Actor John Arcilla has never shied away from any challenging role on film or television. Be it his breakout portrayal of the brave but temperamental historical Philippine hero General Antonio Luna in Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna,” or the monstrously vile (former) government official and criminal mastermind Renato “Buwitre” Hipolito, Arcilla has taken on every character with gusto, even if they happen to be controversial. One of his upcoming projects involves him starring in a biopic of the recently-departed “healing priest” Fr. Fernando Suarez, who is equally admired for his healing ministries and vilified for allegations of church corruption and sexual molestation, charges he has been cleared of by the Vatican.
The Manila Bulletin has it that John Arcilla is certain that a movie production about the life of Fr. Suarez the healing priest, with him in the starring role, will be one that is worth viewing by the Filipino audience. The central character has been one that the actor has been close to in his life, having been a frequent attendee of Fr. Suarez’ healing masses where Arcilla has seen first-hand the faith of those hoping for a miracle through his prayer intercession. He describes the story of Suarez as one molded by divine intervention.
The Fr. Fernando Suarez film project is being produced and directed by Joven Tan, and kicked into full-on development following the death of the Healing Priest on February 4, or only a few days short of what should have been his 52nd birthday. Arcilla was caught by surprise at what happened, though with some introspection he has come to believe that Fr. Suarez has already done all that was expected of him by God in his life. He even posted a posthumous birthday greeting to the healing priest last Friday.
“I know I’m not in the position to say this, but it feels like his life is already complete,” says John Arcilla of Fr. Suarez. “Even before he was exonerated, the movie was already in development. And I’m sure, he was confident that it would tell his story truly.” The actor was cast by Joven Tan around that time, and Arcilla only felt vindicated that he was right in accepting the role of “The Healing Priest” when Suarez was cleared of wrongdoing by the Vatican.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star