“Kung marami kang kasalanan dito sa lupa at nagdurusa ka, that for me is hell.”
Although they see each other quite often during the heydays of Sampaguita Studios, veteran actor Eddie Garcia revealed that he did not have the chance to be paired off with acting doyenne Gina Pareno as his leading lady.
“Star ’66 kasi siya. Ako napasok ako sa Sampaguita noong 1951, so hindi kami magka-batch,” he recalled. That is why, when he was offered the part to do the lead role opposite her in Dan Villegas’ Hintayan ng Langit, he immediately accepted the offer. “Working with Gina as a partner has always been a dream of mine,” he enthused.
The multi-awarded actor-director also said that he’s excited about his role in the said movie which was based on Juan Miguel Severo’s critically-acclaimed play.
“Ang role namin dito ni Gina (Pareno) ay mga nasa purgatoryo kami. Noong kabataan namin, mag-sweetheart kami, pero nagtratrabaho ako sa barko. Pangako ko sa kanya, babalik ako after two years para magpakasal kami. Eh, hindi ako nakabalik dahil busy ako sa barko. Pagbalik ko, buntis na siya. Iyon pala, nag-asawa na siya sa iba.
“Tapos, nauna siyang mamatay, napunta siya sa purgatoryo. Pagkatapos naman, nagka-heart attack ako, dinalaw niya ako sa lupa. Noong namatay na rin ako, nagkita kami roon sa purgatoryo. Puno-puno kasi siya sa kuwarto. Ina-assign ako sa kuwarto niya, so, nagkita uli kami, nagsumbatan na hindi ko raw tinupad ang pangako ko sa kanya. Noong due na siya na umakyat sa langit ang ginawa niya, gumagawa siya ng gulo para ma-delay siya para sabay kaming umakyat sa langit,” he told Gololy.
He also admitted that doing lead roles at 89 still excites him. “Thankful ako na I get to portray lead roles pa rin at my age,” he enthused. He attributed his longevity in the business to his straightforward, no-nonsense professionalism.
“I always come on time. It’s my guiding principle. Para sa akin, acting is my profession. It’s my job, so I have to be good at it. Gawin mo lang ng mabuti, kasi it’s your recommendation for your next project,” he declared. He said that it also pays to have the winning attitude to stay in the business.
“For me, there are no small or big roles. I started my career at the age of 20. Hindi rin ako billing conscious, kahit saan mo ilagay ang pangalan ko o kahit hindi mo ilagay ang pangalan ko, okey lang sa akin,” he declared. As an actor-director, he said that he’s not the type who meddles with his director, too.
“I give them the credit. Kung ano iyong creative license nila o kung ano ang approach o kung ano iyong ibig nilang palabasin, I respect them,” he elucidated. Having done approximately 600 movies, he said that he also has no plans of retiring yet. “Hanggang puwede pa, hindi ako tatanggi sa trabaho. Kung ayaw na sa akin ng mga tao, doon na ako titigil,” he insisted.
As the only artist inducted in three categories in the FAMAS Hall of Fame: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director, he said that he has no illusion of becoming a National Artist. “Wala akong pangarap na maging National Artist. Kuntento na ako na may trabaho pa ako at may mga award-giving bodies na nagre-recognize ng mga pelikula ko,” he concluded.
Hintayan ng Langit won the Audience Award at the 6th Quezon International Film Festival where Garcia was adjudged as best actor. It is produced by Globe Studios and Project 8 Corner San Joaquin Projects, owned by top filmmakers Dan Villegas and Antoinette Jadaone. The film will be shown commercially at your favorite theaters starting November 21, 2018.