Despite being put to the test in playing two contrasting characters in his first independent feature, the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) New Wave section entry "Paglaya sa Tanikala," director Michael Angelo Dagñalan said that Matteo Guidicelli's willingness to learn from peers had seen him through.
In an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment during the press screening of the film, Dagñalan commended Matteo for being "magaan makatrabaho."
"First independent film niya [ito], so talagang excited siya. Ginagawa niya lahat ng makakaya niya para maka-adapt siya sa demands ng shoot. Mag-shoot siya sa amin, then the next day shoot siya ulit, parang lagari. Parang ang tulog niya lang [ay] 'yung biyahe niya papunta sa set," the director shared.
Guidicelli plays dual roles in "Tanikala," a commissioned work by the Somascan priests to commemorate the 500th year commemoration of 16th century Italian St. Jerome Emiliani's liberation from the shackles through Mama Mary. The first is that of Emiliani, formerly a troublemaker who became a soldier that fought in a war against the Germans before he lived the spiritual life; the other, a modern-day Somascan brother named Jerry who helps children, particularly the hardheaded Berto (played by Micko Laurente), in an orphanage called Casa Miani.
Dagñalan revealed, "Mahirap [para] sa kanya (Matteo) kasi isang present time, isang flashback. Kasi sundalong pumapatay 'yung character niya do'n, tapos sa present time mabait na brother. So every time lalapit siya, tatanungin niya 'ko kung papa'no na 'yung atake sa scene.
"So kung gano'n kasi artista mo, madaling mai-guide kumbaga. Okay 'yon, magaan. And then I think the attitude helps na open sa mga pag-guide," he said.
But how was Guidicelli able to land this special lead role? Dagñalan revealed that it was his associate producer Ferdie Lapuz's idea to consider Guidicelli for the role initially because of the requirement to find a half-Filipino and half-Italian actor "para mas mabilis kasi may lenggwaheng Italayano sa flashbacks."
"Pero ayun nga, umangat talaga siya. Saka nalaman ko nga rin na may drama background siya ng acting sa New York. Sabi ko, 'kaya niya, kaya niya 'yung gano'ng nagshi-shift 'yung character,"' he said.
"Tanikala" and the four other entries under MMFF's New Wave section will be screened from Dec. 18 to 22 at Glorietta Cinemas in Makati City.
Watch: 2013 MMFF Official Entries