JMV Production on Saturday defended its decision to cast Senator Manny Pacquiao to portray General Miguel Malvar in a new biopic slated for a release in 2020.
This, after some members of the late Filipino general's clan expressed dismay over choice of the Boxing Champ to lead the film. For one, Gabriel Malvar, a great grandson of the hero, said that it would be "disrespectful" and a "disservice" to his great-grandfather if Manny ends up portraying his character.
"My fear is that he is larger than life and his character cannot be separated from Manny Pacquiao the person. If he plays lolo Miguel, the viewers will not be able to see and appreciate my grandfather. Senator Pacquiao’s personality will dominate. That is not a knock on the senator. It is the truth. He is too big to be contained in any role for that matter. His essence will eventually prevail. And it would be disrespectful and a disservice to my great-grandfather if even in the movie about his life, he is not the center of the attention and is merely an afterthought with all the distractions," he said.
He also said that he didn't know of the project beforehand, and, in fact, initially thought of it as a joke upon seeing the news on social media.
The younger Malvar went on: "It was only after I had seen videos about the formal launch that I realized it was factual. I only found out about it like everyone else through media.
"Apparently, a relative had unilaterally decided that he would enter into an agreement with outside parties to produce the Malvar film without the express consent of the entire clan. This caught us by surprise.
"The Malvar clan is huge. Lolo Miguel and Lola Ulay had 11 children. Pablo, my grandfather, is the youngest child. The different lines of direct descendants were not informed nor consulted. This should not be difficult to do as the prominent representatives of each line can easily call or message each other."
However, in an official statement, Atty. Jose Malvar Villegas Jr., head of the JMV Film Production and also a grandson of the general, said it stands by its choice and claimed that critics of the project only "twist the casting of Manny as a political ploy".
"We are calling on whomsoever are the critics of the choice of Sen. Pacquiao as Gen. Malvar to instead of their bickerings brought about by their political agendas... unite for the sake of correcting our history and exposing the abuses of our former colonial masters that have plundered the Philippines for many centuries, and which we can now expose to the world," he added.
Villegas went on to state that he's mulling legal action against bashers and trolls who have been sending derogatory remarks against those involved in the making of the movie.
An official statement from JMV Film Production themselves. The team would like to ask everyone to take a moment to read this as it is in our right to share our piece on behalf of the critics who has mentioned anything so far for the production. Let us remember to be mindful and practice appreciation instead, for bringing light into a historical story that has never been told before. Nonetheless, the entirety of the production are grateful for all the support its been getting so far.
Morever, he said that the general's life story and the value it holds in the Philippine history belongs to the people, thus, cannot be monopolized by his immediate family, as stated in the Heritage Law.
"Anybody can write or do a movie on the national hero even without the concent or knowledge of his next of [kin]," he added.
Meanwhile, Manny has yet to issue his official statement on the matter as of press time.