Joel Torre stars in historical film directed by John Sayles

"Nakakatuwa nga kasi tungkol sa ating mga Pinoy at ang pakikipaglaban natin ang kuwento ng Amigo. It's so good to know na pati ang mga mahuhusay na directors and writers ng Hollywood ay interesado sa mga nangyari sa ating bansa noong araw," says Joel Torre about his latest international film directed by John Sayles (inset, top).


Masayang ibinalita ng award-winning actor na si Joel Torre sa PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) na kabilang siya sa cast ng international film ng award-winning American independent film director and writer na si John Sayles. Ito ay ang Amigo na kinunan sa Pilipinas.

Sa Bohol daw sila nag-shoot ng pelikula between February and March ng taong ito.

Ang iba pang kasama sa cast ng Amigo ay ang Oscar-winner na si Chris Cooper (Adaptation), Garrett Dillahunt (No Country For Old Men), DJ Qualls (All About Steve), at Yul Vazquez (The A-Team).

Ang Pinoy cast ay binubuo nina Rio Locsin, Pen Medina, John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, at Bembol Roco.

"I've been friends with John Sayles since 1999," banggit ni Joel. "I was introduced to him by my friend Mario Ontal, who has worked with John in many of his movies.

"We've been talking about this project noon pa. I was filming Batang Westside in New York City noon in 2001. I was meeting with John at pinag-uusapan namin itong project. It's a period movie about the Fil-American war during the 1900s at kailangan ng maraming research.

"Until nabuo na nga nila and they were looking for a good place to shoot. So I told John and his crew to come to the Philippines and I will give them a tour of the country.

"Noong pinasyal ko sila, they were amazed by what they saw sa ating bansa. Our country daw has so much character and it's a perfect location for the project."

Kilala si John Sayles bilang critically-acclaimed independent film director and writer sa Hollywood. Kabilang sa mga naging pelikula niya ay: Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Eight Men Out (1988), City of Hope (1991), Passion Fish (1992), Lone Star (1997), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), at ang soon-to-be-filmed na Jurassic Park IV.

Narito ang description ng Amigo, ayon sa Wikipedia:

"The film Amigo centers on Rafael Dacanay (played by Joel Torre), cabeza of the barrio of San Isidro in a rice-growing area of Luzon. His brother Simón (Ronnie Lazaro), head of the local guerilla band, has forced the surrender of the Spanish guardia civil outpost and charged Rafael with the task of imprisoning the guardia Captain and the baryo's Spanish friar, Padre Hidalgo (Yul Vazquez), in the name of the revolutionary government.

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"But when the American troops chasing General Aguinaldo arrive, the Spanish officer and Padre Hidalgo are freed, and a garrison under the command of Lieutenant Ike Compton (Garrett Dillahunt) is left to 'protect' the barrio. The American occupation policy now changes from 'hearts and minds' to 'concentration' (what was called 'hamletting' during the Vietnam war) and Rafael has to answer to both the Americans and the Filipino patriots, with deadly consequences."

Ipalalabas sa September 14 sa Toronto International Film Festival 2010 ang Amigo, at sunod naman ay sa San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Sabi ni Joel, "Nakakatuwa nga kasi tungkol sa ating mga Pinoy at ang pakikipaglaban natin ang kuwento ng Amigo. It's so good to know na pati ang mga mahuhusay na directors and writers ng Hollywood ay interesado sa mga nangyari sa ating bansa noong araw.

"Sabi nga ni John, our country is so rich in history and the whole world must know about it. Natuwa talaga ako when they confirmed na ipapalabas ang Amigo sa Toronto International Film Festival. We pray that the film will get noticed by big film distributors."

Hindi ito ang first time na gumawa ng international movie si Joel Torre. Noong 1997 ay naging part siya ng cast ng pelikulang D.N.A. with Mark Dacascos (host of Iron Chef America) at ang bata pa noong si Tom Taus Jr. In 2009 ay kasama rin si Joel sa Surviving Evil with Billy Zane.

Dagdag ni Joel, "I also finished a French film titled Identity Exchange (Echange d'identité) with Dominique Faruggia, Franck Dubosc, and Richard Berry. It's a comedy at sa South Africa kami nag-shoot ng movie na 'yan."

BACK TO GMA-7. Nagbabalik naman sa GMA-7 primetime drama si Joel via Grazilda. Gaganap siya bilang si Fernando, ang shoe company magnate na siyang tunay na ama ni Grazilda, played by Glaiza de Castro.

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Kuwento niya, "I was able to work with Glaiza in the movie Singsing Ni Lola in 2002. Bata pa siya noon, e. Yung mga naging eksena pa nga niya ay mada-drama na.

"Napansin ko nga na marunong ang batang ito na umarte. Kaya nakakatuwang makita na siya na ang bida ngayon dito sa bagong series ng GMA-7. Tapos, ang director pa namin is Dominic Zapata, who I had the privilege to work with sa first movie niya na Kuya."

Huling napanood si Joel sa Kapuso network ay sa primetime series na Zorro at sa afternoon drama na Saan Darating ang Umaga. Nagkaroon naman siya ng guest role sa katatapos lang na Pilyang Kerubin. Sa bakuran naman ng ABS-CBN, huling lumabas si Joel sa pilot week ng Momay.


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