Dennis Trillo said that he's usually not the type to boast his accomplishments, but he couldn't help but beam with pride now that On The Job: The Missing 8 is finally showing internationally.
It's the first Filipino series to be showcased as a six-part HBO Go Original Series, beginning September 12.
It made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on September 10, and would also be shown in Rome and Milan as part of the festival tour.
Speaking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Dennis enthused, "Napakasarap na pakiramdam. Hindi ako mayabang na tao, pero parang gusto ko ipagmayabang itong project na ito.
"Talagang nakaka-proud dahil history in the making, lalo na naging bahagi kami sa pelikula na ito. Napakasaya lang.
"Sa ngayon wala pa akong mahiling na iba kasi sobrang high pa ako sa feeling na ito, sa lahat ng nangyayari at mangyayari pa lang dito sa on The Job.
"Sobrang happy at proud at thankful ko lang na nakasali ako dito."
The 40-year-old Dennis dreamed of being part of On The Job ever since he saw the first installment of the crime drama movie in 2013.
Helmed by director and co-writer Erik Matti, On The Job Part 1 was headlined by the ensemble cast of Gerald Anderson, Piolo Pascual, Joel Torre, and Joey Marquez.
"Hindi mo naitatanong, kaya ako nagkaroon ng pelikulang The Janitor, dahil yun sa On The Job," Dennis recalled.
The Janitor is the 2014 Cinemalaya entry where Dennis showcased how his boy-next-door charm and quiet demeanor worked to his advantage in pulling off his character as a religious police instructor by day and a hitman by night.
It was also one of his unforgettable movies that landed him the fifth spot on The PEP List: Greatest Movie Actors in Lead Roles for Years 2000 to 2020.
Dennis continued, "Yun ang inspirasyon namin dun. Pinalabas yung On The Job nung 2013, 'tapos yung The Janitor nung 2014 dahil sobrang fan ako ng On The Job.
"Grabe yung paghanga ko dun sa paggawa pati sa performance. After nung The Janitor, sabi ko sa manager ko, 'Gusto ko makatrabaho si Direk Erik. Kahit anong role, basta makasama ako sa mga project niya.'
"Gusto ko makagawa ng quality film talaga na puwede ko maipagmayabang, di lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi globally."
Then the opportunity came in 2016.
Dennis elaborated, "Tamang-tama naman kino-conceptualize nila yung On The Job Part 2, nagkataon din na iniisip din pala nila ako pero hindi nila alam kung anong role.
"'Tapos finally, nung nakaisip ng role para sa akin, pinadalhan nila ako ng script.
"Nagkatotoo yung pinangarap ko na makasama siya at makagawa ng isang project. Eto na yun."
PEP.ph's one-on-one interview with Dennis was held last September 7, a day before he flew to Venice.
DENNIS "WALANG ARTE" ON THE SET
In an earlier interview, Erik told PEP.ph that Dennis was "immediately" casted for the part of Roman, a convicted criminal who gets unwillingly recruited to be a hitman who gets to leave prison every time he's on the job.
The director also noted how he found Dennis a real pro and very unassuming on the set.
"Si Dennis di mo nakikita yung trabaho. Tahimik lang sa set. Walang arte.
"Yung monologue ko dito, hindi ma-analayze, but when he gets to the set, swak na swak yung scene niya. Ang galing."
To which, Dennis told PEP.ph, "Ganun naman talaga yung mga tao. Iba-iba ng style. so, ako, di ko na sinasayang yung energy ko sa mga salitang di ko naman kailangan bigkasin.
"Pinapakita ko na lang yung trabaho na kailangan gawin. Tina-try ko siya tapusin nang maayos."
Dennis went on to say that he appreciated Eric's cool vibe on the set.
"Ang saya ng pakiramdam every shooting day nilu-look forward ko kasi isa sa factors kung bakit masaya yung artista na nagtatrabaho sa set kasi yun ang vibe na gustong iparamdam ng director namin.
"Ganun siya, e. Cool lang siya sa set, relaxed siya. Sasabihin lang niya gusto niya ipagawa sa iyo. Pag kulang, padadagdagan niya. Pag sobra, pababawasan niya.
"Magaling siya magtimpla. Marami ako natutunan habang ginagawa namin yung movie. Napakaganda ng experience."
FUN ACTION SCENES WITH VANDOLPH, ERIC
There was no pressure for Dennis to be an expert in his action scenes since the nature of his character is an untrained assassin.
"Yung role ko naman dito, di sila trained sa paghawak ng baril, sa fights, kasi di sila trained na kriminal.
"Natuto na lang sila kasi yun ang pinapagawa sa kanila na trabaho. Kaya di masyado kailangan ng effort, kasi di ka kailangan magmukhang magaling.
"Kailangan tatanga-tanga ka lang dahil wala ka nang ibang choice."
Dennis also considered it a bonus that he got to closely work with Vandolph Quizon and Eric Fructuoso who played as his inmates in the movie.
He said, "Masaya namin siya ginawa kasi masaya mga kaeksena ko. Kasama ko sina Vandolph at Eric, na pamilyar sa akin. Nung di pa ako artista, napapanood ko na.
"Di ko akalain na makakasama ko sila. Kaya nung ginagawa namin yun, lalo na yung action scenes, ine-enjoy lang namin."
FOUR YEARS IN THE MAKING
The making of On The Job: The Missing 8 took roughly four years.
But Erik explained that the delay was not because of major constraints but more of a matter of finding a common time for his big cast.
"Not because we've had problems in production. Ang hirap lang talaga niya kasi ang laki talaga ng mga eksena na magkakasama ang mga artista.
"And to have them all together, it's hard to pin down the schedule. If one or two cannot make it, we cannot push through with the scenes because we have to see them."
He also said that mounting the action scenes during the pandemic proved to be a challenge.
There was no way they could shoot in Manila because of strict quarantine measures.
Instead, they shot in an open field in Cavite for four days in August 2020.
Eric hinted at what will happen in the finale, but we'd rather not mention it in this article to avoid possible spoilers.
But the director didn't seem to mind revealing a few details, saying that the overall performance of the ensemble cast is a huge treat in itself.