The blog of Amon Warmann: Film journalist.

Interview | Jake Macapagal and Director Sean Ellis Discuss ‘Metro Manila’


British writer-director Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila follows the journey of poverty-stricken Oscar (Jake Macapagal) and his family as they move to the big city of Manila in search of a better life. Unpredictable, moving, and expertly crafted, the film won the audience award at the recent Sundance Film Festival. On behalf of HeyUGuys, I got a chance to sit down with the director ahead of the film’s upcoming UK release.

In the interview, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker discusses the film’s unique origins as well as the reactions of the Filipino people. Additionally, Ellis talks about script tweaks once they went to the Philippines and the need for authenticity, as well as future projects.

Incredibly, Jake Macapagal initially thought he would only be involved on the production side of Metro Manila. Indeed, when he was first contacted, he felt the filmmakers needed help being connected to the ‘indie’ industry. In the actor’s own words, “I asked for the character breakdown of Oscar and thought, I know the type he is looking for… Not me.” Yet, one meeting was all it took for director Sean Ellis to cast his lead.

It proved to be an inspired decision; Macapagal’s earnest performance as Oscar, a family man who is slowly driven to desperate measures, is easily the main draw of Metro Manila. In the interview, Jake discusses what it was like working with his fellow cast members John Acrilla and Althea Vega, as well as the process of adapting the English script to Tagalog.

These interviews were originally published at HeyUGuys.

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