as if we were flying with Jeremy and Rachel Weisz to the Philippines.”

“This was a two-day shoot at JFK at the American Airlines Terminal,” recalled Luis. “Since the scenes were going through TSA and boarding a real American Airlines plane (even though it was still on the ground) we had to go through the American Airlines ticketing counter and get ticketed and pass through TSA every day. We had to present our IDs every day as if we were really boarding an international flight to Manila.” They were not flying, but had to follow strict FAA security regulations.

When he thought that was the end of his several minutes of fame, Luis got a call again from the same casting agency. He was told about a big factory scene that required about 400 people, more than 50 of them Filipinos. In this particular scene inside the New York Times printing plant in Flushing, Queens, Luis – with his stern, bespectacled Filipino-Chinese look — was cast in the role of a factory supervisor.

For the supervisor role, about 15 actors – a mix of Filipino and Chinese performers — were selected.

“But we all looked Filipino. We had a separate fitting day at Kauffman Astoria Studios in Long Island City,” he said.

Since Grant Wilfley knew Luis was active in the Filipino community in New York and that he spoke Tagalog, the agency enlisted his help in calling for more Filipinos in the cast. Luis looked no further than his coterie of close friends.

“I got to recommend fellow Filipinos to be on the set for the big factory scene. I was also assigned to be the official Filipino interpreter on set. Feeling ko UN interpreter ako,” he let out a chuckle.

Luis is no stranger to acting in Hollywood movies. He’s been a Screen Actors Guild member since 1998. The union has merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and is now known as

Sag-Aftra, which continues to negotiate working conditions and wage agreements between its members and production companies.

Among his film credits are speaking lines in the Filipino American film “American Adobo” (directed by Laurice Guillen); Kim Cattrall’s assistant in “Shortcut to Happiness” (directed by Alec Baldwin); Mark Ruffalo’s camera assistant in “13 Going on 30” (directed by Gary

Winick); as Chinese soldier in “Strip Search” (directed by Sidney Lumet); as ensemble prison dancer in Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” (directed by Spike Lee); and in scenes in the soon-to-be- released films: as 12-Step treatment participant in “Thanks for Sharing” (directed by Stuart Blumberg), as English professor in “Admission” (directed Paul Weitz) and as Wall Street broker in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (directed by Martin Scorsese).

“I’m used to being in a Hollywood set,” continued Luis.

Doing “Legacy,” the cast was on set at about 3 a.m. almost every time.

“We went directly to wardrobe to wear our costumes before eating breakfast. It was harmoniously orchestrated by a lot of assistant directors and staff on set. The atmosphere was ‘Hurry up and wait.’ That’s the Hollywood mantra.”

More on his experience: “As professional actors we are trained not to take pics, ask for autographs of the lead actors nor talk to them.

Because they might be concentrating on their roles. Director Tony Gilroy was very hands-on on set. He was very meticulous. It was a Hollywood set, even though it was shot on film, there were lots and lots of takes.”

Luis said it was “truly memorable and a blessing” to be working with his closest friends on set. “I miss cabbing with Troi and Mapet Santos, Victor Palmos, etc. early in the morning and eating with my Filipino people during the wonderfully catered lunch. Galing talaga.”

Pedron said he was paid almost $2,000 for the five-day shoot.

“I am so proud of the Filipinos on set, always punctual and so patient. There were a lot of waiting and a lot of working on set too.

Especially because we had early call times every day and long hours.

Lagi pa rin silang nakatawa and nag-eenjoy,” he said.

Looking back, Luis cracked that maybe he should start watching the James Bond films, hoping to be hired in the same serendipitous way.

“Wow, it will be truly a dream come true.”

“The Bourne Legacy” will be in theaters on August 10.

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  • kris makati

    sequel daw nito niyan yung ‘Children of the Bourne’…

  • TagaMlang

    “Always punctual and so patient.”  Why is it that Filipinos living abroad are punctual and disciplined?  Why can’t Filipinos be punctual and disciplined right here in the Philippines?

