|Actor Piolo Pascual. File photo
MANILA, Philippines -- Actor Piolo Pascual took his inspiration from Sean Penn's Oscar-nominated performance in "I Am Sam" and Tom Hanks's award-winning role in "Forrest Gump," when he took on the challenge of playing a mentally challenged man in "24/7 In Love."
But Pascual said what made his job more difficult was that he was given only a short time to study his character.
In the film, Pascual plays Mike, a 35-year-old mentally challenged man, who falls in love with a playmate played by child actress Xyriel Manabat, pitting him against his best friend ( Zaijian Jaranilla).
"Mahirap talaga siya. It was a challenge. We were given time to immerse and to really get into the character. We went to Hospicio de San Jose to observe 'yung mga cases doon but we can not pinpoint kung sinong character ang pwedeng gawing peg because some of them either too extreme or hindi mo mahalata 'yung cases. So I went to Europe for a couple of days pag-uwi ko the next day shooting na," said Pascual.
"Good thing kasi nag-shoot kami sa Hospicio de San Jose so I was observing 'yung may MR cases but I also watched 'I am Sam.' Most of my character reference was based on how Sean Penn did his 'I am Sam' because pareho kami ng mental capacity -- seven years old -- pinanood ko ulit 'yung movie. I also saw Tom Hanks doon sa 'Forrest Gump' kasi they want it to be simple. I guess the harder part there was to make sure that every scene is believable. Kasi ang hirap gumanap ng ganoong edad," Pascual said.
Pascual also acknowledged the help of his co-stars, saying he really learned a lot from just observing the child stars.
"Good thing I was working with young actors kasi very raw si Zaijian at Xyriel. Kung ano ang sabihin mo ay 'yun ang gagawin nila. Actually natutunan ko 'yan from my last movie 'Every Breath You Take,' ;yung kapag sinabi ng direktor na gawin mo ito eh sunod ka na lang. So kumbaga kailangan lang sensitive ka," Pascual said.
"I think ang mga bata ganoon kapag sinabi mong iyak eh iiyak at kapag sinabi mong talon eh tatalon. So ganoon din 'yung peg ko dito when I was doing it. I was observing the actions and acting ng mga bata. So sa akin based on what I read and how I read it, it was very simple. I actually had a separation anxiety dahil napamahal sa akin 'yung character si Pipoy kasi napaka-simple ng mundo niya," he added.
"24/7 In Love" opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, November 21. The movie is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Star Magic.