Piolo Pascual says working on an eight-hour movie like Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis is not a problem.
In fact, the Kapamilya actor recalled he never had any question when the idea was pitched to him by director Lav Diaz.
“Ang pinakatanong ko lang kung paano ko pa siya gagawin sa schedule ko. At that time I was doing The Breakup Playlist with Sarah [Geronimo].
“But I didn't have any question or doubt if I was going to do it. Parang for me, privilege ng isang artista ang role,” Piolo told reporters and bloggers during the blog conference prepared for its commercial screening on Sunday, March 13.
For someone who grew up loving Jose Rizal's novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, playing the role of Crisostomo Ibarra/Simoun is a dream come true, said Piolo.
“For me, one of my dream roles is to play an alter ego of Rizal,” he added.
With regards to the length of the film, which is unusual for regular moviegoers but somehow common for independent filmmaker Lav Diaz, Piolo said, “Eight hours is nothing.”
He explained, “I like what Direk Lav was saying. He said, 'You couldn't box filmmaking. It's not about the length of a film. It's about the expression.'
“Sabi niya, hindi dapat nililimitahan sa length ng pelikula because it's an expression of the creator. Nasa kanila 'yon kung gaano kahaba o kaiksi.”
Piolo acknowledged that Filipino moviegoers generally have short attention span.
However, he said, viewers shouldn't be discouraged by the length of their award-winning movie.
“I also have a short attention span,” he said.
“Parang for Lav kasi it's really free. Parang if you box him, mako-compromise naman ang quality ng film mo. I think doon nanggaling si Lav.
“Upon watching it in Berlin, eight hours is really nothing.
“At the end of the day, it's about conditioning yourself as to how far or how long you'll be sitting in the theater. It's a treat, e, more than it being a sacrifice.
“It's a treat for the moviegoers because you learn so much about the history, you learn about filmmaking, and it literally brings you there.”
He added to further encourage Pinoy moviegoers, “Okay siya, it's about alotting your time. Parang ako, after Heneral Luna, talagang mabubuo ulit ang dugo mo bilang Pinoy. Lalo na election is coming up.
“This is timely because it will remind us how we became a nation that all started in a revolution more than a hundred years ago.”
During the press conference of the movie held earlier today, March 18, Piolo was asked about the talent fee for Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, which will be shown in cinemas starting Black Saturday, March 26, 2016.
“Kapag ganitong film, hindi na dapat pinag-uusapan.
“Ang talent fee hindi na dapat pinaguusapan sa ganitong pasison project,” said the actor who graced the world premiere of Hele held last February 18 in Berlin, Germany.
Aside from Piolo, John Lloyd Cruz also stars in this movie as Isagani. Other cast members include Cherie Gil, Angel Aquino, Sid Lucero, Alessandra de Rossi, Bart Guingonza, and Barnardo Bernardo.
(View photos: Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz attend 66th Berlin Film Festival for Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis)