Manila is a place where jeepneys spin around at high speed and dashing secret agents leap from city rooftops to engage in close hand-to-hand combat with bad guys in dark alleyways.
At least that's what The Bourne Legacy makes it look like. The much-anticipated movie, which filmed many of its scenes in the country, gave the Philippines the Hollywood treatment—much to the delight of the audience at the movie's formal, by-invitation-only local premiere at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila on Sunday, August 7.
The latest chapter
The Bourne Legacy is the latest chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office.
The film expands the Bourne universe and introduces the audience to new hero Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. Series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac fill out the cast, but franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn provide the movie’s link to its predecessors.
But what the audience at the screening really wanted to see was their country, warts and all, on the big screen: a substantial part of the movie was filmed in Pasay City, Manila's San Andres Bukid district, the Navotas fish port and Palawan, and it was a special treat to see Renner and co. navigate the uniquely Filipino ins and outs of each locale.
And not even the pounding rain could deter the specially invited attendees from making it to the screening.
The red carpet was rolled out to welcome government bigwigs such as DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo, MMDA Sec. Francis Tolentino, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, MTRCB Chair Grace Po Llamanzares AND Batangas Vice Governor Marc Leviste.
Business luminaries like Resorts World developer Kevin Tan and businessman Rafa Alunan mingled with entertainment personalities Raymond Gutierrez and Cesar Montano. Theater and screen actor John Arcilla, who had a role in the film, was also at the event.
‘The best experience’
As guests settled in the theater, Lope “Jun” Juban of Philippine Film Studios took the mike. Juban, who has been bringing and co-producing international movies and programs in the country like Oliver Stone’s Fourth of July, Survivor and The Amazing Race, said, “In my 30 years in the business, this project proved to be most challenging and most rewarding.” He acknowledged a lot of people as well as the national and local governments for “the help in accomplishing the tasks and making things work.”
Juban was followed by The Bourne Legacy producer Patrick Crowley, who flew in just for the event. Crowley greeted the audience with warmth and said, “We have shot the Bourne movies all over the world and I say, the best crew, the best experience is here in the Philippines.” He also called the film “the best Bourne movie yet.”
The audience was also treated to a videotaped greeting from the movie’s main cast: “Hello, Manila! We’re really sorry we can’t be there in person for the premiere… We had an amazing time shooting in your beautiful city. And we really want to thank you for welcoming and embracing our whole production team and cast. We’re very excited to show you the fruits of our labor, and we hope that you enjoy the film that you helped us make. Thank you!”
And throughout the film, everyone was on the edge of their seats, not just for the exhilarating action scenes and dramatic twists and turns, but also for every mention of our country and the sight of every familiar location that set the partisan audience applauding and cheering.
As for the ending: you’ll never see it coming. - BM, GMA News