Lance Raymundo plays the title role in Fidel, which is based on the true accounts of Filipino male overseas workers or OFWs who have been sexually abused by foreigners in Middle East countries. In this indie film, Jon Hall is cast as the Arab employer who rapes Lance.
Directed by Mark Shandii Bacolod, Fidel asks the question: How far would a man go to defend his dignity? The film is an eye-opener on the plight of Filipino males who have been raped but are too embarrassed to file a complaint.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to talk to Lance last Wednesday, September 30, during the film's screening at Fully Booked, The Fort. The actor admitted that he had difficulty in shooting the sensitive scenes of the film.
"It's hard because, siyempre, wala naman akong experience sa ganun," said Lance. "I never really met anyone who had a such an experience so I just used my imagination. I just read the script tapos talagang kinilala ko na lang talaga si Fidel, para ma-execute ko yung ganung klase ng [abuse]. From the innermost na pagkakakilala ko sa kanya, kaya ko na-execute ang rape scene."
INTENSE PERFORMANCE. He revealed that he and Jon Hall were not actually in the same room together when they did the rape scene.
"The challenge for me was to be raped realistically na wala talagang tao sa likod mo. Actually, si Jon and I magkahiwalay kami the whole time. Yun yung challenge na realistically makikita kang na-rape na wala talaga sa tabi mo yung rapist dito."
How did he motivate himself to give an intense performance?
"Imaginary lang talaga, walang body contact. It was an agreement between our parties. I was representing vitamins and wellness so may mga clauses din with regards to nudity. But I also believe in the project, so nag-compromise kami, and I think nagmukang totoo naman."
Lance also revealed that he did a more "daring" version of this particular scene. "Yung rape scene na yun, there's another version where I show a little bit of skin pero baka they use that probably for the American screening. Dito [the version screened at Fully Booked], naka-brief ako. The other one naman is naka-jeans na pull down so may nakalagay na may naka-expose na butt."
MORE LEGISLATION NEEDED. The actor believes that Fidel serves as an advocacy film for legislators to create bills that will protect the interests of all citizens, both male and female.
"That's one of the lessons of the film. You don't have to be a victim to empathize with the victim, di ba? Kahit na wala akong kilalang ganun, kahit na hindi ako ang ganun, the fact na kababayan mo ang naaagrabyado, siyempre, we want to be instrumental in helping them.
"We hope that by doing this, we will open the eyes of the nation na gumawa din sila ng mga measures para mas protektahan ang mga kalalakihan naman. I can be an advocate for the protection of not the females but also the males because taken for granted na yun. Ang mga babae, may mga movements for protection of females, but we take for granted that males are victimized as well, even if were supposedly the strong ones in society."
Direk Shandii is currently working on his second full-length film titled Ben and Sam. He is also part of the 2009 Cinema One entry Maximus and Minimus where he serves as Nap Jamir's assistant director.
Aside from Lance and Jon Hall, Fidel also stars Andrea del Rosario, Maria Isabel Lopez, Jao Mapa, Fonz Deza, Nonoy Froilan and Snooky Serna. Von Arroyo plays another man who was raped in the Middle East while indie actress Marife Necesito portrays the girlfriend of Lance's character. Former child actor RR Herrera has a special participation in this film.
Marife is the Filipina actress who acted opposite Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams in the movie Mammoth. This Hollywood film will be screened in Taguig during the 2009 Cinemanila International Film Festival that will run from October 15-25, 2009.
Lance says that he will soon release an all-original album containing sensual pop songs that he himself composed. He also revealed that his brother Rannie Raymundo is thinking about making a comeback and they might collaborate on a project together.
Fidel will have its regular run probably on the last week of October or the first week of November. It will also be toured in schools and universities.