ALEX MEDINA ON PORTRAYING PACQUIAO’S FATHER
By Pablo A. Tariman
After portraying the wayward son in the teleserye, “Ina, Kapatid, Anak” and a con man’s unwilling partner in “Babagwa,” actor Alex Medina suddenly finds himself portraying the role of Rosalio Pacquiao who happens to be the celebrated boxing champ’s father.
The film is “Kid Kulafu” directed by Paul Soriano and will open in all theaters April 15 just two weeks before his historic fight with Floyd Mayweather.
The role is no walk in the park as the true-to-life character refused to be interviewed during the film’s research foray in Mindanao which took all of three years.
But Alex can see Manny Pacquiao’s father for what he is. He obviously hates the media limelight, he likes the quiet life in the boondocks and from what he can figure out, he is a very introverted man.
“I have to lose weight just to approximate his physical look at that time,” says Alex whose scenes were shot in the terrains of Bukidnon. “He pretty much takes to himself like the proverbial ‘mapag-isang tao.’ In that sense, I can relate to him. I am not much of a joiner, I love the serene surrounding of mountains and in this aspect, we are alike. But the challenge here is not so much to look like him but to make something out of his character.”
On top of that, Alex has to play husband to Alessandra de Rossi who plays Dionisia Pacquiao and father to Buboy Villar who plays the young Manny Pacquiao.
From chronicler’s account, Dionisia was Rosalio’s second wife and the union was blessed with several children. He worked in the city public market but almost always drawn to live away from the city.
After 20 years of living together, Rosalio Pacquiao separated from his wife Dionisia when Manny was just 12 years old and only on the sixth grade. The separation was inevitable when Manny’s mother found out the husband was living in with another woman.
Years after he became a boxing icon, Manny Pacquiao remembers his father as a quiet man who was never violent. He added that his father probably didn’t even box. The champ figured he learned how to box by watching his mother pounce on his father in one of those conjugal troubles.
Even if Rosalio Pacquiao played the equivalent of a cameo role in his life, Manny Pacquiao didn’t harbor bitterness. When he became rich and famous, he gifted his father with a house and a car and frequently got in touch. He even brought him to Las Vegas and toured him around the city.
With these real life inputs on Pacquiao’s father, Alex has to define Rosalio Pacquiao in cinematic terms.
He is even more challenged as Direk Soriano is not interested in a Rosalio Pacquiao clone but in portraying a character that will serve the subject’s cinematic life during his early years.
Happily, here is no such thing as minor role in the acting book of Alex Medina.
It may be recalled that he won his first Best Actor trophy in the indie film Palitan and even made both critics and audiences sit up and take notice of him in another indie film, Babagwa, where he was another major contender in the Best Actor category.
It is possible Alex will portray Rosalio Pacquiao as the father of a son who is deeply religious and compassionate.
He is intrigued by the strong faith of Manny Pacquiao, his inborn talent and skill. Some shades of these traits probably came from the father who remains a mystery to Alex Medina.
But by now, he has learned to get into the character with very little inputs from real life.
After all, building the character is his first priority after accepting a role. This task involves both his heart and mind and especially what he calls gut feel.
He intimated earlier: “When you portray a role, you need to have a strong sense of imagination to lead you to where the character is going. I need a good grasp of my role and what will make it more interesting. As usual, I always trust my instinct, what you call gut feel. It stays in my mind as I study the role and when I face the camera, I know I have a good idea of what will make the part not just a cameo role. Everything about my role should be clear from the very beginning. I need to have a complete idea on what the character is driving at and how he will end up in the story. I have to constantly build on that.”