Seems his vacation from mainstream show business did him well.
Fresh from the six-month break, during which he supposedly threshed out some personal issues, actor Sid Lucero bounced back with not just one, but two entries in the Un Certain Regard section of the 66th Cannes International Film Festival to be held in France next month (May 15 to 27).
Lucero, however, was the first to downplay this stellar achievement.
“It’s not really about me,” he told the Inquirer. “The attention should be on the two directors. I was just lucky to be part of those two films.”
He is referring to Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (Norte, The End of History)” and Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Death March”—which will compete for top prizes along with 12 other films from all over the world in Cannes.
It was not his first time to collaborate with the two indie directors.
He considers Alix as his mentor and godfather in the biz. “We started in the movies at the same time.”
He was introduced in Alix’s directorial debut, the Cinemalaya entry “Donsol,” in 2006.
“Adolf knows me well. He can detect the bad habits I’ve picked up while acting in teleseryes and he will not hesitate to correct me,” Lucero related. “It’s easy to become mechanical, but Adolf constantly pushes me to step out of the box.”
Also in 2006, he acted in Diaz’s nine-hour epic “Heremias.”
“I like working with Lav,” he related. “I’m familiar with the long takes. He writes scenes the way actors create a character. Plus, he gives us total freedom on the set.”
He was on the set of “Norte,” in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, for two weeks.
Being immersed in the local scenery undoubtedly helped him get into character swiftly, he said. “Also, my fellow actors in the movie were very talented. Most of the time, I felt as if I had to catch up with them.”
Lucero’s “Norte” costar, Angeli Bayani, also has two films in Cannes. Bayani is in the cast of Singaporean Anthony Chen’s debut film “Iloilo,” which will also have its world premiere at the Directors’ Fortnight of Cannes.
While he was exposed to all sorts of stimuli and was encouraged to excel by costars in “Norte,” the working conditions on the set of “Death March” were the complete opposite.
Shot in a studio, “Death March” required him to be on his own in most scenes, Lucero explained.
As a journey, “Death March” was more internal and solitary, he pointed out.
“Working in a studio has its pros and cons. It allowed us to work faster because the conditions were more controlled in a studio. But it’s also more challenging for actors. We had to rely more on our imagination since we were not in a real location,” he clarified.
It was not the first time for him to shoot an entire movie in a studio. Lucero was in the cast of Raya Martin’s “Independencia,” which was filmed in a studio and also competed in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes in 2009.
He hopes to secure a leave from his TV work (GMA 7’s “Love and Lies”) and join Alix and Diaz in Cannes next month.
Last time he attended Cannes was in 2009 for “Independencia.”
“I make sure to watch the other films… festivals allow me to learn the latest trends in filmmaking and meet the best directors in the world. In 2009, I saw Quentin Tarantino in Cannes.”
Having two Filipino films in the Un Certain Regard section, he said, was the perfect opportunity to show the world different kinds of Filipino stories.
“One film (“Norte”) tackles political issues, the other (“Death March”) a historical incident. Film is a story of life. Our films will show foreigners where we’re at right now, how we got there and why we are there in the first place,” he said.
photos courtesy of wacky O Productions