Borracho Films to make ‘Gringo’ biopic, four more projects

Borracho Films to make ‘Gringo’ biopic, four more projects

/ 12:25 AM May 14, 2024

Former Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II —PHOTOS BY MARINEL

Former Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II —PHOTOS BY MARINEL

Former Sen. and Philippine Army officer Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II had only one request to screenwriter Eric Ramos, who is making the script to his biopic directed by Lester Dimaranan, “Gringo”: Don’t turn me into a superhero.

“I remember what he told me, ‘I bleed. I got injured. I also lost a finger. I’m human, so portray me as a human being.’” Ramos told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview. He added that he sat down with the controversial retired soldier six or seven times to discuss the script.


“For me, the talks I’ve had with him were never enough. We would always meet with a big group, so there were other concerns from the production team that he also attended to. What’s good was that, for the first three drafts, I sat down with him and had a read-through. He gave his comments and if there were factual errors, he tried to recall what happened in particular incidents. He’s very hands-on, but as the writer, I still wished he had more time for me,” said Ramos, who is a two-time recipient of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.


“I’m happy as it is. That’s more than what I expected from a subject. It’s just that it’s really hard to write a biopic. It’s OK if you’re writing something historical and the subject is dead. The difference here is that I need to verify every single detail that I got from research. It’s tough, but fulfilling at the same time,” he said.

Ramos added that he was very familiar with the period, which Borracho Films producer Ferdinand Topacio said, “Starts out during the Edsa Revolution (in 1986) until Honasan’s dramatic escape from detention after the second coup d’ etat attempt…after he was captured.”

Ramos has just finished the biography of the late politician and marine corps Gen. Rodolfo Biazon, titled “Rodolfo Biazon: Soldier. Solon. Statesman,” which won him the National Book award.


“There were many parts of the book that were about Gringo. He was being hunted, while Biazon was the hunter. That’s why when this was offered to me, the first thing I asked was if Sen. Honasan knew that I wrote the Biazon book. He just laughed and said he has no problem with it,” Ramos recalled.

“What’s interesting is that, recently, a week before Biazon died, Honasan paid the latter a visit. They talked as friends, as PMAers, as fellow military men. Mrs. Biazon said this made her husband very happy,” said Ramos, adding that the Biazon family appreciated Honasan’s gesture so much that they asked him to deliver a eulogy during the first night of the wake. “That served as closure for the two of them. I think that’s a beautiful story. While doing this project, Sen. Honasan offered me to write his biography book. I just said, ‘Let’s deal with it after this movie.’”

Lawyer and Borracho Film Productions executive Ferdinand Topacio--MARINEL CRUZ

Lawyer and Borracho Film Productions executive Ferdinand Topacio–MARINEL CRUZ

Meanwhile, Jake Cuenca is expected to play the titular role. “He wants to see the script first,” said Topacio. “I have no doubt that he will say ‘yes’ after reading Eric’s excellent work. He possesses the requisite depth. Talking to Sen. Honasan while developing the story, he has always had this inner turmoil since his cadet days. While he is a soldier, he has always been a bit of a rebel, too. This conflict has always been just seething beneath the surface. I’m confident that Jake will be able to capture that,” Topacio added.


Other works

Ramos also wrote the romantic drama, titled “Spring in Prague,” starring Paolo Gumabao and Czech actress Sara Sandeva. He said there were delays because the Borracho production team had to wait for six months to shoot the winter scenes in Prague. The project is currently in postproduction work, he added.

“It’s an allusion to Prague Spring, [a period of political liberalization and mass protest] in the 1960s. Later on in the 1980s, there was also the so-called Velvet Revolution [or the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia],” Topacio said.

Sara’s character, Maruska, is the daughter of a once-powerful communist party official who would have been president of Czechoslovakia during the Velvet Revolution, explained Topacio. “His mindset was stuck during the glory days of communism. He took it upon himself to protect his daughter from the decadence of Western democracy, so she rebelled and went without permission to the Philippines, as recommended to her by a Spanish-Filipino friend,” Topacio added.



“She goes to Puerto Galera where she meets Paolo’s character Alfonso, owner of a resort named Laissez Faire. She falls in love with Alfonso, but her father wants her back, so she is fetched by a chopper commissioned by the Czech embassy. She is whisked off with hardly time to say goodbye.”

Ramos is also the writer of the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” which follows the counterterrorism mission that killed 44 officers of the Philippine National Police.

Meanwhile, “One Dinner a Week,” starring Edu Manzano and written by Easy Ferrer, is also in production. Topacio revealed that it’s a May-December love affair with a tragic ending. Another material is “Pain (Trap),” written by Roy Espiritu, Topacio reported.

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“I’ve always been a film buff. I’ve watched and collected hundreds of films, from the very first movie ever made by the French studio Lumiere. I still have a DVD player at home. I made myself a promise that, before I die, I want to make one movie. That was supposed to be ‘Mamasapano,’ but I realized that I’m actually enjoying the process,” said Topacio, who also recently introduced the artists of the newly formed Borracho Artists and Talents Management. INQ

TAGS: Entertainment, Gringo Honasan II

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