MANILA, Philippines – If there's one thing Gerald Anderson and director Enzo Williams want to tell everyone with their movie AWOL, it would be to appreciate the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the country.
In the movie, Gerald is a lieutenant whose family is threatened after a failed mission.
During the movie's press conference on Thursday, August 17, Gerald recalled the special screening they held for wounded soldiers, adding that there's still so much that can be done for them aside from the benefits they currently receive.
"Sobrang special sa akin nung nagkaroon kami ng special screening, kasi just for 2 hours, 3 hours, malayo sila, makapag relax sila, mapapanood nila yung mga ginagawa nila sa totoong buhay (The special screening was so special to me, because for 2 hours, 3 hours, they were taken away, they could relax, they saw what they do in real life)… those simple joys. I’m just an actor. There’s so much I can do, but I also have the opportunity to give them enjoyment with this film," Gerald said.
Enzo added: "Ang wish ko is yung appreciation ng mga sundalo, yung tayo lang mga civilians. Kasi sa US ibang-iba. Kapag may sundalo they’re going to offer you a seat, give you a discount, and thank you. Dito pag may dumaan na sundalo, parang wala... yung appreciation [man lang]."
(I wish for the appreciation of soldiers from us civilians. Because in the US, it's so different. When there's a soldier they're going to offer you a seat, give you a discount, and thank you. Here, when a soldier passes by, it's as if it's nothing... [I just want us to give them] appreciation.)
Gerald mentioned that with the recent clashes in Marawi City, things have changed. He said that he's already seeing a lot of appreciation from civilians, who wear statement shirts to boost the morale of the troops, who continue to battle terrorists.
Gerald and Enzo also said that they were humbled by the positive feedback of the soldiers for the film.
"Nakakatuwa sobra yung mga reactions nila habang nanonood sila. Nakakataba ng puso. Syempre, bilang artista, bilang yung lead at gumaganap ako yung sa totoong buhay, kung baga, nakakakaba dahil sana magustuhan nila, tanggapin nila. Sana tama yung ginagawa ko," Gerald said.
(The soldiers' reactions while they were watching made me really happy. It made my heart swell. Of course, as an artist, as the lead and the person who is portraying them, I'm nervous because I'm hoping they'll like it and accept it. I hope that I did my work well.)
Enzo said that a lot of of the soldiers could relate to the movie and that he's heard from soldiers who, to this day, still receive threats after their assignments.
With the positive feedback of the film, Gerald said that he's opened to doing more action films. "Maybe AWOL part two, why not?" Gerald said, adding that after the screening, he and Enzo were already dicussing possible ideas for another storyline.
"So like I said, pinagdadasal namin na maging sucessful ang AWOL (We're praying that AWOL will be successful), so we can make more films like this," Gerald said.
"It will be based on this movie if embrace ng tao yung action is back, then Gerald will be back (It will be based on this movie if people embrace that action is back, then Gerald will be back)," Enzo added.
AWOL is one of the 12 films parts of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which will run until August 22. – Rappler.com