Love story in WWII: International cast eyed for biggest film yet from ‘Heneral Luna’ producers

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2019 09:34 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2019 09:53 PM

John Arcilla portrayed the titular role in TBA Studios’ breakthrough film, ‘Heneral Luna,’ in 2015. TBA Studios

MANILA — An international cast is being eyed for the biggest film yet from TBA Studios, the producers behind the acclaimed “Heneral Luna” and its sequel “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.”

Similar to the linked films about Philippine heroism, “Color of Fire” will be set during wartime, but unlike those historical biopics, the upcoming movie will center on fictional characters.

“It starts before World War II, and then it runs through to the Battle of Manila. At the core of it is a love story between a Filipina with mixed parentage, and an American soldier,” TBA Studios president Vincent Nebrida told ABS-CBN News.

With a timeline spanning four years, “Color of Fire” (a phrase from the Book of Revelation) will also touch on the Japanese occupation of Manila, and the resulting destruction of the Philippine capital’s landmarks.

Manila City Hall (1945). Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library

Casting is underway, according to TBA Studios founder Eduardo Rocha. Two major roles will be filled by foreign actors: the father of the Spanish-Filipino woman, and the American soldier whom she falls in love with.

Offers have been made to established stars, Rocha said, but declined to giver further details. A director has also yet to be named.

The international cast is just one aspect of “Color of Fire” being a flagship project of TBA Studios. The scale of its depiction of Manila before and during World War II is also something to look forward to, Nebrida said.

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With a ballpark budget of $3-6 million (P155-309 million), “Color of Fire” is seen to be the most ambitious undertaking of the production company.

“It’s an epic. It’s World War II. It needs to be done right. It’s got a foreign cast, a lot of locations. The potential of it is huge, having read it. We love the script. We feel that it has tremendous potential. It’s not something that we should be scrimping on. That’s why we’re committed to it,” Nebrida said.

Rocha agreed, saying: “The Filipino deserves the best films we can make. If we skimp, we are insulting them, in my opinion. And that’s our philosophy at TBA: The Filipino deserves the best films we can make.”

“Color of Fire” is targeted for release in 2022.