THE camp of Manny Pacquiao has defended the boxer-politician’s casting as the main star of a historical movie about revolutionary general Miguel Malvar that is set for an international release next year.
Pacquiao’s starring role has been drawing flak from netizens as well as from descendants of the Batangueño hero.
“Manny did not volunteer for the job and he is not even spending a single centavo for this venture. Hindi siya mag-i-invest dito, talent lang talaga siya and he was asked to do the role,” said veteran showbiz talent manager Arnold Vegafria.
A direct descendant of Gen. Malvar, film executive producer and director Gabriel Malvar, isn't happy with the casting of Pacquiao in the role, although he made it clear his opposition had nothing to do with the boxer's acting chops.
The young Malvar also claimed the family wasn't consulted about the project.
"Had I been consulted, I would have said that I preferred someone not involved in politics or in public service to portray him," said the younger Malvar.
"I do not think he (Gen Malvar) would have preferred to have his name associated with anyone in politics and government service. I would like his name and legacy totally apart from the political milieu."
The Pacquiao lead role was also a butt of joke for some netizens with some even thinking that the poster which was posted on social media was just a meme or practical joke.
Here are some of the comments on Twitter:
Asked why Pacquiao was chosen from hundreds of high-caliber actors in the country, the outspoken ALV Talent Circuit big boss replied: “International release yung movie, so kailangan mo ng pang-draw. Yung sikat, yung kilala sa ibang bansa.”
“Sino ba ang sikat na Pilipino na kilala sa ibang bansa? Si Pacquiao lang naman, di ba?” added Vegrafria, who also handles the showbiz, endorsements, and television commitments of the ring icon.
Pacquiao has already starred in 10 films from 2000 to 2015, most of which flopped in the box office.
His last foray, the documentary biopic Manny, which was also released internationally, received unfavorable reviews from international critics and was even rated 25% and labeled “shallow” by Rotten Tomatoes, an American film and television review aggregator.
Vegafria bared that Pacquiao is set to be backed by an all-star cast that will include former actor and now Manila mayor Isko Moreno as Andres Bonifacio and former Laguna governor ER Ejercito as Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.
A Spin.ph source bared that matinee idol Alden Richards is also being considered as Dr. Jose Rizal while other season actors like Raymond Bagatsing, Joel Torre and many others are also being considered for key roles.
No leading lady has been named for the movie to be directed by Jose “Kaka” Balagtas and produced by JMV Films and four other partners.
Vegafia told Spin.ph that Pacquiao will undergo a rigid acting and speech workshop, especially since the Malvar role will require a distinct Batangueno accent.
“Sasalang siya sa workshop saka hindi naman talaga Batangueno accent ang ipo- portray, tagalog lang. Saka parang magmumukhang modern yung approach,” said Vegafria.
The producers of the movie turned to Instagram to defend their choice for the lead role.
Pacquiao is set to begin shooting in Batangas on October 18 and is expected to complete all his sequence in 15 days.
“Pero dahil may Senate commitment siya, hindi siya araw-araw shoot. Kaya malamang abutin siya ng 30 days to complete all his takes,” said Vegafria, also the manager of Bianca King, Megan Young, Ali Forbes, Baron Geisler and singer Kris Lawrence.