JM de Guzman has been chosen to bring life to Pedro Calungsod in the upcoming filmbio San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir. JM most recently topbilled ABS-CBN's afternoon teleserye, Angelito: Batang Ama.
The film biography will trace the young martyr’s journey of faith into sainthood. Pedro Calungsod was a catechist who joined a missionary trip to the Ladrones Islands(now known as Guam) in 1668 to evangelize the Chamorros.
He was 17 years old when he died for his faith in 1672.
The missionary-turned-martyr was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II on March 5, 2000. Pedro Calungsod will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21 on the occasion of World Mission Sunday.
This will make Pedro Calungsod the second Filipino declared a saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz.
Writer-director Francis Villacorta admitted, “From the very start of this project, I knew that JM is the perfect Pedro. Call it intuition but it’s just in his eyes. I am now in the process of drawing parallels between him and Pedro so I can mold a memorable screen character.”
JM is a Theater Major from the University of the Philippines. He has been in various productions including the musical Isang Pangarap Na Fili. On film, he has appeared in the Cinemalaya entries Last Supper No. 3, Rekrut, and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. He also starred in Pintakasi, an indie film that combines live action and animation, allowing him to win as Best New Wave Actor during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Direk Villacorta also observed, “JM has revealed incredible acting range that triggered my interest in getting him for the role of Pedro Calungsod. The fact that little is really known about the young Filipino martyr makes this cinematic mission our very own journey into discovering him.”
San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir will also star Robert Correa as Hurao, the Chamorro patriot-warrior and killer of Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores and Pedro Calungsod. Other actors are currently under negotiations. Villacorta’s screenplay is in Visayan, Spanish and native Chamorro.
Direk Villacorta remarks, “I hope our film can inspire young people today to go beyond the gadgets and other disturbances of modern technology and find true meaning in a spiritual bond with Jesus Christ. San Pedro Calungsod would love that.”
Villacorta, a theater artist and a History-Political Science graduate from De La Salle University, has previously mounted numerous productions, the latest of which is Francisca de Manila: the Mother Francisca del Espiritu Santo Story (2011).
He is scheduled to mount on stage Man of the Masses: The Ramon Magsaysay Story and Venceremos: Che Guevarra. Soon, he will also direct Voltar, Tomas Claudio: The Forgotten Hero and The Good Fighter: The Manuel L. Quezon Story.