It felt “surreal” for John Arcilla to finally see himself in the much-anticipated Hollywood action movie, The Bourne Legacy.
The Filipino actor was beaming when he talked about the action thriller where he shares a little screen time with Hollywood lead stars Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz.
“Parang surreal, e. Sobrang nakaka-excite kapag nanonood ka ng isang Hollywood film—tapos nakikita mo yung bansa mo, yung sarili mo, ibang klase,” John said at the Philippine premiere of The Bourne Legacy held at the Resorts World Manila last August 5.
He also lauded the fast-paced motorcycle chase scene that began on Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard and ended at the Navotas Fish Port.
“Sabi ko nga itong motorcycle chase na ’to, sa lahat ng international films na napanood ko, parang ngayon lang ako nakakita ng ganun ka-superb.
"Ang karaniwan kasi, car chase, pero ito, motorcycle chase na may jeep, may police patrol car. Parang natabunan niya yung buong istorya, yung sa motorcycle chase lang na yun. Exciting!”
Aside from celebrating his participation in this international project, John also takes pride to see the Philippines featured prominently in this fourth installment of the Bourne franchise.
Even if the slums of Metro Manila are prominently seen in the movie, John believes that the country’s picturesque landscape will outweigh the impact that the slums may leave.
“Exciting, kasi after so long, ngayong lang ulit tayo nagkaroon ng mainstream Hollywood movie na mahaba ang exposure ng Metro Manila.
“Parang surreal talaga na, ‘Wow, andun ako sa isang Hollywood film!’ Tapos ang ganda-ganda nung Maynila…bilang isang Pinoy, ‘Ito ba talaga yung itsura ng Maynila?’
“Gusto ko rin matutunan ng mga Filipino na hindi nakakatakot makita yung mahihirap na part ng Pilipinas, yung poor areas.
“In the first place, ’pinakita rin yung magagandang places, tulad ng Palawan.
"Maganda nga ‘yan, kasi nakikita sa buong mundo yung istura ng dalawang part ng Pilipinas—at para ma-solve natin kung ayaw natin talaga ng kahirapan.”
He was himself stunned by the cinematography showing El Nido in the last part of the film.
"Yung Pilipinas, makikita ng buong mundo. Ang kagandahan nito, bumawi tayo nung ending. Parang suddenly, nakakita sila ng paradise sa gitna ng Pilipinas, wow!”
GOOD FEEDBACK FROM CO-STARS. In The Bourne Legacy, John has a minor role as the chief security guard of a laboratory. It is in this laboratory that Rachel Weisz is a chemist.
He spent over 12 hours shooting his scenes for the movie, and in that span of time, John apparently left a good impression on his co-stars and the film’s director, Tony Gilroy.
"Nakarinig naman ako ng magandang feedback sa director ko. Sa interview, sabi niya na brilliant actor daw ako. Saka sabi naman ni Rachel Weisz, ako daw ay wonderful actor.
"So sabi ko for such a short participation... sabi nga nila there is no small role, only small actors," he said with a hearty laugh.
He added: “For a short scene, more than twelve hours ko silang kasama, and nakita ko sila bilang tao, hindi bilang artista, and wala naman akong nakita sa kanila na star complex.
“Kahit napakaikli ng part ko, sinabi nila sa akin yun [papuri], and I don’t think they need that for publicity. I found it sincere and hindi ko makakalimutan yun.”
How was it like working with the Academy Award-winning British actress Rachel Weisz?
“Si Rachel Weisz, now and then, pagkatapos ng break, kwentuhan nang kwentuhan lang kami.
“Tinanong niya ako [about the slums], ‘What are you doing about it?’
“Well, ang sabi ko, our government is trying solve it by fighting against corruption. Kasi para sa kanila parang absurd kasi wala namang ganun sa kanilang bansa ng mga ganyang squatters area.
"Kung meron man sa kanilang mga homeless, choice na iyon ng mga homeless, e. Sa atin, dala iyon ng poverty.
“Nakita ko sincere, di yung nag-aacting lang na concerned. Hindi, e, talagang concerned.”
In fact, John recalled that Rachel donated money to renovate a playground in San Andres, Manila.
He said he witnessed it. “Kasama ako sa gift-giving, nagbigay sila ng school bags and school supplies sa mga taga doon.”
The thespian also had the chance to meet Daniel Craig, the husband of Rachel, when "James Bond" visited the country.
When asked to describe Jeremy Renner, John said, “Si Jeremy, actually, funny siya, super kwela. Hindi siya yung tipong seryoso. Seryoso lang siya kapag shooting na pero pag wala, ang kwela-kwela niya.
“Pagkatapos namin sa eksena pupunta kami sa side, magke-kwentuhan, mag yo-yosi yung mga ganun, simple lang.”
John also observed that his co-stars are quite conscious about the number of hours that they spend on the set.
“Kapag lagpas ng eight hours, gumaganun na talaga silang dalawa." John motions as if pointing to a wristwatch.
"Hindi sila nagagalit, pero sa kanila kasi, after eight hours considered overtime na.”
Since The Bourne Legacy will be screened in various countries worldwide, the Pinoy thespian believes this movie will have a huge impact on the local filmmaking industry.
“It would open a lot of doors when it comes to international productions here in the country. Yun yung tingin kong mangyayari.
"It would really help a lot of people, hindi lang mga artists on cam pero also artists behind the scenes. This is also a good source of revenue for the government.”