After taking home numerous awards for his feature film Confessional in the Cinema One Originals film festival in 2007, Jerrold Tarog definitely made his presence felt in the film industry and followed up with more quality feature films like Mangatyanan, Senior Year, Sana Dati as well as being part of the MMFF franchise Shake, Rattle and Roll for the past three years. Now, the multi-talented auteur is at the helm of the upcoming national hero biopic Heneral Luna which he admitted was not the easiest film to make.
“Madaming locations. Umabot kami all the way up to Ilocos, karamihan ng mga battle scenes sa Tarlac, nag-shoot din kami sa Bataan sa Las Casas and then Batangas, Rizal. Naikot namin yung Luzon. Ang pinakamalaki namin na cast is may one day kami na 500 extras. Hindi pa kasama yung cast so more than 500 yun,” he told Push.com.ph
Having graduated at the UP College of Music with a degree in Music Composition, Jerrold isn't shy to admit that he is mostly self taught when it comes to filmmaking. But having already worked in different capacities with acclaimed directors like Chito Roño,Jeffrey Jeturian, Adolf Alix Jr, and Brillante Mendoza, it's not hard to see how expansive his experience in the industry already is.
With Heneral Luna having been based on a script by E.A Rocha and the late Henry Hunt Francia, Jerrold revealed he was involved in several rewrites for the movie as well as helping decide the casting.
“Parang dalawang path yun eh, either we go the purely commercial path or we go with integrity So yung purely commercial namin na I'm not saying is a bad thing, the original choice was actually John Lloyd. He might have pulled it off pero since hindi nakarating sa kanya yung word, so we went with the integrity path na John Arcilla,” he explained.
With Heneral Luna star John Arcilla being very vocal of his admiration for Jerrold's more subdued style (admitting he had never heard Jerrold raise his voice on the set), the director shared his rationale behind this.
“Kasi nga hindi ako film major, nanggaling ako sa music so ang pag-collaborate ko with fellow artists, parang sa banda. Parang ganito yung jam ko so ano yung puwede niyo i-contribute? So medyo hindi siya dictatorial. It's very collaborative, ganun,” he said.
During the movie's grand press conference, John also admitted he was aware people in the industry had pegged him as an actor with an ego, a fact Jerrold is aware of even before shooting started.
“May mga nagsabi rin sa akin before pero parang sa akin, focused lang talaga ao sa trabaho ko. With any actor, hindi lang naman kay John actually, kung meron silang mga dinadalang ego and kung ano mang baggage ang dala nila, hindi ko pinapansin basta hindi sila nakaka-sabotage doon sa trabaho okay lang sa akin. So sa labas lang yun. And then kasi magaling naman si John eh. So yun ang maganda pag kumuha ka ng magaling na actor, wala ka ng gagawin as a director. Upo ka na lang, papanuorin mo na lang sila and they just do their job and cut, yun,” he said.
As the movie opens nationwide on September 9, Jerrold and members of the cast have been holding screenings in different provincial schools which they hope will create interest in the film among students. “As I tell students on our tour, kasi usually may stigma na nga na boring ang historical movie eh. Eto hindi siya straight na history lesson. It's part humanizing the hero, part history lesson but more importantly it's entertainment also. Base naman sa mga advanced screenings namin and yung preview na ipinapalabas namin sa schools, na-ge-gets nila na fun din siya."
After Heneral Luna, Jerrold admits he is currently working on an original script for a psychological horror and co-writing the big screen adaptation of the Arnold Arre graphic novel Mythology Class.
Heneral Luna stars John Arcilla, Epy Quizon, Mylene Dizon, Ronnie Lazaro, Mon Confiado, Joem Bascon, Alex Medina, Ketchup Eusebio, Nonie Buencamino, Leo Martinez, Arron Villaflor and Paulo Avelino. Produced by Artikulo Uno Productions and Directed by Jerrold Tarog. For more details, log on to www.henerallunathemovie.com.