Martial arts training an advantage for JM de Guzman in ‘Iron Heart’
Actor JM de Guzman is positive that his experience being a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in his college years gives him the edge, especially since he recently joined the cast of “The Iron Heart” and is expected to do difficult action scenes.
“I’ve actually learned from the script that I will be doing some of them soon. I guess you have an advantage if you know MMA. I used to train and fight when I was in college. It was really difficult. Competing required not just mental focus, but also physical and emotional readiness. That will help a lot with the fight scenes,” he told reporters during a recent virtual media gathering.
He said taping action scenes should be taken seriously. “In the years I’ve been acting, I have been injured and gotten [a coactor] injured. You really need to be careful. It’s important that you have the proper training,” he explained.
“Since I already know that I will be doing intense fight scenes, I’ve slowly begun physical training. I’ve been doing a lot of stretching and running. This way, you will be able to avoid injuries. What I love the most about the series is its unpredictability. Whenever I watch it, I wonder how the team is able to execute scenes so quickly, be it an action or dramatic scene. Sobrang galing,” JM declared.
Understanding the character
JM plays the role of Brother Joseph, a religious leader. He believes he has a strong connection to his Maker so he helps those in need, particularly the members of his congregation. “I’m not allowed to talk about him in detail, but for sure, my character is super kind. He’s really a good boy,” JM said in his usual deadpan expression.
To create his character, JM said he read up on a number of local religious leaders. “I won’t say their names, but I tried to observe the way they talk and move onstage. I tried to observe how they’re able to charm their audience. It’s a requirement that my character be charismatic. I hope to be able to portray him well,” he added.
The second season of the program is currently being shot in Iloilo province. These days, JM said he has dedicated his time to reading the script, understanding his character, and creating his back story. “Sir Jay (Fernando, creative manager) sat down with me to discuss things—why Brother Joseph behaves the way he does, what his background is, what his goals are, and where he is heading to,” said JM.
The show’s second season will also feature Carmen Soo, Fabio Ide, Richard Quan, Ruby Ruiz, Igi Boy Flores, Anna Luna, Ruben Soriquez, Krystal Brimner, Cris Villanueva and Alex Medina.
Jay said assembling the new cast took so long. “We argued about which actor is perfect for which role. What I personally want is an exciting cast, a group of people we all want to see working together, a good mix,” he explained. “Apart from this, we also want a cast that brings out the energy needed in an action series.”
Jay said that in the “universe” they have created for the show, each cast member is important—from Richard Gutierrez, who plays lead character Apollo, to the members of the fictional group Tatsulok, led by Albert Martinez; as well as those who are part of the new crime syndicate Altare. “They are all forming this universe for us. The best word to describe the cast lineup is that they’re right where they’re supposed to be,” he said.
The series is directed by Lester Pimentel Ong, with Singaporean Ace Wang Yan-bin as action director. This season, Ian Lorenos joins the team to direct all the dramatic sequences.
Right and wrong
“The past chapters of the show featured a lot of action scenes, but in terms of developing the relationships of our main characters, this is what we will see more of in Season 2. We are slowly developing them, especially Apollo, in terms of his relationship with his family. This time, the story gets deeper and more complicated,” he explained.
“From the very beginning, the series has always been about what is right and wrong for Apollo in relation to the other characters. It has now become more complex because right and wrong will turn out to be not as simple,” Jay pointed out. “We’re thankful that Direk Ian, whose expertise is in drama, is helping us as we go through this particular part of the story.”
Aside from introducing new characters, producer Star Creatives also released a snippet of the latest version of the theme song, titled “Sino Ka Ba,” performed by SB19 members Josh Cullen and Pablo. “The Iron Heart” airs weekdays at 8:45 p.m. on A2Z, TV5, Kapamilya Online Live on Facebook and YouTube, Jeepney TV and TFC. INQ