By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Weeks before the launch of “Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral” in the Philippines, New York-based actor Carlo Cruz gave some members of the Philippine community press here insights into the making of another landmark Philippine biographical film.
Cruz plays Juan del Pilar, a younger cousin of Gen. Gregorio “Goyo” del Pilar (a Paulo Avelino starrer), which was 90% a factual character in the movie. “Goyo” opens in the US on September 21, 2018. The film is a sequel to Heneral Luna (2015, starring John Arcilla), which was also written and directed by Jerold Tarug for Artikulo Uno Productions.
After the assassination of Gen. Luna, the young general Goyo took over the reins of the Philippine revolution against the Americans. Here the story of young Philippine revolutionaries begin at the turn of the 21st century.
Excerpts of our August interview.
Q: Tell us about your role as Juan del Pilar and the preparations you made for the role.
CC: I did plenty of research about him. Being the younger cousin of Gen. Del Pilar, there was a lack of material about Juan, so this paved way for creativity. Like Goyo, Juan was a young man who had to be a grown-up. He pushed through with his involvement in the revolution and died for it. I am lucky to be part of this big film.
Q: How was it working with the entire cast and director Tarug?
CC: Direck Jerold strictly followed the 12 hour schedule on the set. The crew was all ganado because of the organized way of using our time. It meant a high regard for us and our team. Most of the scenes were shot in Tarlac and Bataan. We finished in six months.
Q: Will ‘Goyo’ be much better than Heneral Luna? I think the downside of Heneral Luna was its war scenes.
CC: ‘Goyo’ will definitely be much bigger than Heneral Luna, which was character-driven. I understand the war scenes of Heneral Luna were not as impactful. But Goyo will be much better.
Q: What is Goyo’s message to the audience?
CC: The power of film is on its social commentary. We are at a time to (be able to) do that. Goyo tells the youth to get involved into something larger than their own goals.
Q: Do you think independent films will survive in this era?
CC: I realized the potential of Philippine cinema during our shoot. We should always strive for excellence. As a fan and actor, I am excited to see lots of opportunities for indie films. Here in New York, there are a lot of festivals, and new filmmakers. In the Philipppines, we are targetting to show Goyo previews in 50 universities to build on our audience.
Q: As an actor, what is your goal?
CC: I’d like to be a grown-up as an actor. I’ll be (doing a film) where I feel there’s meaning.