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Monday, May 27, 2024

Piolo Pascual takes on triple duty in ambitious horror flick ‘Mallari’

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Piolo Pascual steps into the spotlight – and a trio of roles – in Mallari, one of the most anticipated entries at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). This highly ambitious film marks not only his first foray into horror but also his chance to refine his craft by playing three distinct characters.

During the film’s fancon and grand media conference, the 46-year-old actor admitted that he almost said no to the project. His initial reluctance stemmed from the script’s demanding scope. He directly inquired about the production value, seeking assurance that it could match the film’s grand vision.

This concern proved unfounded, as Piolo later admits, “With Warner Bros. backing this film, my goal goes beyond box office success to international recognition, aiming to spotlight Philippine cinema, particularly the thriving horror genre.”

Ron Angeles

Piolo even said, “It was hard because three roles, you know. So, I just… like as an actor, that’s the challenge, not knowing what to expect.

“By just saying yes, I guess for me, I was up for the challenge and I just wanted to do something different. And when this came about, I guess it just fell into place, and the big production value alone was a big consideration. It’s very ambitious, but they lived up to the expectations and everything. So, I’m just really happy about that.”

Additionally, Piolo accepted the role of playing three characters, as he viewed it as an opportunity to refine his craft. 

Janella Salvador

“As an actor, that is the challenge, not knowing what to expect. I was up for the challenge and wanted to do something different. It fell into place. The production value alone was very ambitious, but it lived up to expectations,” he said.

Writer Joaquin Enrico Santos revealed that Piolo’s roles began as a joke, but during script development, they recognized the three characters as an essential storytelling tool. 

“The director and I were boasting during brainstorming. When one of us suggested something, the other would add to it. We ended up with one – I told Direk I didn’t want just one, let’s make it two for a present-day scenario. He said, ‘Why not three?’ and it started as a bet,” the writer admitted.

Beauty queen and veteran actress Gloria Diaz

“Initially, it seemed impossible because of the time gaps in 1812 and 2023. The Gen Z wouldn’t relate. There’s no emotional connection leading to 2023. Of course, in MMFF 2023, the audience is younger— so, we needed to bridge the gap. From 1812 to 1946, and then to almost 2023. To make it relatable, we invented some supernatural elements to show the audience 1812,” he added.

Reputed as the most expensive film in MMFF 2023,  Mallari required filming in two distant provinces to ensure authenticity, alongside extensive soundstage work for special effects. 

A complete 19th-century Pampanga plaza was constructed in a remote Batangas location, including a fully functional church. Notably, most of the cast members have never ventured into roles as intense and demanding as the ones they portray in this film.

JC Santos

Warner Bros. has made a bold and strategic move by entering the resurgent Philippine cinema market. Beyond local film distribution, Warner Bros. and Mentorque are exploring avenues for Warner Bros. to distribute Filipino films across the Asian region, collaborate on streaming platforms, and even consider co-productions in the future. 

Also included in the cast are Mylene Dizon, Janella Salvador, Gloria Diaz, Tommy Alejandrino, Elisse Joson, and JC Santos.

Directed by Derick Cabrido, Mallari is a narrative that blends elements of fiction and reality, drawing inspiration from the actual events surrounding Fr. Juan Severino Mallari. The film is now screening in cinemas nationwide. 

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