MANILA, Philippines - Rocco Nacino is ready to take what is perhaps the most challenging project of his young showbiz career so far.
As previously reported, the Kapuso star will place the titular character in the movie â€œSan Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martir,â€ an entry in this yearâ€™s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
JM De Guzman was originally slated to play the role of the Filipino teen martyr, but he withdrew from the film due to health reasons.
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â€œItâ€™s really humbling and motivating. Wala akong issues being the second choice,â€ Rocco said when asked about replacing JM during the filmâ€™s press launch on Sunday, August 11.
The 26-year-old actor has done a lot since he joined GMA 7â€™s reality talent show â€œStarstruck Vâ€ in 2009. Heâ€™s also won awards for his work in the independent film â€œAng Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.â€ But â€œSan Pedro Calungsodâ€ is a difficult film to do for two reasons: majority of the filmâ€™s dialog is in Spanish and Rocco, a Christian, will be portraying a Roman Catholic saint.
But instead of viewing these as a hindrance, Rocco decided to take it on as an opportunity to learn.
â€œChristian ako and Iâ€™m playing a Catholic saint so it makes my acting and the character more interesting,â€ he said,
Rocco added, â€œThrough this project, naging mas God-fearing ako, mas napalapit ako sa family ko, I love life more. I have that feeling of righteous, of being loving, caring,â€
Because he has immersed himself in the role, Rocco said he has a â€œbeautiful outlook in life ngayon; I feel happy, masaya.â€
â€œSan Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martirâ€ will compete with MMFF heavyweights this Decemberâ€”including a film with Vic Sotto and Kris Aquino (â€˜Torky and My Little Bossingâ€™) and Eugene Domingo (a â€œKimmy Doraâ€ prequel). But Rocco remains optimistic about the critical and box-office chances of their film.
â€œWeâ€™ll just do our best. Iâ€™ll just be optimistic na, yes, malulupit yung mga kasama mo (sa competition) pero pantay-pantay kayo dâ€™yan,â€ he said.
Rocco added, â€œKung mapapakita ko ng maganda yung film, kung mapoportray ko ng maayos, kung magiging accurate ako, at maaaprubahan ng Catholic Church, award na yun.â€
â€œKung magkakaroon ng award, bonus na lang yun.â€
The MMFF film is just one of Roccoâ€™s numerous projects this year. Besides being a mainstay on the Sunday noontime show â€œSunday All Stars, he is also part of the upcoming GMA 7 primetime show â€œAkin Pa Rin Ang Bukas.â€
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With his busy schedule, itâ€™s not surprising Rocco has closed his doors on a love life for the meantime.
â€œBut thereâ€™s always that one person I get to talk to everyday and makes everything easier,â€ said the actor who has been linked to Kapuso actress Lovi Poe recently.
As for the identity of this â€œone person,â€ Rocco said: â€œLet it remain a mystery.â€