DITO SA Mellow Thoughts sa Pinoy Parazzi natin unang naibalita bilang “scoop” ang pagganap ng seasoned character actor na si John Arcilla bilang si Antonio Luna sa pelikula, noong pang January 2014, noong nakapagpirma ng kontrata si John upang gumanap sa nasabing biofilm, directed by the award-winning Jerrold Tarog.
Pinamagatang Heneral Luna, nasa kasagsagan na ng shooting ang buong cast led by John Arcilla (as Antonio Luna), Mylene Dizon, Nonie Buencamino, Jeffrey Quizon, Paulo Avelino, Mon Confiado (as Emilio Aguinaldo), Marc Abaya, Art Acuña, Alvin Anson, at iba pa.
Ayon sa kuwento ni John, 17 years ang hinintay bago maisapelikula ang 3-hour script na ito ng dalawang writers na sina Eddie Rocha (who is now one of the producers) at ang kaibigan nitong si Henry Hunt Francia. Ganoon katagal – 17 taon bago nakahanap ng tamang producers, production staff, at higit sa lahat ay director upang gumawa ng isang “epic” tungkol sa isa sa ating pambansang bayani.
Ang nakatutuwa sa pag-amin ni John, noong unang in-offer sa kanya ang role, inakala niyang “one of those student thesis films” lamang ang proyekto. Isa kasi si John sa naniniwalang “tool” niya bilang isang aktor ang pagtanggap ng student thesis films, at ang mga student filmmakers na ito ay puwedeng maging future filmmakers ng ating industriya.
“Nasa New York ako noong nakatanggap ako ng viber invitation noong September, for a reading, from Daphne Chiu (one of the production heads). I thought it was just one of the student film indie projects, pero mali ako,” sabi ni John.
Naging busy rin kasi si John sa kanyang shows sa Amerika (New York, Las Vegas, Chiacago, at Texas) at nawala sa bansa for almost a year, kaya hindi pa raw siya naging aware kung gaano kahusay at ka-sensible si Direk Jerrold.
Nakakatuwang pag-amin ni John, inakala niyang “one of those students” lamang ang kaharap na niyang director.
“Akala ko talaga, ang ka-deal ko pa lang that time ay ang casting department, or mga students. When Mara (staff) mentioned Jerrold as the director, who’s actually handling my reading, I was actually aware that his name is one of the writers on my script. In my mind ‘Another student indie film but why not?’ I am used to help student film thesis and these guys have the most current inputs and enthusiasm… I hope.
“Noong kinausap na ako ni Jerrold, this very unassuming guy who looks like a very studious honor student slowly turned into a competent cool boy who knows what he’s saying and there’s this subdued inner strength working, a kinda shy person but looks pretty sure of himself and what he wants.”
Ayon pa kay John, ang pinapangarap pala niyang mai-portray sa pelikula ay buhay ni Juan Luna.
“But Antonio Luna’s story is as significant to tell, so okey rin. I can relate on his rage, and I can understand where his fury is coming from. I just have to find the extent of his temper within me, because basically it was Antonio’s tragic flaw, well at least to his detractors, critics and believers as well… which I agree.
“The truth is, the film is very relevant today. And that is not good news. In fact it is what makes this film very disturbing and controversial. The fact that the main controversy and conflict in this film is still happening and rampant these days after more than a hundred years since the story in this film happened on circa 1898-1900.
“I just really wish while we all want to be more subdued about the matter, that may this film serve as a real wake-up call for this generation or, I’m sorry for the phrase, ‘a real kick in the ass’,” pagtatapos ni John.
by Mell Navarro