!holaMJ Marfori – The Philippine Star

September 18, 2021 | 12:00am

Still on a high from his groundbreaking win, we had quite a lengthy chat with the 78th Venice International Film Festival Best Actor John Arcilla, who was celebrating in the confines of his hotel room in Ilocos during his locked-in taping for FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

John said he did not even bother to watch the livestream of the awarding at around past midnight so he would not keep his hopes up, especially that days before he somewhat had a hunch that he did have a chance at winning because his director Erik Matti attended the filmfest in person.

“Nag-text sa akin si Erik. Sabi niya, John hinahanap ka ng organizer ng Venice. Bakit daw wala ka rito? Sabi ko na nga ba sa iyo baka manalo ka at ikaw lang ang wala dito,” recalled the actor. “Ang sabi ko hindi ko kaya iyong 14 days quarantine kasi pupunta ako doon ng three days babalik ako rito for my own agony for 14 days tapos hindi ko pa sigurado na mananalo ako. Kung sigurado ako kapag umuwi ako rito kahit pa 14 days iyan, kalahati noon iyong seven days high lang ako at puro interviews, hindi ko na mararamdaman!”

John plays the character of Sisoy Salas in On The Job: The Missing 8. Sisoy is a corrupt radio journalist who had a complete backstory, which John credits for bumping up the chance for him to bag the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and actually win. It was also a reason that made him more confident to post the past Volpi Cup winners such as Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Willem Dafoe and Javier Bardem and manifest that he, too, would win.

“Even before this awards night, sobrang mangangarap na ako,” said he. “Kasi iyong feeling ko, iyong role complete iyong arc niya and he transformed into a different guy. Kung baga iyong journey niya sa isang actor at character, makikita mo na napaka-clear… ang sarap niya gawin bilang actor at feeling ko may chance talaga siya.” Now that he won, added John, “I watched their films while I’m just here on the other side of the globe and then suddenly I am now part of that roster! Hahahaha!”

John knew he was victorious when his family group chat alert nonstop at two a.m. after they announced him as a winner in Venice. “Nanuod ng live iyong family ko sabi ko. ‘Oh my gosh, is this it?’ Hahaha! That is one of the pinaka-extreme na dreams ko eh! Kasi diba pag cup, it is about being a victor, it is about being a champion! Of course, I want to have a Cannes, I want to have a Golden Bear, I want to have the Bafta. Pero kasi iyong shape niya and it is the oldest award-giving body!”

A new goal has opened for John to achieve after winning, “It is for me a sign of this door opening to this global arena,” said he. “That is a dream come true for me because from the very beginning, I want to do global projects and I want to be a global actor.”

We loved John as a hero when he played Heneral Luna perfectly. Now, it is time the world marvels at his acting prowess as a superhero from the Philippines.

“Iyan ang isa sa pinaka pangarap ko na I am not a bulky person but look at naman Batman, he wears a mask on his body with abs and all,” said he. “Pwede naman ako maging kontrabida ni Batman na pangalan ko man lang is bagyo or isa sa mga freak na character sa X-Men! Whatever it is, those are my dreams also! Remember, I got the award and kasama ko at isa sa nakuhanan ko sa line-up ay si Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).”

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