Did you know that Piolo Pascual initially declined the movie Mallari? In a feature cover with Tatler PH magazine, Piolo shared that the first pitch came about when he was rehearsing for the musical Ibarra back in June of 2023. Piolo was also preparing for another role after the musical so being in Mallari was a hard pass for him. It was later that day during a conversation with friends where the subject of serial killers came up that he changed his mind. After googling the person they were talking about Piolo found out the story was about Mallari, the Philippines’ first documented serial killer from the 1800s. Piolo then asked for the final pitch and sealed the deal after doing the Ibarra musical.
Mallari was one of the 2023 MMFF film entries and Piolo was nominated for the Best Actor category. The film was also consistently top 5 in cinemas among all the 10 entries throughout the festival season.
Pascual was less immediately interested in another homegrown production, Mallari. “When it was first pitched, I was rehearsing for Ibarra, a musical I did in June. I got a call from my manager saying that there was this [horror] film, Mallari, featuring [a role that encompasses] three characters [from three timelines] in one, but I was also preparing for another project after the musical, so it was a hard pass for me,” he says.
Later that day, he was chatting with his friends on set, and the topic of Philippine serial killers came up. “There was one [they referred to, but] I didn’t realise it until we checked Google and found out his name was Mallari,” Pascual says, at which point it clicked that the story being offered was based on a real person from the 1800s, the Philippines’ first documented serial killer. “I got intrigued and asked for an official pitch. That’s when I realised I could not refuse this,” he says. He sealed the deal after wrapping up Ibarra.
Mallari is a big deal. As well as being one of the official entries in last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, it is also the second of only two local films to be distributed by Hollywood movie company Warner Bros. And so it comes as no surprise that working on it was difficult. While the complexity of the characters was already challenging, the script had to be revised several times to compress the story into a single film. Fortunately, there was an acting coach on the set who guided Pascual into bringing the multifaceted character to life. At first, Pascual thought they would shoot one character at a time, but realised this was not feasible because it would mean changing the set every time. “On the first day, I had to do three characters in one scene. That’s when I asked what I’d got myself into. It’s hard enough to do one character, but three every day? I knew it was going to be tough,” he says. He credits both the coach and director Derick Cabrido with helping him get through the labyrinth of each scene. “I was properly guided … For every scene, I would talk to them about the process and where we could take it because it was my first horror film. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that we could differentiate all three characters so that there was no overlapping of all emotions. Each character is different from the others.” (SOURCE: Tatler PH)