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 “San Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martir,” an entry in this year’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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“It’s really humbling and motivating. Wala akong issues being the second choice,” Rocco said when asked about replacing JM during the film’s press launch on Sunday, August 11.
The 26-year-old actor has done a lot since he joined GMA 7’s reality talent show “Starstruck V” in 2009. He’s also won awards for his work in the independent film “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.” But “San Pedro Calungsod” is a difficult film to do for two reasons: majority of the film’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.
“Christian ako and I’m playing a Catholic saint so it makes my acting and the character more interesting,” he said,
Rocco added, “Through 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,”
Because he has immersed himself in the role, Rocco said he has a “beautiful outlook in life ngayon; I feel happy, masaya.”
“San Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martir” will compete with MMFF heavyweights this December—including a film with Vic Sotto and Kris Aquino (‘Torky and My Little Bossing’) and Eugene Domingo (a “Kimmy Dora” prequel). But Rocco remains optimistic about the critical and box-office chances of their film.
“We’ll just do our best. I’ll just be optimistic na, yes, malulupit yung mga kasama mo (sa competition) pero pantay-pantay kayo d’yan,” he said.
Rocco added, “Kung mapapakita ko ng maganda yung film, kung mapoportray ko ng maayos, kung magiging accurate ako, at maaaprubahan ng Catholic Church, award na yun.”
“Kung magkakaroon ng award, bonus na lang yun.”
The MMFF film is just one of Rocco’s numerous projects this year. Besides being a mainstay on the Sunday noontime show “Sunday All Stars, he is also part of the upcoming GMA 7 primetime show “Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas.”
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With his busy schedule, it’s not surprising Rocco has closed his doors on a love life for the meantime.
“But there’s always that one person I get to talk to everyday and makes everything easier,” said the actor who has been linked to Kapuso actress Lovi Poe recently.
As for the identity of this “one person,” Rocco said: “Let it remain a mystery.”