BEA ALONZO, DANNY TREJO + Hollywood Stars on 1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's coming and for those who are eagerly awaiting this action romance movie called "1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom", you're in for a treat!

We got to talk to the producer Francis Lara Ho a few days ago at the Viva offices in Ortigas, Needless to say, he addressed a few things including the noise surrounding the movie and the participation of actress Bea Alonzo + her manager Ms. Shirley Kuan. He was with 2 other Filipino actors Vic Romano and Larissa Buendia who also shared with us their experience playing Udong (the brother of Bea in the film) and Humamai (the Queen).

The Arduous Task of Casting

When they were finalizing characters for the project, they had to choose the one to play Magellan between Andy Garcia, Danny Trejo, and another actor in the US. It was Danny who immediately gave his feedback as he resonated well with the persona of Ferdinand Magellan. The legendary man and actor who did hit series Machete understood why there was a need to tell this perspective since western movies have profiled both Lapu Lapu and Magellan quite differently.

Vic Romano and Larissa Buendia had to audition through the various casting calls they did in Manila. Though there was lockdowns in place during that time, they had to find ways to get there in time.

For Bea Alonzo, she was always a dream to work with for Producer Francis Lara Ho. She knew her track record and wanted for her to play Diwata on Day 1. Her work in the movie was stellar. He was apologetic and said "I don't know if she will have the chance to see this or hear what I'm about to say, but I really admire her, she's a stellar performer. There were some times during production that I tell her how great she is. When she is on set, she doesn't only know her part in the film, but even know and memorized everybody else's lines. That's how professional she is. I hope she gets to hear this, I apologize... because of my limited knowledge and experience as a first time producer, I made some calls that somehow didn't help her portray her character. I take responsibility for that, I really hope she accepts my apology. It wasn't really my intention, as it has always been my dream to work with her. She has always been my first choice. Her character wasn't offered to anyone else but her. We have reached out to her camp several times, and I'm sad because you saw the success it had in the US where big people lauded it. I got quite sad about that time when someone interviewed me, because it became a controversy, when the purpose of that interview was to promote the film. Ms. Shirley (Bea's Manager) is a family friend, she's not my enemy, and she spends time with my family when she's in the US. I want the nation to know we're not enemies. We've known each other for 3 or 4 years. I also want to apologize to Ms. Shirley. It was never my intention to make the relationship like this. We are preparing tickets and formal invitations for them for the premiere."

Shooting the Film

Larissa Buendia shared how she worked in this film. She says "This is my first full length feature film, so getting the role got me really excited. It was always a dream of mine to visit Palawan, it was a dream destination and it was beautiful as I'd hope it would be. It was wild, I regret not being able to roam around much because we shot this in an island, but I do plan to go back there some day. This project was a dream come true, I got to work with Danny Trejo. He's humble, down to earth, almost like a child like aura about him. I'm so excited I'd be able to post our photos together since we're now promoting the film. Ms. Bea was so professional, the tenderness and strength she exuded in this film was proper for Diwata. It's something I'd never forget. My cast mates were all so nice to me as well, as an introvert, they never made me feel I'm alone even if I dread meeting new people. They're family now. I'm so thankful we got to bond and experienced this."

Vic Romano shared how frogs on the set was fun as he says "I'm in Viva projects, but this one is a dream because it's a Hollywood project. In the auditions, I was in a locked in taping in Baguio and couldn't go out because of it. I got notified to go to Marriot, but couldn't go out because of restrictions. I messaged and got word that there will be day 2, I went there 3am, took the bus, to get there on time at 2pm. The script was also in English, so seeing the day 2 auditions with so many people was scary. When I went there, I just did the scene and interview. I just went out and went back to Baguio to work again. That's how hecting things were. I haven't reached Baguio yet but I already got word I got the part. I was shaking. I'm just happy and thankful. We got to Palawan, but I found out Danny Trejo was part of it. I didn't know his name, but knew his face since I watched his movies. When I saw him in person, I thought he was a giant on screen, but we had the same built and I was excited to do scenes with him later on. He always asked about who the Filipino actors were and I told him about them."

He adds "One scene had rain, mud and a village involved. The frogs were so noisy that we couldn't film, and Danny Trejo kept on looking for them because they always did it after the rain. He even slept on wood planks, get stepped on, but didn't complain. He also played a lot with the kids on set, you'll never see him much with the adults but he kept playing with the kids all the time. When you don't see him on set, that's what he instantly does."

Hector David will play Enrique who is Bea's love interest in the film. The guy is a legit POWER RANGER (Green Samurai, and part of Megaforce) and was seen in the Percy Jackson movie (Lightning Thief). Michael Copon who plays Filipino hero Lapu Lapu is also a POWER RANGER (Time Force) and was part of One Tree Hill, and As Good as Dead. The film also stars Costas Mandylor, Maricel Laxa, Sol Eugenio, Floyd Tena, and Eren Kereci.

Here's the interview we had with them on video, please enjoy!

This film has already won 4 international awards and is going to be screened in the Philippines on June 5. There will be a premiere night, which I hope fans would support since it's been a while since we've seen a Hollywood film where 95% who worked on it is Filipino. If you want more information about the film, visit 


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