An American actor/director will be shooting a movie about the battle of Mactan with a twist, as the movie will be shot in Palawan.
Michael Copon, who is known for playing Felix Taggaro in the television series One Tree Hill, Vin Keahi in the television series Beyond the Break, and Lucas Kendall in Power Rangers Time Force, and also starred in Scorpion King, is collaborating with Palaweño Francis Lara Ho for the movie 1521: The Battle of Mactan, which will be shot in different locations in Puerto Princesa City and in Taytay town. .
The movie will feature Danny Trejo, who appeared in the movies Desperado, Heat, and From Dusk Till Dawn, and starred as Machete, Bea Alonzo, and Maricel Laxa as main characters.
“This project, I believe, is gonna be revolutionary because of key facts: it is so historic that people don’t know what happened to Magellan. Some people in America think he just died. And a lot of times, the history of the Philippines gets pushed under the rug unnoticed, which led to the passion that we wanted to embrace those stories, and embrace the culture, and say hey! Let me get this out there. So that is a historic thing in itself, the whole situation of Magellan and Lapu-lapu,” Copon said.
“But even more historic is, this is the first time a Hollywood director and producer are producing a movie about a Filipino story with Hollywood stars and Filipino stars in one movie. We have Danny Trejo of Con Air, Machete, and other movies; Bea Alonzo, Maricel Laxa. We also have my buddy Hector David Jr., who was also a power ranger. We try to spread it out with what we have built, we try to spread this connection to the world to make this as global as we can, but about a Filipino story,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lara Ho explained that while the battle happened on Mactan Island in Cebu, they chose Palawan to be the location of the movie for the natural beauty of the province, particularly the beaches and mountains, which Copon said will be an “epic shot just simply because of what we have here.”
“The other thing is, Palawan is very strategic in terms of, I firmly believe that, I am actually pleasantly surprised when we did the casting that there are quite a few Palaweños who are really incredible in talent. They just need the opportunities, and so that’s what we are bringing here. They didn’t need to go to Manila for the audition and those things. We’re giving those opportunities, so that’s strategic for us,” Lara Ho explained. .
“And the people of Palawan who are very friendly, very kind, who treated us to be like one of their own. I want them to be proud of who they are. Sad to say that Palawan is one of the richest in terms of natural resources but our poverty level is very high compared to other provinces, that’s why I’m hoping that bringing projects here would change that,” he added.
Lara Ho further said that while much of the film will be shot in Palawan, they cannot give exact locations where they will shoot so as not to compromise the security of the cast and crew.
“In terms of locations, we prefer not to reveal them right now for the security of our artists because as you know, Palawan is a very small place. We can give you one, which is the Spanish fort in Taytay, but we can’t give you the date,” he said.
Copon also stated that while the movie will be shot locally, it will be Hollywood quality and will be shown internationally.
He also said he might also shoot some scenes in America.
“There is a ship in San Diego (California) we have access to and the muskets to shoot blanks because it’s hard to bring the muskets here,” he said.
Lara Ho also said he is trying to bring a musket which he bought in France. “We try to go as authentic as possible, even with our props. So I actually have a 15th century musket that I purchased from France, and they sent it to the US. And I’m just waiting for my cousin, who is doing research, to say if it’s OK to bring it over,” he said.
Battle of Mactan
Copon further elaborated that while the movie is called Battle of Mactan, the story does not revolve around it.
“It is (part of the story) in the sense that there’s a love story that takes place within. So just like, Magellan and Lapu-lapu are the exterior of the body and Diwata and Enrique are the heart and soul. It’s literally and technically going around this battle that’s going on. So we didn’t want to make a movie that is just about the battle and the war, we actually wanted to create a way to express our love for God and our love for spirituality and love. Those three things combined are the designed arch-types of the two main characters,” he said.
“So the same with Braveheart, William Wallace is like a messiah arch-type. He is like a Jesus Christ in that film, right? He’s the savior arch-type, and he embodies the Ares arch-type, which is the god of war. In this film, we’ve taken the king and Ares arch-types and put them in the battle characters like Lapu-lapu and Magellan, and we’ve taken the messiah arch-type and naturally combined them like Adam and Eve as one. Then we have Enrique, who was actually a real character who was Magellan’s slave and we have embodied a love for spirituality within him. He stands out outside of the soldiers, that’s why the two souls connect in a very Romeo-Juliet, Pocahontas type of way,” he added.
He also said that while the battle is going on, history will be taught from what the perspective is, adding that based on research he did, there were two versions of Lapu-lapu – one who was young in his 30s and was given land and made a Datu because of heroic things he did, and another who might be old.
Lara Ho also said that while the film does not really revolve around the historical aspect of the battle, he wants people to appreciate the cinematic part.
“Regardless of the facts of the matter, I hope that people just enjoy the artistic expression we are trying to produce here. So the historical part is just the Lapu-lapu and Magellan battle. The rest, the majority of the movie really is about the love story that was created in the mindset and imagination of the writer and the director,” he said.
The movie has a tentative playdate of June 12, 2023, in time with the 125th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day celebration.