Gerald Anderson is way too handsome to play lead in an action movie.
This, according to Gerald, was the initial observation of Enzo Williams, director of his latest film project, “Awol.”
“So, what I did was hit the gym to get bigger,” Gerald told the Inquirer. “I also trained with the Special Action Forces (SAF) for several days. They taught me how to hold guns, to reload magazines, and to shoot more accurately. The lesson was so detailed.”
He added that, sadly, two of the soldiers who participated in the training have already died in the ongoing war in Marawi City.
In “Awol,” Gerald plays Lt. Ibarra, a member of the elite scout ranger regiment, who leaves his group to protect his family and other members of his team when a group that they’ve encountered in a previous military operation begins hunting them down.
“For 11 days, we were accompanied by SAF members during the shoot. I could see that they were happy to be doing the film with us. The project gave them a breather, a reprieve from all the fighting,” said Gerald, adding that the group that worked with them was the same team that fought in the 2015 Zamboanga siege.
“Their stories were shocking and amazing at the same time,” the actor said. “While listening to them, I couldn’t help but imagine how I could possibly translate their stories into a film. They’ve inspired me. I want this film to be successful for them.”
“Awol” is one of the finalists at the 2017 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which will run from Aug. 16 to 22.
The success of the film, Gerald explained, would mean that more action films that highlight the sacrifices of Filipino soldiers for the country, would be produced. Gerald stressed, “This is the kind of project that I like doing. But, in rom-coms, it’s also nice to inspire people and make them fall in love.”
In real life, Gerald is a Philippine Coast Guard auxiliary officer with the rank of lieutenant. In March 2016, he formed a K9 search and rescue unit under his Gerald Anderson Foundation (GAF).
“We recently went on a medical and rescue mis sion in Pangasinan. We rescued a person who had been missing for three weeks. His family thought that he was already dead. He is suffering from a mental disorder,” he recalled.
While working on the ABS-CBN series, “Ikaw Lamang ang Iibigin,” with Kim Chiu and Jake Cuenca, he has also managed to do something that he was equally passionate about: compete as a triathlete.
Gerald participated in the recently concluded Cobra Ironman 70.3 Race in Cebu City.
“It’s a dangerous sport,” said Gerald, commenting on news of a male athlete dying during the swim relay. “You have to train for months before joining. I think 2,500 attended. I have never seen so many athletes in one place!”
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