In 2013 South Korean production company Next World Entertainment released a heart-warming yet tear-jerking comedy drama about the misadventures of a mentally challenged man thrown into prison for a murder he did not commit, the bond he shares with his daughter and the ones he forms with his hardened criminal inmates. “Miracle in Cell No. 7” was quite the hit in Asia that it was remade in India in 2017 (though there were alleged copyright issues involved) as well as this year in the Philippines, in time for the Metro Manila Film Festival. Nadine Lustre was initially attached to the project but has stepped down and replaced, citing personal reasons.
The Manila Bulletin has it that Nadine Lustre will no longer continue with the casting for “Miracle in Cell No. 7,” the Filipino remake of the original 2013 Korean film that will be part of the 2019 MMFF. The news was shared by Noel Ferrer, spokesperson for the Film Fest. The official statement reveals that pressing “medical concerns” have led to Lustre deciding to bow out of the movie. Vic Del Rosario, President and COO of Viva Films which is producing the film, elaborated that the actress, a talent under the Viva Artists Agency, felt that her condition was not conducive to a filming and post-production promotion of the movie.
Originally, Lustre was going to act alongside Aga Muhlach, who has the co-lead role as the mentally challenged main character who gets blamed for an accidental death of a girl by her police officer father and imprisoned, despite strong evidence of his innocence, because his limited capacity enabled the police to make him confess to the crime falsely. In the original Korean version, the cop’s father forces the father to continue playing up his supposed guilt lest he harm his daughter in turn, a threat that would have dire consequences.
Thankfully for the production of “Miracle in Cell No. 7,” a replacement was quickly found for Nadine Lustre. Noel Ferrer noted that the Metro Manila Film Festival committee has approved Viva’s proposal that Bela Padilla take Lustre’s place. A follow-up statement from the MMFF organizing body notes, “We believe that Bela Padilla is an excellent actress and a bankable star and she will significantly contribute to the film’s artistry and commercial success.” Like all MMFF entries, “Miracle in Cell No. 7” will premiere in December during Christmas 2019 and into January of the following year.
Image courtesy of Cosmo PH