Eddie Garcia on ‘ML,’ his 3rd Cinemalaya starring film
In 2005, during the birth of the Cinemalaya Film Festival, there was already an Eddie Garcia starrer among its pioneer lineup of finalists – “ICU Bed No. 7” by Rica Arevalo.
Seven years later in 2012, the award-winning actor (and director) again top-billed an unforgettable Cinemalaya film, “Bwakaw” by Jun Robles Lana.
In both films, the “great” Eddie Garcia grabbed the much-coveted Cinemalaya Best Actor awards.
This year (2018), six years later, the seasoned thespian returns to the popular independent film festival. His third Cinemalaya film is “ML” (short for “Martial Law”), written and directed by Benedict Mique.
The film also top-bills new Kapamilya actor Tony Labrusca, with fellow newcomers Lianne Valentin and Henz Villaraiz.
Now on its 14th year, CINEMALAYA 2018 is slated on August 3-12 in CCP Theaters and select Ayala Cinemas (Trinoma, Glorietta, Greenbelt 1, UP Town Center, and Legazpi Cinema in Bicol).
What is his role in “ML”?
“I play a retired Metrocom Colonel with a slight dementia, that’s why I believe that currently, it’s still the era of Martial Law. So, I thought, the kids were activists,” he said at the press conference for the movie, Monday.
Does he believe that the concept of Martial Law still caters the millennials?
“I believe that the film has an intriguing concept and it’s good to be shown to today’s generation. Dapat talaga itong mapanood ng mga kabataan ngayon,” he added.
(…It really has to be seen by the young ones today)
“I think the film is very timely too, so it will be good if it will be seen by the youth of today. Magugustuhan nila ito, lalo na ang mga taong hindi pa buhay nu’ng panahon ng Martial Law. Para makita nila kung ano ang nangyari,” he said.
(They will like this, especially those who have not been born yet during the time of the Martial Law. So that they will see what happened.)
In a legendary status like him, how was it working with these newbies?
“Well, they were good. Everyone was disciplined. To break the ice on the set, we chat in between takes and everything went fine.”
In his own opinion, does the Philippines need Martial Law?
“Well, kung ang mga tao ay wala nang disiplina, kailangan. Dapat, may latigo! Parang ‘yung role ko dito sa pelikulang ito, ako ang magdi-disiplina. Well, it’s just a role.”
(Well, if the people have no discipline, it’s a must. There has to be a whip. Just like my role in this movie, I am the disciplinarian. Well, it’s just a role)
Looking back, how was his personal experience during the Martial Law days?
“Kapag hindi ka makikialam, walang mangyayari sa ‘yo. Kapag nakialam ka, may mangyayari sa ‘yo.”
(If you don’t meddle, nothing will happen to you. If you do, something will definitely happen to you)
At his age of 89, what makes him doing films until now, especially that it’s his third in Cinemalaya?
“Well, whatever is offered to me, I accept it. It’s just a job. Ako kasi, kahit na anong i-offer, tinatanggap ko, eh. Walang masamang damo sa akin.”
(Well, whatever is offered to me, I accept it. It’s just a job. Me, I accept whatever is offered. There’s no bad weed for me)
“There’s something in Cinemalaya, because naiiba ito kesa sa mga ordinaryong film festivals (this is different from other film festivals). But it’s just a job. If awards come, it’s just a bonus.”
Is there a plan to retire from the showbiz industry?
“None. As long as they need me, I’ll be there. If they don’t need me anymore, I will quit,” says the iconic Eddie Garcia.
For the record, Eddie Garcia has been in the industry for 69 years now (his first film was in 1949), has made around 600 films, and has a total of 39 awards (local and international), the only Filipino actor who’s been elevated to the FAMAS Hall of Fame (as best actor, best supporting actor, and best director), and other Lifetime Achievement Awards.
He even joked that the only role that he has not done yet in his entire career is to become a “leading lady.” /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.