    Well, let’s all change that paradigm about “Filipino Time” being always late.  If each and every Filipino will internalize and make an effort to change that paradigm, I think we can.

    From now on, let’s have a new paradigm, i.e., “Filipinos are prompt and punctual” or “Filipino Time is ahead of Time”. 

    • popeyee

      Kasi ugali nating pilipino ay mapag balatkayo and to impress ang mga dayuhan kaya pag kausap natin ay foreigner ganon tayo. Pero pag sa atin na mismo iba na, late sa meeting, sa work, sa school, sa appointment, etc…


        tama ka jan!  kahit sa love life.. especially mga kababaihan.. pag foreigner, kahit wala nang ligaw2x, binubukas agad.. 24 hours pa!

    • CmdrAdobo

      The explanation is simple. It’s a cultural thing. We filipinos are patience and willing to wait. If we are willing to wait, others are slacking and late.  So, it’s not 100% bad.

      In a meeting:
      * Filipinos will wait for everyone
      * Others will start on the dot.

      See the difference?

      In a plane flight:
      * Filipinos wont be late


    yan ang pinoy! kahit extra lang may ipagyayabang!

  • CmdrAdobo

    Why are we pinoy are so full of ourselves, boasting about small things, boasting on how good we are? And yet we are still 3rd world country? I dont understand. Please stop that proud to be pinoy crap.

    • Vero Lee

      haha. totoo

  • akimaxx

    I enjoyed reading your filming experience. In a Hollywood set, extras are professionals. They understand punctuality, to prepare them before the actual shoot (make-up, costumes, memorize lines).

    Wait means to stand-by, ready to be called on the set, fully prepared upon the instructions of the director. Filming is a very expensive procedure, every tick of the clock means money. By hiring professional extras that know what they should be doing means savings for the production. Some big actors started as extras. Thanks for sharing your Bourne Legacy experience, Luis.

  • colliev

    In another Newspaper Magazine Mr. Abunda wrote his disgust about what Mr. Kilroy said about
    Manila, like ugly and stinky. But Mr. Arcilla said something else… that the movie showed the
    bad and the good part of Manila. I agree with Mr. Arcilla. We cannot hide things from the world.
    All countries have  the same things to offer, good and bad. But there are so many other good things that  make the Philippines different from other countries. Let us just be proud of what we have.

    • Vero Lee

      Mr Abunda does not live in San Andres. Hindi lahat ng Pinoy nakatira sa Forbes Park

    • Francesca

      sa totoo lang, if you are a foreigner and you don’t know anything about the phils, after watching the movie, the impression you will get about the phils is that of being a poor country. 
      i don’t remember any good part of manila that was shown, or if ever, very fleeting. what stands out is the slum area… :(

  • Francis81

    Mabuhay po kayo! Malayong malayo sa Abnoy na pekeng presidente na impatient, arrogant, know-it-all, at always late

    • noelry1

       kahit wala sa topic basta isisingit, baka naman pati sa panaginip ay siya parin ang ini-isip. baka love na yan.

  • GMMTC11

    Katatapos ko lang napapanood, napakagandang pagkagawang pelikula. The Philippine scenes wala akong maicomment na masama.

  • Diepor

    Why wouldnt they be punctual ? Its like if you are a Filipino an show up in time people are surprised.

  • KpTUL

    Yes indeed Filipinos are very punctual ! Caveat: Kelangan magkaroon ng bourne legacy shooting para maging punctual . Seriously ? Wala na ba tayong ibang ma-ireport dyan outlining ang kagalingan ng Pinoy. Mahilig talaga tayong mag-praise sa sarili natin.  If we are really that good then why are we poor ? Wala ka na bang ibang masulat Elton Lugay ? Pauli-ulit na ‘tong issue sa borne legacy, maghanap ka nman ng bago !

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