'Heneral Luna' director set to tackle Philippine mythology

Gia Densing, ANC

Posted at Oct 04 2015 12:52 AM | Updated as of Oct 04 2015 08:52 AM

Aside from fleshing out the box office hit "Heneral Luna" into a trilogy of historical films, director Jerrold Tarog is set to take on the world of Philippine mythology. Tarog confirmed he is developing the award-winning graphic novel ''The Mythology Class'' for the big screen.

"The Mythology Class," written and illustrated by Filipino comic creator Arnold Arre, tells the story of college students who embark on a quest into the realm of Philippine myth. The group faces tikbalangs, kapres, engkantos, and other creatures known in Filipino folklore. Originally published in four issues in 1999, "The Mythology Class" won the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award in 2000, the first to win in the Comic Books category. In 2005, it was collected into a special edition. It was later republished by Nautilus Comics in a 2014 Collected Edition.

Tarog was already a fan of the comic book series before any plans were made to turn it into a movie. He says Arre was, in turn, a fan of his filmmaking.

"Arnold [Arre] saw my film 'Mangatyanan' years ago and I read his 'Andong Agimat' and 'Martial Law Babies,' and we both liked each other's works. I asked him and his wife Cynthia to do the poster of 'Senior Year,' then at some point we discussed the possibility of adapting 'Andong' but there were some legal complications with another company," Tarog explains. "Then I read 'Mythology Class' and realized I wanted to do that instead."

After the success of "Heneral Luna," Tarog pitched "Mythology Class" to the producers led by Fernando Ortigas.

"They liked it and now we're developing the story," he says, adding the film is still in the early development stages.

Tarog says he is co-writing with Jade Castro, known for films "Endo" and "Zombadings 1: Patayin sa shokot si Remington."

There's no timeline for production yet, but Tarog says he already has a vision for the fantasy-adventure.

"It will be done in two parts, with the original group of students divided into two since the whole book is rich enough for two films. We also have a couple of actresses in mind for some of the lead roles, but it's way too early to seriously discuss the casting," he shares.

Tarog will be busy juggling "Mythology Class" with the planned trilogy for "Heneral Luna." The second film in the series will be a biopic about Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, while the third will be about President Manuel L. Quezon.

On their Twitter account on Saturday, the producers announced the film reached its break-even point of P200 million.