I used to be teary-eyed,” stated Soliman Cruz of his response when a Filipino seaman, whom he solely met for the first time, expressed delight over the proven fact that Soliman had agreed to work on a global movie that facilities on the lives of seafaring folks.
Soliman stated the incident occurred when he was at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, ready to board his flight to Bucharest, Romania, the place the post-production work for the movie “To the North” was to happen. Soliman left Manila on March 17.
“The man told me, ‘I read that you are going to make a film about our lives as seafarers. I’m happy about that. I know you will make us proud.’ I wasn’t able to reply to that right away. I was teary-eyed. He then said, ‘I’m also proud to be a Filipino.’ That was a really touching moment. For a short while there, akala ko ililibre pa niya ako,” Soliman quipped.
Filming for the Romanian drama, “To the North,” written and directed by Mihai Mincan, is ready for three months and can happen each in Romania and Greece.
Soliman was picked to play the lead character, Joel, a non secular Filipino sailor engaged on a transatlantic ship. He meets Dumitru, a younger Romanian stowaway portrayed by German-Romanian actor Niko Becker. Moved by the proven fact that the frightened Dumitru is clutching a Bible, Joel decides to play a harmful recreation so as to save the boy’s life.
Film in three languages
The movie will probably be in three languages, Bulgarian, English and Filipino, Soliman reported.
The actor was supposed to depart Manila on March 15, however issues together with his working visa had brought about a two-day delay of his journey. Soliman, whereas inside his resort room in Bucharest, recalled to Inquirer Entertainment in an unique Zoom chat how he traveled on his personal for 13 straight hours to Istanbul, Turkey, after which after a three-hour wait, took one other hour-long airplane journey to Bucharest.
“When I arrived here around lunch time, the producer greeted me at the airport and brought me to my hotel, where I met the director, Mihai. I had the rest of the day off. I began rehearsals immediately the following day,” Soliman recalled.
It was a Sunday morning in Bucharest when Soliman agreed to speak with Inquirer Entertainment. The following day, he and the workforce can be driving to the coastal metropolis referred to as Constantia, the place they may start filming. They will return to Bucharest on April 27, after which fly to Greece the following day, Soliman reported.
The position of Joel in “To the North” was actually made for Soliman. He stated Mihai first noticed him in Lav Diaz’ “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.”
“Lav and his style of filmmaking has a huge following in Europe. This director is one of them. He started looking for me as soon as he saw ‘Norte.’ He said he wrote Joel with me in mind,” Soliman stated, including that negotiations took 4 years to complete.
In Bucharest, Soliman needed to rehearse together with his coactors for two weeks. “Mihai is very meticulous. He wanted his actors to get the right tone. He also wanted cohesion even during script reading. We recited our lines again and again,” he recalled. “There were times when Mihai would leave us in the rehearsal room so we could discuss among ourselves what to do, and just come back a little later to give his comments. We would repeat scenes until he was satisfied. It was really tiring.”
Soliman stated he needed to modify to Mihai’s filming course of as a result of in the Philippines, actors are used to receiving copies of their scripts a day earlier than the shoot—and even on the precise day itself—and that not all manufacturing firms allot time for rehearsals as a result of, for them, that is simply a further expense.
When requested to explain his character, Soliman stated: “Joel works with three other Filipino seamen in the ship. He is a religious man. He decides to take care of the stowaway because he wants to prove that he is a good person. As the story progresses, his dark side is slowly revealed.”
Soliman stated what began out as a easy act of kindness and compassion turned out to be a egocentric transfer that resulted in adverse penalties not simply for Joel, but additionally for his Filipino colleagues. “He didn’t think of how it would affect the lives of his coworkers. He just kept thinking, it’s for me and my God,” he added.
Filipino actors Bart Guingona and Noel Sto. Domingo play two different Filipino seafarers. Another Filipino, who is predicated in Bucharest and works for a automobile manufacturing unit there, will probably be included in the solid, Soliman stated.
Soliman stated he solely realized just lately that he can be in 80 p.c of the movie; “that I’m really the lead character here, and not just a supporting one. I got used to playing support all the time. Recently, it just dawned on me that the director counts on me to guide my younger coactors, two Bulgarians who just graduated from acting school. They’re still very young,” he shared with Inquirer Entertainment.
This may also be the longest time Soliman will probably be away for work. He stated he anticipated he’d have a tough time adjusting. “It’s cold here, but it’s manageable. Whenever I had a hard time sleeping because of jetlag, I would go to the bar across our hotel to drink. I’ve already gotten close with the head waiter and barista,” he stated, laughing.
“While people here are really focused on their work, they also take time to hear Mass. They go to churches in droves. I remember coming across a large group of people who were walking on their way to the church the first time I arrived. Repeatedly, they were making what seemed to me was the sign of cross. I felt like they were giving me a blessing,” he recalled. “Most of them, specifically the men, like approaching you to ask for cigarettes when they see you smoking one.”
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