Monday, April 09, 2012

Country stardom: 5 foreign films shot in the Philippines

(From the April 1-15 issue of The Fortnightly)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Its many natural and man-made wonders inspiring countless filming possibilities, the Philippines has distinct cityscapes and lush forests already immortalized in over two dozen Hollywood movies. Here’s a short list of the more notable ones:

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
Directed by Peter Weir, the acclaimed film about Indonesia’s tumultuous uprising in 1965 starred Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver as an Australian reporter and a British Embassy officer, respectively. It also had appearances by local talents Bembol Roco and Kuh Ledesma as Indonesian characters. The Philippines doubled for Indonesia after the crew was denied permission to shoot in the country. The Banaue Rice Terraces were shown in establishing and background shots, as well.

I Come With the Rain (2009)
Shot in 2007 and released two years later, the thriller that starred Josh Hartnett as a detective investigating the disappearance of a billionaire’s son required the actor to shoot scenes at Mt.Diwalwal in Davao. According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer article, Hartnett described the mining community location as “a gorgeous part of the world.” He also described his security detail on Jimmy Kimmel’s show after shooting: “We had to have the Filipino army with us the whole time… so I had like a little militia around me.”

Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Philippines was chosen to sub for Saigon in 1977. Francis Ford Coppola’s classic war film “Apocalypse Now” was shot in Zambales and Aurora. Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, and Robert Duvall, among other respected actors, starred in the gritty film, which was troubled by a typhoon and Sheen’s heart attack during production. Sheen’s son Charlie has fond memories of bonding with his recovering dad; they played baseball on the set. Coppola said in a 1994 People interview that his Belize resort and a nearby tropical forest are “a lot like the Philippines.”

Platoon (1986)
Charlie Sheen played the lead role in Oliver Stone’s semi-autobiographical film, back in the country just a few years after dad Martin finished acting duties for that other celebrated Vietnam War project. The actors portraying soldiers were trained intensively in military field operations upon their arrival in the Philippines. “Platoon” was shot in Pagsanjan and Cavite, and eventually won four Academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Filming started in January, requiring traffic rerouting schemes at different Manila locations. Scenes were also shot in Makati, Marikina, and Palawan. Some distinguished local theater actors were also tapped for small roles. Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz sightings across Metro Manila became quite common during the shooting period. The country is “playing itself” in the fourth installment of the hit series of action films, and is scheduled for an August theatrical release. 


Reno said...

What about American Ninja!?!?! hehe.

OLIVER said...

Yup, dito rin yon! Hehe. We had to narrow down to five nga lang.