Christopher de Leon and Dina Bonnevie already have decades of experience in showbiz with multiple recognition tucked in their respective belts. Still, they are generous with praise for the professionalism and hard work of younger actors, particularly those they worked with in the action movie “Across The Crescent Moon.” It stars Matteo Guidicelli as a Muslim soldier fighting human trafficking in Mindanao.
“Bow ako kay Matteo,” said Christopher who played Matteo’s dad in the movie. “There was a time when we were shooting, he was really sick, nanginginig na nga eh. (But) I would see his dedication, his passion in his work. Ako lagnat lang, pack-up na ako. Siya trangkaso talaga.
“(At) ’yung action and dramatic scenes that direk wants from Matteo, no doubles, wala. ’Yung Tausug lines, he was perfect with it. He’s a very passionate guy. He’s dedicated. He’s into his career.”
Christopher recounted the first time they did a scene together.
“My first scene with Matteo was at a mosque. I was like ‘Is this Matteo? Is he going to be the mayabang star of ABS-CBN?’ (But) no, he was not. He was so humble, very accommodating, gracious. Very magalang. And I like that.”
Dina, who plays Alex Godinez’s mother in the film, said very much the same thing about Matteo. She has worked with many young stars before but she singled out Matteo for being humble.
“Maraming young stars na malaki ang ulo (pero siya) he’s so humble, sobrang humble. His EQ (Emotional Quotient) is so high that he really feels his role. Very observant siya and he’s willing to learn. He’s such a gentleman, very sweet and no ere,” she said.
Alex and Jerene Tan also earned Dina’s admiration. Alex previously performed in the stage play “American Idiot,” where she was named Best Featured Actress by Broadway World Philippines. Jerene, on the other hand, is a new actress and a blogger.
“Who would think that rich kids could actually star in an indie movie? When I first worked with Alex, I was very surprised. She had difficulty with Tagalog. Inglisera just like me in the past, sabi ko, ‘Dati hindi din ako magaling mag-Tagalog but I tried.’ So what really struck me is first day pa lang, she was good. She’s a thinking actress. She was so professional. She tried her best to really say the lines and right away. Talagang nabigyan niya ng buhay ang character niya.
“With Jerene naman, can you imagine, first day pa lang maka-eksena ko siya, first shooting day umiiyak kaagad. Normally when a new actress works with me hindi makaiyak. Parang wino-workshop ko pa. Siya right away she knew her lines, she was crying already. These two young girls are very talented and they deserve more roles,” Dina said.
Christopher revealed the film’s casting was one of the reasons he accepted the role. While he and Dina have starred in many projects together, he is still in awe of Dina’s acting skills.
“Nung sinabi nga sa akin na Dina, Gabby (Concepcion) and Sandy (Andolong) will be in the movie, I really had to grab the role right away.
“Dina is a perfectionist. Honestly, I get rattled when I do scenes with her. Just like a perfectionist, she memorizes her line like peanuts. She just reads and memorized na niya, the emotions and all that. It’s always a thrill when I get a movie na ka-partner ko ang isang Dina Bonnevie.
“One thing very nice about this is we’ve done a lot of movies together and sanay na kami. We’ve known each other for such a long time. Thank God that we’re in this movie together,” he said.
Dina returned the praise.
“It’s always a pleasure working with Christopher. One, he’s very gwapo. Ang hirap naman magkaroon ng leading man na pangit, di ba? And with Boyet kasi, everything parang it’s always fresh. It’s nice working with him kasi ini-internalize niya talaga ’yung movie. He really reads the scripts. It’s different when you’re working with thinking actors. I think God’s hands really worked for this movie.”
It is the first time Christopher has played Muslim. In preparing for his role, he learned more about their culture and traditions. He even immersed himself by getting to know some Muslims in a community in Taguig.
“After reading the script, I learned the first shooting day will be at a mosque and they wanted us to pray. I had to ask around about their ways and I would know about their attitude. Before I go to a mosque, I have to do this cleansing ritual. When you enter, you pray with your feet together, facing the east. They do this many times a day. Sometimes pag-iisipan din natin that they pray more than some Christians. That’s really amazing. There are a lot of really good Muslims,” he said.
Shooting in Tawi-Tawi allowed Christopher to see how beautiful it really is in the southern most tip of the Philippines.
“We went to this island, where the oldest mosque in the Philippines is located, it was there already even before Magellan came.
People in Tawi-Tawi are so nice. The reason why we shot in Tawi-Tawi was because some of the human traffickers doon sila dumadaan. It was scary. But when I was there, I had a grand time. People were nice, very accommodating. It is a beautiful place,” he said.
“Across The Crescent Moon” was written and directed by Baby Nebrida. Showing on Jan. 25, the film also stars Joem Bascon, Ivan Carapiet, Ku Aquino, Sasha Tajaran, Leo Martinez, Rez Cortez and Jackie Aquino. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)
Tags: Christopher de Leon, Dina Bonnevie, Esteemed actors find inspiration in ‘Crescent’ co-stars, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, With report from Jojo P. Panaligan, “Across The Crescent Moon”