Actress Bea Alonzo reportedly won’t cooperate in promoting the historical-based movie drama “1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom” by Inspire Studios (II) due to alleged negative experiences during filming.
Entertainment reporter Ogie Diaz revealed this on the latest episode of his “Ogie Diaz Showbiz Update.”
Ogie said someone from Bea’s team supposedly informed him that the actress will never forget her experience with the movie, as she encountered unusual occurrences that didn’t happen with other production outfits.
“Yong hotel room ni Bea—sinagot ng producer. Pero yong hotel room ng kanyang team, ng Bea Team ay hindi sinagot. Ang sumagot ay si Bea. Tapos ito na—saka lamang daw nagkaroon ng aircon tent ilang araw na lang bago matapos ang pelikula—at nasa gubat sila,” Ogie stated.
Ogie also shared that even the movie’s director, Michael Barder, suffered an injury because the route to the shooting location was not safe. But he also explained that this might have been due to a lack of assistants to guide them to the proper path.
Allegedly, Ogie said there should have been an ocular inspection of the forested area.
The entertainment reporter added that an informant from the actress’s team also told him that she personally had her costume made for 1521.
“Dapat ang production yon,” said Ogie. “Ito pa—yong direktor, nasugatan, may injury—na injure din ang mga talent kasi yong mga itak na ginamit [ay] totoo. Mahihiwa ka nga doon ano?”
His insider also allegedly told him that the other talents and dancers in the film were not compensated for their work. The producers reportedly told them that they wouldn’t be paid for their work but could get their pictures taken with Bea.
“Yong mga hotel rooms na kanilang [tinuluyan], kasama ng director, de tabo. Walang shower,” he said. “Pero may mga hotel rooms din naman daw doon na may shower.”
It was also mentioned that the lights used for the movie shoot were only provided by the director, and they were said to be “pocho pocho.” In Filipino slang, this term means that something is of poor quality or the situation is fabricated.
Even water was reportedly scarce for the talents during the shooting of 1521, and Bea herself is said to have provided snacks for them. The talents also allegedly had no service vehicle and had to walk to their hotel even late at night.
Furthermore, there are claims that Bea didn’t feel like one of the film’s protagonists and supposedly spent money to give to the talents.
In response, the producer, Inspire Studios (II), strongly refuted the claims revealed by Ogie through Andrea Trinidad, its public relations officer.
They insisted that they fulfilled their contractual obligation by covering Bea and her staff’s accommodation expenses. However, Bea brought along additional individuals who were not originally part of the contract.
“Si Bea [ay] nagdala ng dagdag na staff, which is not in the signed contract, so hindi sinagot ng producer ang additional room,” she said Thursday in an interview with Palawan News.
The air-conditioned tent was only delayed during the initial three days of the shoot because it was held up at the Manila port during transportation, which was beyond their control.
“We possess receipts that confirm the specific days of air-conditioner rental, disproving the notion that the AC tent arrived only during the last few days of the shoot,” Trinidad added.
“Other crew and casts have written statements that the set was safe. Accidents happen. Ang director, noong nadulas, [ay] dahil nag selfie selfie siya during break time at hindi during the shooting,” she explained further.
She also clarified that it was the producer who had the costume made, but Bea didn’t attend the production’s fitting sessions before the shoot.
Subsequently, Trinidad pointed out that Bea expressed her desire to modify the costume to match her personal style and insisted on having her own tailor handle the alterations. She declined to have it adjusted by the production’s contracted costume designer.
“So she ended up paying for the repair herself since she refused the services of the production tailor,” Trinidad said.
Trinidad also explained that wooden swords were used in the fighting scenes, not real ones. It was not a performer who was involved in the sword preparation; instead, it was a member of the art department responsible for safely storing and transporting real swords, but these were intended for still photos, not for use in the fighting scenes.
Every performer received payment, and the producer can provide payroll receipts to prove this, she added. The dancers, on the other hand, volunteered their services for free because they believed in the mission of 1521.
“They offered their services for free. There was no promise of compensation or picture taking with Bea,” she stated.
Trinidad emphasized too that there were no substandard hotel rooms. All the hotels and accommodations in Palawan provided for the talents and crew had showers and even swimming pools.
Bea stayed at the upscale Panja Hotel, while the American director and actors were accommodated at the high-end Hue Hotel.
“We have receipts to prove that the producer bought his own camera and lights, as well as rented from Manila companies. The director brought some equipment but the producer also bought his and rented some,” added Trinidad.
Regarding the claim that the talents had no access to water and that Bea was the one providing snacks and drinks, Trinidad said the producer has daily receipts to substantiate that these were provided. On numerous occasions, the producer himself made these purchases, although Bea also contributed.
It is also not accurate to assert that the talents had no transportation service, as the production hired 4-6 vans. They have a logbook and receipts as evidence to refute this.
Trinidad further explained that with regards to the allegation of unfulfilled promises made to Bea, everything stipulated in the contract between the producer and the actress was upheld.
“Bea had unreasonable demands and expectations not stated in the contract that the producer did not accommodate because it was not agreed upon and/or they were unreasonable,” she said.
She also said that the most prominent figure on the set of 1521 is Hollywood icon Danny ‘Machete’ Trejo. Despite his significant stature in Hollywood, he did not voice any complaints.
“Kahit isang reklamo wala. Yet he is a Hollywood star unlike anyone else. [He] loves the producer and remained good friends with Francis Ho, and attended the red carpet of 1521 in Los Angeles last June 12, 2023. Danny has been promoting the movie big time in his social media,” said Trinidad.
The movie is targeted to be released in October, but the exact date is yet to be determined. The film, with a storyline written by Francis Lara Ho and Mary Krell-Oishi, will be shown in the U.S. on October 2.