Tom Rodriguez immersed in world of OFWs to portray a senator in Magtanggol

Tom Rodriguez talked with Migrante volunteers to prepare for his role as a senator in the indie film Magtanggol, Bagong Bayani. "So passionate… the symbolism, analogy, the visual metaphors. It's a beautiful process to watch."



Gaganap si Tom Rodriguez bilang Sen. Juancho Magtanggol sa indie film na Magtanggol, Bayong Bayani na idinidirek ni Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez mula sa Felix and Bert Film Productions.

How does it feel to be a senator kahit sa role lang lalo pa’t malapit na ang eleksyon sa bansa?

“Ah, siguro I can say na with this family, the Magtanggol family, they really stand for something admirable.

“Although, it’s a fictional family I believe it stands for the idea, e.

“Yung parang, dream political, dream politicians nating lahat, yun yung parang lineage ng Magtanggol all through history.

“Kunwari from the 1800s to all of the revolutions that incited them afterwards, involved ang pamilya Magtanggol.

“Some of the ancestors were part of the La Solidaridad, yung mga ganu’ng  aspects.

“So even Juancho Magtanggol, yung character ko had really big shoes to fill and he struggled along that journey.

“Along with Juancho, the things that Juancho learned, I’m glad na kahit ako, personal, si Tom Rodriguez, marami ring natutunan mula sa kanya.”

Ano ang mga natutunan niya sa kanyang karakter?
           
“‘Yung gaano kahirap na magsilbi sa taong bayan, kung mahirap na nga alagaan ang pamilya ng isang tao, mahirap maghanap-buhay sa bansang ‘to para sa mga mahal mo sa buhay.

“Paano pa kaya ang napakaraming constituents?

“Hindi pala biro yung ganoon, nakasilip ako sa ganu’ng klaseng buhay.

“Silip lang yun kasi itong ginagawa namin… we’re just portraying, we just get the glimpse or window.

“So I can’t even fathom or imagine what a real politician is…

“I can’t even fathom what type of a pressure they have to face each day especially in a type of system na minsan, e, it’s constricting.

“For example, the Presidential-type of system that we have hasn’t been conducive to our people.

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“There are other alternatives if we look at other countries, First World countries that have better quality of living for their citizens, like a parliamentary system.”

Batay sa kanya pananalita, mukhang na-imbibe niya sa kanyang katauhan ang role niya sa movie bilang politician.

May plano ba siya na pasukin din ang politics in the future?

“Hindi po, wala po ako’ng plano, pero ang plano ko po, as a citizen of this country, as Filipino citizen, I believe na we should be involved.

“This coming election is most crucial for everyone.

“I think the upcoming years will really shake this country’s future.

“So I just urge everyone to really think their decision and exercise their power to decide.”


OFW REALITIES. Kumusta ang pagganap niya bilang Senator Juancho Magtanggol?

“Grabe,” sabay buntung-hininga ni Tom. “Napakasarap na experience on two fronts for me.

“Una, sa pagtanggap pa lang namin ng proyekto, pinagsama-sama kaming lahat ni Direk Sig to meet with real-life OFWs na volunteers for Migrante.

“We heard their stories na dati, siguro hindi ko naman sinasabi na insensitibo ako sa hinaing nila.

“Pero hindi siya pumasok sa radar ko, hindi ko man lang alam na may ganung klaseng karahasan na pala ang nangyayari sa mga kababayan natin.

“Naghahangad lang na mapaganda ang buhay ng kanilang pamilya dito sa paghahanap ng trabaho overseas.

“Mahirap na nga yung mawalay ka sa pamilya mo tapos yung pinagdadaanan nila mas mahirap pa pala.

“Kaya masaya ako na dito sa proyektong ‘to kahit papano.

“Although it encapsulated... parang ibinalot siya sa isang masayang panoorin na kwento.

“Pero nakatago rin doon yung larawan ng totoong buhay na sinasapit minsan ng mga kapatid nating OFWs.
           
“And the other aspect of that is this crew, this group, this production unit, the crew involved from our DOP, the director to the crew involved, grabe!

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“Pinagiisipan nilang lahat ang shot, and I am learning so much more just being here right now, yeah.

“Meaning in movement in the shot, meaning on how they compose those shots, meaning on how they color, they light.

“Everything na, lahat pala yun andu’n, lahat pala yun may rason.”


FREE-FLOWING. Hindi niya natutunan ang mga ito sa paggawa niya ng mainstream movies?

“Ah, hindi naman sa hindi natutunan, pero parang mas dito mo mapupuna.

“Kasi hindi kayo nakatali sa time constraints, for example, baka kailangang i-ere mamayang gabi.

“Dito, napagtutuunan talaga nang pansin ang maraming shots.

“Gusto ko sanang sabihin sa inyo kung ano ang gusto ko pero, ayoko.

“Gusto ko abangan ninyo na lang sa pelikula, sana po makita at mapansin yung mga detalyeng yun na nilagay nila Direk Sig sa pelikulang ‘to.”

Hindi lang daw siya ang lead actor sa Magtanggol, Bagong Bayani.

“I share this film with a lot of talented people, sila Tito Joonee [Gamboa]; Sir William [Lorenzo]; Yam [Concepcion]; Albie [Casiño, Ejay [Falcon], it’s an ensemble.”
           
Ano ang challenge para sa kanya ng role niya bilang Sen. Juancho Magtanggol?
           
“I always say this, I’m sorry to sound like a broken record, any role I’ve given there’s always something challenging about it.

“And with this one naman, really I’m playing a role who is someone older than I am, and you have to see him in different stages of his life.

“Hindi naman sobrang tanda, he’s 40 years old in the present.

“Just really feeling Juancho, how he moves, where his tension, yung ganoong aspeto?

“Yung you really trying to get into his head, into his character.”


DEEP ACTING. Sa tingin ba niya with his portrayal sa movie may chance siya to win an acting award?

“I’m not concerned about that,” nangingisi niyang sabi.

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“Sakit ko na yun noon pa, sa pag-sketch ko pa lang when I wanted to be a conceptual artist.

“Every time na iisipin ko I wanna draw something cool, gusto ko’ng mag-drawing ng isang napakagandang drawing.

“Wala akong ma-drawing, blangko yung papel na minsan, yung mga sketch book ko, puro blangko.

“Kasi sa isip ko kailangan ang i-drawing ko diyan maganda.

“Tuloy wala akong masiip isulat, pero yung mga bond paper na hindi nakakabit sa kahit na ano, doon ko nagagawa yung mga gusto kong gawin.

“So I realized we’re not here to compete.

“We are here to enjoy, to have fun, to love, to work and to share ideas.

“Just have fun and explore, and I find that I was able to do that a lot in this project.

“And I’m very happy the whole crew, specially sina Direk Sig, so collaborative and so inventive on what they do.

“So passionate and talagang they talk to you and they share with you.

“And you can really get a dialogue going and they will explain the shot.

“They’ll explain the symbolism, analogy, they’ll explain the visual metaphors for the character.

“It’s a beautiful process to watch,” pagtatapos ni Tom.


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