Making a name in both local and international entertainment, Jake Macapagal dances into the city of Seattle Washington from June 7 through June 9 to promote his new film “Watch List (Maria),” where it was said he had memorized a 68-page monologue that brings him back to his theatre days.
For him, lines were a normal thing to memorize in a movie, but the movement was something else.
“The most prominent challenge was to keep up with the young dancers,” the star recalled. “Learning a triple pirouette is no joke, too. Ha!”
Growing up in Manila, he realized something early on. “It was important for me to understand that I was part of a whole. And in order for me to grow up and contribute value, I needed to find my own adventure, my own voice. Fortunately, my constant seeking led me to theatre, music, and the arts.”
Involvement in school plays, as well as the early guidance from his movie-loving mother, gave him grounding in film. He watched Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and Franco Zeffirelli’s “The Champ,” amazed at how they transported him to realms he’d never thought of. He watched Akira Kurosawa’s classics and the suspense films of Alfred Hitchcock.
“I was hooked for life,” he explained. “There was something about the characters that I connected with, and the stories I wanted to experience.”
He spent time in Germany, learning the language and broadening his horizons. He drilled himself in English and German, in addition to the Tagalog and Hiligaynon he already knew from home.
His first prominent film role was in 2013’s “Metro Manila,” directed by Sean Ellis, which took an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
He got a call to audition for the project that became “Watch List.” The gritty tale of crime, corruption, and the struggle to live with dignity and honesty was shot mostly in Caloocan, in the Metropolitan Manila Area. The locals, Macapagal recalls, “welcomed us with hospitality, but also with a watchful eye.”
His character, a police inspector named Ventura, starts out believing he’s always on the right side. As the drama unfolds, however, the inspector will learn that the people he dismisses as “collateral damage” have their own worth and their own rights.
The actor allows that he’s never visited Seattle before, but he’s eager to visit.
“I am looking forward to having a culinary experience, listen to the city with an open heart, observing its pulse and energy. I heard about the rain, but I come from the tropics, so that is welcomed. Always in search of good coffee, too!”
Future projects include a turn in the director’s chair, for a project that’s still in pre-production. He’s a certified yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance, so he’ll return to that post as well.
Macapagal hopes that the new movie will help celebrate the diversity of Filipino theater arts, and especially Filipino film.
“We have 150 million people in the archipelago, and for sure each filmmaker will find their audience somewhere there, whether it is the mainstream or indie [film],” he concluded.
“The challenge is always to find a story that is compelling enough to have a universal appeal. Basic truths. Love, sex, and rock and roll.”
“Watch List (Maria)” showtimes for US Cinemas are:
June 7, 8:45 p.m., at AMC Pacific Place
June 8, 3 p.m., at the SIFF Cinema Uptown