Lessons Enchong Dee learned from his offbeat roles | Inquirer Entertainment

Lessons Enchong Dee learned from his offbeat roles

/ 12:15 AM October 12, 2023

Lessons Enchong Dee learned from his offbeat roles

Enchong Dee via IG @mr_enchongdee

Enchong Dee, who plays the martyr Padre Jacinto Zamora in the historical biopic “GomBurZa,” said he almost lost this role and had to really fight for it.

“One day, I will be able to explain what happened and tell everyone why I fought hard for the role of Padre Zamora. You can say that I had to sort of audition for it because there was a time when I had the role, and then I didn’t, and then I got it back again. Yes, muntik pang mawala! But because of the casting process, and at the same time, they must have felt my earnest intention to really do the project, I was finally given the role,” he told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview.The film, which is expected to be one of the biggest film events in 2023, is directed by Pepe Diokno and produced by Jesuit Communications.


“Working on the film was really memorable, especially since we had a historian, a Spanish language coach, and an acting coach on our set. Plus, we have a very collaborative director. I’m so privileged. I’m glad I really fought to get this role,” said Enchong, who shot the film in March with Dante Rivero and Cedrick Juan. The two play priests Mariano Gomez and Jose Burgos, respectively.


Precious knowledge

“I learned so much from Tito Dante just by watching him. With Cedrick, I was very happy to have had the opportunity to work with an actor who does all indie work and brought this precious knowledge to the ‘GomBurZa’ set. I enjoyed working with them because I was learning at the same time,” the actor pointed out.

Enchong couldn’t stop raving about his director, too. “I’m very fortunate that Pepe is the type of director I could call even at late hours about ideas that I thought would help build the character of Padre Zamora. He listened to me, though he was already very tired. Not only that, he actually applied my suggestions. I also liked it that he continuously brainstormed with us about the story,” Enchong recalled.

He is hopeful that people will watch it and learn from it. “I just realized that it’s true … until we learn from our past mistakes, we tend to repeat history. Back then, during the Spanish occupation, we were already fighting for our independence, for our freedom of speech, and for equality. Yet, we are still fighting for these things now. We have to learn from our history so we can move forward,” said Enchong when asked what he learned from the whole experience of making “GomBurZa.”

Dee in “The Fisher” —PAUL SORIANO/X

Dee in “The Fisher” —PAUL SORIANO/X

Offbeat roles

Enchong has been keen on doing mostly offbeat roles lately, beginning with his character in Richard Somes’ action flick “Topakk.” He is also part of Paul Soriano’s “The Fisher” and Joel Ferrer’s “Fruitcake.”

“I really prayed for this during the pandemic. I had hoped that when the entertainment industry reopens, I would start playing offbeat roles. I even said that if I have to sacrifice doing TV work, I would,” he recalled. “Topakk,” which brought Enchong to Switzerland for the 76th Locarno International Film Festival in August, tackles an equally important social issue. “This movie is a huge salute to people who fight for the freedom and independence of every Filipino. When you see the film, you will realize that we still have a lot to do in order to take better care of those who protect our freedom,” Enchong said of the film that partly tackles posttraumatic stress disorder afflicting military men.

Good reviews

“We have to have proper debriefing of our soldiers so that when they return to their families, they will be ready to face other challenges that will come their way, or else, they will carry the heaviness of being soldiers. This will greatly affect their relationships with people around them,” Enchong pointed out. He has gotten quite a number of good reviews for his performance in “Topakk.” He attributed this in part to the efforts of his coactor Arjo Atayde. “I’m lucky to have worked with him. He isn’t just a friend to me, but basically a brother. On the set, I would just look at him, even from afar, and emotions would flow. When he learned of this, he sat in front of me on the set to help me dive into the emotions of my character. He did it for the entire day, and surely, the emotions kept flowing fully. He deserves to be called one of the best actors of his generation because he is so giving, so generous,” Enchong said.


The 34-year-old actor said that these days, all he could feel was gratefulness. “I want to give thanks to all the producers and filmmakers who keep taking bold risks that enable many of us to create films that we can proudly share with the world. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to represent the Philippines in one of the biggest festivals. My heart is filled with gratitude. I’m very happy and content,” he declared.

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