Filipino actors in ‘Bourne’ share valuable insights
John Arcilla, one of the few Filipino actors in the cast of “The Bourne Legacy,” said he came to the set of the Tony Gilroy spy-thriller expecting to be star-struck and intimidated by lead actors Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner. He was surprised that he felt neither.
“They did not send out the vibe that they were big stars. That was a good thing. You felt they were Hollywood stars only after shooting scenes with them. While we were working, they behaved normally. They weren’t self-absorbed or conceited at all,” Arcilla told the Inquirer.
Arcilla offered this interesting theory about his coactors’ behavior. “I guess they also cannot help but feel they are merely employees. After all, American productions are bigger than their actors. Hollywood has a huge market. It is the film capital of the world.”
Arcilla plays the role of a security guard in this fourth installment of the “Bourne” series. He has previously worked on two international productions: “Amigo,” by American filmmaker John Sayles; and “Metro Manila,” by British director Sean Ellis.
Lou Veloso, who plays a ship captain, said he was impressed with how Hollywood actors take their work seriously. “They try to learn as much about the craft as they can,” he explained. “They also live their characters. You cannot disturb them, even to have your photos taken with them. They will allow that only if they are already done for the day. They are very professional. I can understand why some people here would misinterpret this attitude for snobbery.”
When it came to talent, however, Veloso said Filipino actors were not so far behind. “These foreigners admitted to being surprised to see how good Filipino actors were. They thought we were raw at first. But when they saw us perform before the camera, they thought bongga pala,” said Veloso, who is himself an accomplished comedian, theater actor, director and politician.
Veloso has acted in over 30 films. He won the Best Actor plum at the 36th Brussels International Independent Film Festival in Belgium for his performance in Jon Steffan Ballesteros’s “Colorum.”
“My role in ‘Bourne’ is very small and short. I advise viewers not to blink or they will miss me,” joked Veloso, adding that what really excited him was the audition process. “It made me feel like a newbie all over again. I felt nervous because there were so many call backs—I think I had four. The production team was so meticulous. It conducted auditions for all the roles that would interact with the characters of Weisz and Renner.”
Arcilla was convinced that he got chosen because he “looked more Malay” than the five other actors who auditioned for the same role. “The character is not American-bred, so I did not need to have a twang or an accent. That is how I presented myself during the audition. But in the actual filming, I tried to sound more like my American coactors to make foreign audiences understand me better.”
Arcilla added: “It gives me a certain high knowing that I got picked over some of the best local actors from theater and film. It was a big deal to be chosen.”
Also in the cast are Andre Tiangco, Madeleine Nicolas, Ruby Ruiz, Anne Garcia, Ermie Concepcion and Joel Torre.
According to producers, Manila will serve as the setting for the film’s “climax,” or the last 25 minutes.
The production stayed in the country for eight weeks to shoot scenes in various areas in Metro Manila and in El Nido, Palawan.
“The Bourne Legacy,” a Universal Pictures production, will have a US premiere in August.
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