Indie film Pan de Salawal first made its debut last year as one of the entries of Cinemalaya film festival. This month, it finally gets its much deserved nationwide commerical run. “Nung ginagawa namin ito siyempre naka-focus kami sa paggawa ng pelikula but then habang gumugulong nakikita namin kung gaano kaganda, siyempre we were all hoping na sana wide release hindi lang sa Cinemalaya. Basta nakakabagbag damdaman. It has been an emotional experience for me doing the film, getting to know the other characters in the story with me. Palagay ko kailangan ito mapanuod dahil maganda yung kuwento and it’s a very human story na maraming Pinoy ang matutuwa,” Bodjie Pascua said during the Pan De Salawal presscon held last July 21 in Quezon City.
In Pan de Salawal, Bodjie takes on the role of the pessimistic and abrasive recluse Sal, which is a role he prepared for way in advance before they started shooting. “Ang first job in the theater was in 1973 pero ang first film ko was way back in 1981 extra extra. Mas madami akong nagawang theater productions. I had to read for this part. I auditioned for it. Pangalawang Cinemalaya ko pa lang. Sa pelikula marami na rin ako nagawa pero ito yung kauna-unahang pagkakataon na nabigay sa akin na mag-play ng lead kaya napaka-memorable para sa akin ito. Napakagaan katrabaho ni direk Che. Bihirang mangyari dito sa atin na parang a month before the shoot meron ka nang kopya ng script. Well kailangan kasi nga I will play the lead at saka medyo mahirap din yung gagampanan kong papel kaya I had the luxury of time to really go through the script with a fine toothed comb kaya prepared ako nung nasa set ako,” he recalled.
What is not known to many is that even after more than four decades in the industry, the versatile actor whom many still recognize as the always cheerful and energetic Kuya Bodjie in the children’s show Batibot in the ‘90s did not always want to remembered for his iconic TV character. “There was a time na medyo naiinis na ako pero ngayong I’m in my 60s naakap ko na. Kasi kahit anong set ang salihan ko, kahit anong character ang i-play ko tinatawag nila si Kuya Bodjie pa rin ng mga tao (laughs). So I’ve learned to embrace it and love it,” he said.
Another interesting fact about the veteran actor is that he only decided to tie the knot earlier this year at the age of 64. “Wala pa akong anak. Meron akong asawa. Kakakasal ko lang, would you believe? Nung January. I got married to my best friend and we’ve been friends since 1980s tapos naging on and off yung relationship namin. Then eventually we lived together and decided to get married,” he added.
Pan de Salawal opens in cinemas nationwide starting July 24, Wednesday. It stars Bodjie Pascua, Miel Espinoza, Anna Luna, and Soliman Cruz.