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Only in Hollywood
Fil-Am actor bares details of new John Sayles film

By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:46:00 12/19/2009

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Celebrities

LOS ANGELES?Arthur Acua, a Fil-Am actor who is currently rehearsing ?Whisper House,? Duncan Sheik?s first musical since his Tony Award-winner ?Spring Awakening,? is in the cast of ?Baryo,? a film set to be shot by writer-director John Sayles next month in the Philippines.

John, who wrote and directed such acclaimed films as ?Lone Star? (for which he earned Oscar and Golden Globe Best Screenplay nods), ?Eight Men Out,? ?Matewan,? ?The Secret of Roan Inish,? ?Return of the Seacaucus Seven? and ?Passion Fish,? is directing ?Baryo? from his own script inspired by his unpublished novel, ?Some Time in the Sun.? The fictional story is set in the Philippine-American War in 1898, which John views as a precursor of the US military venture in Vietnam.

Arthur told us in an e-mail interview that he joins Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro, Miguel Faustman and other Filipino actors in the cast. Joel and Ronnie have been helping John prepare the shoot in the Philippines. The American cast is headed by Chris Cooper, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor award for ?Adaptation? and is one of the actors frequently cast by John in his films.

?Joel recommended me to John,? Arthur said. ?Then I auditioned for John in Manila.? The actor, who appeared in plays in the Philippines before he left for the US in the late 1980s, landed the role of Macario Locsin, which he described as ?the hard-edged member of the rebels repelling the Americans in the mountains. When others are given a ration of bullets, Macario is allowed twice the amount because he always hits the mark. He makes the kill. John has researched everything so thoroughly.?

Of his director, Arthur remarked, ?The first Sayles film I saw was ?Matewan.? It was excellent. I admire him for the specificity of his shots which capture all the subtle nuances.? He added, ?I?m looking forward to shooting in Bohol. The Philippines is still my home.?

Film credits

While John begins filming ?Baryo? in January, Arthur doesn?t have to report on the set until he finishes his run on ?Whisper House? at the venerable The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. ?My last show is on Feb. 21,? he said. ?I?ll fly back to Manila then Bohol the following day.?

Arthur?s film credits include Lav Diaz?s ?Batang West Side,? in which he, Joel, Yul Servo and Ruben Tizon shared Best Actor honors at the 2001 Cinemanila International Film Festival. He also appeared in ?Rigodon,? ?Giving Care? and ?Hubad.? Among his TV credits are ?Law and Order,? ?As the World Turns? and ?One Life to Live.?

Arthur and his fiance, actress Maritina Romulo (youngest granddaughter of the late Carlos P. Romulo, the outstanding Filipino diplomat, soldier and journalist), star in a short film directed by Mae Caralde that is competing in the Asean-ROK Film Festival next year. He and Maritina split their time between the US and the Philippines.

Among Arthur?s credits on the Philippine stage are ?Norman ? Is That You?? with SRO Philippines and ?A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum? and ?The Real Thing? with Repertory Philippines. In the US, Arthur won an Obie Award as part of the ensemble of ?The Romance of Magno Rubio.?

Original cast member

In Duncan?s ?Whisper House,? which is described as about ?a young boy in World War II who begins to think his lighthouse home is haunted,? Arthur is the only original cast member retained after the musical was ?workshopped? three times. The female lead is now played by Mare Winningham, the Emmy-winning actress who plays Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal?s stepmom in Jim Sheridan?s ?Brothers.?

According to Arthur, Yasuhiro, his character in ?Whisper ?,? is ?a Japanese immigrant working for a woman and helps her run the lighthouse. It is set in World War II era New England, when the Japanese were considered the worst of the minorities. Yasuhiro is suspected of being a spy. As the story unfolds, the truth emerges.?

?Whisper ?? opens on Jan. 13 (more information at www.theoldglobe.org).

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_5585
@yahoo.com and read his blog, ?The Nepales Report,? on http://blogs.inquirer.net/nepalesreport.



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