Joel Torre

More details about Baryo

Manila Bulletin has an interview with Joel Torre, a Filipino actor who will play a character named Rafael in Baryo, while the local Inquirer talked to director John Sayles.

Joel is in the thick of preparations for his on-and-off-screen participation in American independent filmmaker John Sayles’ historical war drama, “Baryo,” which will start its six-week shoot in Bohol on Feb. 2. (…)

Baryo,” says Joel, is set during the Philippine-American War that took place from 1899 to 1902 and imparts different points of view – that of the colonizers, the rebels, and the civilians caught in the crossfire. It also touches on the roots of American imperialism.

“It’s an obscure part of our history that needs to be told,” the Bacolod native, who broke into the biz via Peque Gallaga’s 1982 war epic, “Oro, Plata, Mata,” tells Manila Bulletin Entertainment Online in an interview, adding that the movie will surely raise questions.

Joel says “Baryo” may stir controversy especially since Sayles, whose original screenplays for 1993’s “Passion Fish” and 1997’s “Lone Star” had both been nominated for Oscars, is known to tackle political and social issues in his films. (…)

Joining Joel onscreen are foreign actors headed by Sayles regular Chris Cooper, Oscar best supporting actor for 2002’s “Adaptation,” who will play an American colonel.

Garret Dillahunt, notably of “No Country for Old Men,” is also in the movie along with other US-based actors including Fil-Am Arthur Acuna.

Joel informs us that another Sayles regular, David Strathairn, whose performance in 2005’s “Good Night, and Good Luck” earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor, was supposed to be in “Baryo” as well, but schedule conflict prevented him from doing so.

Ronnie Lazaro, Pen Medina, John Arcilla, Joe Gruta, Bodjie Pascua, Spanky Manikan, Rio Locsin, Irma Adlawan, and some local Bohol talents round up the cast.

Baryo” is set for a U.S. release later this year. [Manila Bulletin]

And from the other article:

“In my readings, I stumbled on the Philippine-American War, which is hardly tackled in history books. I saw parallels between the Philippines and Vietnam and the other wars we’ve been in,” Sayles recounted.

He immersed himself in historical documents from that era, he said, including diaries of American soldiers, Nick Joaquin’s books and Jose Rizal’s novels in original Spanish.

Three years later, he came up with his own novel. “I’ve yet to find a publisher for the novel, but when I focused on the script, it took me only a month to write it,” said Sayles.

The English script was translated to Tagalog by local screenwriter Jose F. Lacaba.

Filming “Baryo” can be a mighty challenge, Sayles admitted. After sifting through tons of material, he must recreate history in organic detail—the sound of coughing motorbikes and crowing roosters, notwithstanding.

“Our production designer, Rodel Cruz, is building a village on the edge of a rice field,” he related.

Although he is bringing in American actors (like DJ Qualls and Garret Dillahunt) to play the occupying army, Sayles will work with homegrown talents like Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro, Irma Adlawan, Spanky Manikan, Rio Locsin, John Arcilla, among other actors. [Inquirer]

In other news, The Road is on the short list for the best makeup Oscar. (The final list of nominations will be announced on February 2.)