Coco Martin picks up the dagger of late action great Fernando Poe, Jr. and continues the saga of “Ang Panday.”
The late FPJ has always been an inspiration, the actor said. Thus, after successfully giving life to FPJ’s Cardo in the primetime series, “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” Coco has chosen to play another of FPJ’s beloved character, the legendary Panday.
In the latest retelling of the beloved character created by Carlo J. Caparas and artist Steve Gan, the story will revolve around the grandson of original Panday. Far from the brooding Flavio of FPJ, Coco’s Flavio III is a street-smart guy who grows up in Tondo. The apo gets into scrapes and fights, but takes on his biggest challenge when he learns his bloodline is destined to save humanity from Lizardo (Jake Cuenca) who comes back from the world of darkness to once again wreck havoc to the human race.
He scours different worlds to be able to gain the trust of the mythical power of the legendary sword. And like the original beloved hero, Flavio III gets to meet various characters that will help him become the rightful heir to the revered Panday title.
“Ang Panday” is not only an iconic character in Pinoy pop culture, but also arguably one of the most beloved Pinoy comic book heroes of all time as it embodies the ideals of truth and justice.
Aware of the great challenge of tackling a legendary character, Coco left no stone unturned to make “Ang Panday” a treat for every Filipino. He fused his invaluable experience from his start as an independent actor in “Serbis,” “Kinatay,” among others and now, as a mainstream actor, starring and being the creative consultant of the long-running toprater on ABS-CBN primetime, “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”
He tapped the best in the industry, making sure to surround himself with highly skilled and trusted individuals behind the cameras, like directors Malou Sevilla and Toto Natividad and former Senator Lito Lapid. It is one of the best lessons he’s learned from working with internationally renowned Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, he shared.
The director in Coco aims for realism, something he got from indie filmmaking. This exacting manner left an impression on former Senator Lito Lapid while they were shooting crucial scenes on a volcano’s crater for “Ang Panday.” “Sabi ni Senator Lito Lapid, ‘Alam mo may pagkasadista kang director. Bakit ayaw mong pasimplihan?’” Coco recalled.
Coco also made sure to work with some of the best actors in the country, including Eddie Garcia, Michael de Mesa, Gloria Romero, Jaclyn Jose, Dimples Romana, Jeric Raval, Jaime Fabregas, Julio Diaz, Mariel de Leon, Awra Briguela, Dennis Padilla, Carmi Martin, Albert Martinez, Agot Isidro, Kylie Versoza, and Jhong Hilario, among many others.
There are several big scenes requiring over a hundred characters, he revealed. “We got a Chinese fight director and we recruited fight doubles from China,” he said.
The best gift for him this Christmas – aside from time to rest and be with his family – is for the Filipino viewer to be able to appreciate his film. He does not want to shortchange his fans.
“Iniisip ko ang viewers ko,” he said, “Gusto ko, pag labas nila ng theater, feeling busog sila kaya dapat may action na hindi katulad sa nakikita nila gabi-gabi ‘Ang Probinsyano,’ dapat may fantasy, comedy, romance at may pang nanay at mga lolo’t lola.”
Coco Martin has no kissing scenes with beauty queens Kylie Verzosa and Mariel de Leon in his upcoming movie, “Ang Panday.”
The closest that Martin got was a kiss on the cheek from Verzosa, who won Miss International in 2016.
“Beso lang po. Well, nahiya din po ako [kung sabi niya nahiya din siya]. Pero beso lang ‘yun. Siguro mga tatlong takes yun,” Verzosa said.
Coco also took into consideration how De Leon’s parents would react. The Binibining Pilipinas International 2017 titleholder is the daughter of veteran actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong.
He said: “Isa na rin ‘yun. Siyempre nahihiya ako. Siyempre ipinagkatiwala sa akin ni Tito Boyet (De Leon) and Tita Sandy (Andolong) si Mariel. Gusto ko na kapag napanood nila, mapa-proud sila sa anak nila.”
De Leon, for her part, said she is grateful to Martin for taking care of her and Verzosa while they were filming.
“For me kasi I’m not that experienced with acting, so it was a bit weird to be that close to someone that I don’t know that well. Pero after a few minutes, I was very comfortable kasi super, super bait ni Coco. He really took care of us,” she said.
“Every scene, he wanted me to look good. He wanted me to push myself in terms of acting, especially ‘yung mga crying scenes,” she added.
Like De Leon, Verzosa is thankful that her acting debut was with Martin.
Asked why he decided to include Verzosa in the movie, Martin said: “Narinig ko na gusto niyang pumasok sa showbiz. Kapag nakakarinig kasi ako ng ganun, naiisip ko nung nagsisimula ako. Gusto kong makapagbigay ng opportunity. May way. Binabalik ko lang ‘yung mga nangyari sa akin noon.”