Cesar Montano optimistic that action films can bounce back
CESAR Montano, who’s headlining his first Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry since 2006, said he’s thrilled to be back at the annual event, doing the kind of film that “holds a special place in his heart”: action.
“I’ve missed the adrenaline rush that comes with it. I felt giddy while filming, as if I were transported back to my early years in the biz,” he told the Inquirer at the advanced screening of Pedring Lopez’s “Nilalang” at SM Megamall last Sunday.
Previous editions of the MMFF saw the likes of Robin Padilla and Jeorge Estregan trying to reinvigorate the once wildly popular genre in local cinema. Cesar wants to build on his colleagues’ efforts with “Nilalang,” which he hopes will help spark interest in action movies again among the moviegoers.
“I’m optimistic that the genre can bounce back—it’s just a matter of giving the audience quality work,” pointed out Cesar, who previously top-billed “Ligalig,” which won for him the MMFF best actor award. “Filipinos still watch foreign action flicks if they’re good. Moviegoers are more discerning now.”
In “Nilalang,” Cesar plays Tony Cuevas, an NBI officer tasked to investigate a series of killings and rape cases in the metro. In his hunt for the perpetrators, Tony seeks the help of Miyuki (Maria Ozawa), daughter of an elder Yakuza member.
“She’s very professional and easy to work with. She doesn’t complain, even when she gets hurt doing the action scenes,” Cesar said of Maria, a former adult video idol in Japan. Described as “handsome” by Maria, the 53-year-old actor said he thought he and his Japanese costar had good chemistry together.
Meanwhile, asked if he minds being the replacement of Robin Padilla, who withdrew from the project in August to take care of her then-pregnant wife, Mariel Rodriguez, Cesar said it wasn’t an issue to him. “It doesn’t matter if I were the 100th choice. At the end of the day, I was the one who acted in the movie,” Cesar said.
Robin, on the other hand, has nothing but kind words for him, Cesar related: “He texted me, saying that he was glad I accepted the role. We’ve known each other for a long time. It was touching!”
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