Japanese actor Jacky Woo becomes a recognized producer of Filipino films starting with Half Blood Samurai.
Noong January 25, Friday nang hapon, tumungo si Jacky sa opisina ng Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) para mag oath-taking as a member of the Kapisanan ng mga Direktor ng Pelikulang Pilipino (KDPP). Siya ang first full-blooded foreigner to be accepted in the director's union under the umbrella of FAP.
Jacky promised to produce more Filipino films under his Forward Films Entertainment, ang local arm ng Forward Group Japan starting with Half Blood Samurai. Jacky produced, directed and/or starred in a number of Metro Manila Film Fest entries and local productions since 2001. These include Total Aikido with John Regala and Aya Medel, the MMMF 2003 entry Alab ng Lahi with Robin Padilla, the MMFF 2004 entry from Cesar Montano's CM Production Panaghoy sa Suba with Cesar and Juliana Palermo and the 2005 horror-comedy hit blockbuster Ispiritista: Itay May Moomoo with Vic Sotto.
Originally titled Manila West Side Story noong story conference late last year, Half Blood Samurai features original samurai action and Asian-inspired dance grooves. This is an action-musical inspired by the Oscar winning Hollywood movie West Side Story.
Jacky plays the role of Takeru, a street-smart half-Japanese, half-Filipino, who falls in love with Kristine (Jennylyn Mercado), the daughter of his rich Filipino boss. Despite Takeru and Kristine's mutual feelings, their relationship is hindered by the big gap in their social status and persistent mockery and discrimination from Kristine's arrogant brother John (Gabby Eigenmann).
Also in the cast are Paolo Paraiso, Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition ex-housemate Nina Jose, Pocholo Montes, Japan's Yoshuke Natsuki, and Rena Komine. Director-actor Cesar Montano will also have a special role in Half Blood Samurai, which will premiere next month.