Bea Alonzo and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan to Star in Filipino Hollywood Production of Battle of Mactan
MANILA, Philippines — Award-winning actresses Bea Alonzo and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan will play sisters in the upcoming film “1521,” which will depict the events of the historic Battle of Mactan.
“1521” is a groundbreaking collaboration between the United States and the Philippines, as it will be the first time a Hollywood production has done a project about the Philippines in the country and features Filipino actors.
The film’s Filipino-American director Michael Copon, best known for his early work in “Power Rangers” and “One Tree Hill,” will portray the legendary hero Lapu-Lapu through whom much of the story will be told.
Alonzo and Laxa-Pangilinan’s characters are called Diwata and Ahmani, with the former setting up the film through a dream sequence that will blur the lines of reality and history, almost reminiscent of the “Outlander” series.
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Latin icon Danny Trejo, famous for his character Machete in numerous films, notably with Robert Rodriguez, will play Ferdinand Magellan while Copon’s “Power Rangers” co-star Hector David Jr. will play Magellan’s translator and l lover of Alonzo, Enrique.
Copon said Laxa-Pangilinan was cast because she “embodied the powerful Filipina woman” and for her beauty and poise, while Alonzo’s credits spoke for her, hence the star’s inclusion of “One More Luck”.
The director added that he was looking for someone with a Rachel McAdams-like nature and was attracted to Alonzo’s shyness, also saying he was thrilled to direct her in her first Hollywood role.
Production on the film has already begun in Palawan, the home province of the film’s producer, Francis Lara Ho, who praised the Philippines for being ahead during its post-war film heyday.
Ho said the idea for “1521” started with the desire in his heart to tell Filipino stories of heroism, and after meeting Copon in April, he began conceptualizing making a documentary about Lapu- Lapu, which eventually became a feature film.
Copon echoed this by saying that he is dedicated to making films about Filipino culture, with Filipinos and as much as possible in the Philippines, and through “1521” hopes to take such storytelling to the highest level.
The producer clarified that “1521” is not entirely a historical film like the Filipino films “Bonifacio” and “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral”, but rather a love story with a war background like “Pocahontas” and “Braveheart , “even if they were still inspired by historical documents.
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Copon actually compared Mel Gibson‘s titular character in “Braveheart” to Lapu-Lapu and their similar courage to fight for their people.
Lara Ho also supported the decision to shoot in Palawan rather than Cebu because the old island had jungles and areas that still look like the 1500s, in addition, to provide more opportunities for Palaweños he has. surprisingly found incredibly talented.
“It’s 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,” Lara Ho added. “That’s why I hope that bringing projects here will change that.”
“1521” is set to be released on June 12, 2023, which will coincide with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Philippine independence. Lara Ho and Copon are in talks with numerous organizations to ensure that global distribution is expansive.
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