Exploring the sensitive topic about armed conflict, the cast of A Soldier’s Heart has truly gone through great lengths. Sid Lucero, playing as the terror leader Abdul Wajid, files this project as one for the books. Elmo Magalona, portraying the role of 2nd Lt. Jethro Mondejar, gives credit to the entire team that mounted this powerful and significant teleserye. Sid and Elmo share more about the series a few weeks before its explosive finale, in this episode of Hotspot.
Giving life to a soldier’s character takes more than just wearing a fatigue uniform and feigning a tough outer persona. Elmo and the rest of the cast had to undergo gruelling, real-life military training to fully imbibe a trooper’s spirit. Prior to the trainings, he also did his research. He buckled down to acting out a complex character, an introvert soldier with emotional baggage. It was a fun kind of challenge for him.
As the main ‘antagonist’ in the story, Sid was careful not to tweak the realities of a Moro’s life and make the portrayal appear disrespectful. He would admit that there is a stigma attached to our Muslim brothers and he wishes he could educate other people more about what’s on the other side of the fence. He wanted to know more about the beautiful Muslim culture.
Similarly, the military side required a precise representation. They didn’t want to downplay the gargantuan sacrifices that these unsung heroes make. The team was escorted by real soldiers on their first taping days. They were greatly affected by their stories and even witnessed them mourn over the loss of some comrades.
A Soldier’s Heart now has a special place in Sid’s memories. He will never forget growing his beard for two years and not being able to work on other projects because of the rugged look. It’s a sacrifice that came with the role, and it’s an effort that only passionate actors can pull off. Whether he gets a positive or negative comment, Sid always gives his best.
The challenges did not end there. After less than two months of airing, the COVID-19 pandemic halted the productions. And the ABS-CBN franchise non-renewal stirred bigger obstacles, at first.
Instead of killing the team’s fighting spirit, these hurdles even fuelled everyone’s passion and commitment to the audiences. Lock-in tapings and livestreaming kicked off. As the team continued working for the show, the effort surprisingly doubled. Everyone was inspired to do more and the camaraderie got more solid. “It’s how everybody came together when everything came apart,” expressed Sid.
Elmo added that everyone was involved. They all knew how to carry their individual roles, leading to a collective success.
The transition from free TV to digital was unprecedented yet triumphant. This only proves that anyone with a pure motive can certainly rise from the ashes. “As ugly as that, we were able to do something nice out of it,” Sid further said.
Although they had to follow strict protocols and re-write the original finale plot in the process, things just magically fell into place. Elmo and Sid, and certainly the rest of the cast, are overwhelmed with the strong online reception. Elmo considers the viewers’ undying support as one of the many positives amidst the negativities around them. Sid likewise feels good about it, saying the response brings them a spark of hope that there will still be a platform for them. With this, they are extremely grateful.
As the countdown to the A Soldier’s Heart Final Salute begins, Elmo and Sid couldn’t help but look back on their fondest memories on the set. Sid called his co-stars as the family that he fell in love with.
To end the interview, the guests played a who’s who game in a fun Bukingan Challenge. Elmo owned up to being the sleepyhead in the group. A photo of him sleeping right after a take would serve as evidence, thanks to Nash Aguas and Carlo Aquino. Sid gave his vote to Nikki Valdez.
Sid declared himself as the record holder for the most number of ‘cuts.’ He said he would often forget his lines during emotionally intense scenes. Elmo thought of Yves Flores and Jerome Ponce.
Elmo raised his hands when asked who among the cast likes to bring food at work. His PA (Personal Assistant) used to have a food selling side business on the set. Nikki Valdez and Gerald Anderson also fall under this category. Gerald brought a grill pan during the lock-in tapings, making their stay a lot more festive. They even had a steak night!
The “workout is life” title belongs to Vin Abrenica who brings his fitness equipment on location. Carlo Aquino, who loves to run around the camp at 6 AM, would have to be the runner-up.
Elmo named Gerald as the early bird, although they all arrive on time. Patrick Quiroz is in-charge of the selfies and photos. Elmo awarded Sid as the most talkative among them. Jerome likewise loves to chat.
The cast member who can cry in a snap? It’s no less than award-winning veteran actress Irma Adlwan, who Sid jestingly described as “Kahit tumatawa, lumuluha.”
How far could a soldier sacrifice for his oath? Don’t miss the remaining episodes leading to the A Soldier’s Heart The Final Salute on Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live.