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JM De Guzman Pulls Out From Doing MMFF Film "San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir"

The father of JM de Guzman decided to withdraw his son's participation from doing the 2013 Metro Manila Film Fest "San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir," its director confirmed.

The biopic of the Filipino saint is an official entry to the 39th MMFF. De Guzman was supposed to star as Pedro Calungsod. However, because of "health reasons," Roniel de Guzman, a writer for the Manila Bulletin, decided to pull his son out from the production.

This was confirmed by Francis Villacorta, the writer and the director of the biopic. He accepted de Guzman's resignation from the film even though he has already signed a "commitment letter" that they submitted to the MMFF board.

He, however, thanked Mr. de Guzman for thinking about their production and withdrawing his son from the film. Mr. de Guzman said his son is suffering from "health reasons," and that he doesn't want the production to suffer just in case JM encounters problems again.

Mr. de Guzman said JM is going through some tough times lately. Reports said the young actor, who used to be a prized talent of ABS-CBN, entered a rehabilitation center in Tagaytay City because of drug abuse.

His ex-girlfriend, Jessy Mendiola, also hinted that de Guzman should help himself in order for him to get back to his feet. It hurts her that people think she's the one who pushed de Guzman to depression, which led him to use illegal drugs.

De Guzman's last project with ABS-CBN, "Angelito: Ang Bagong Yugto," was cut prematurely because of the actor's unprofessionalism. The Kapamilya network gave the actor an ultimatum, but he apparently didn't heed the warning.

TV5 decided to give a big project to de Guzman, but he didn't show up for the taping, reports said.

Villacorta, for his part, said he appreciates Mr. de Guzman's decision to withdraw his son from the film, which will demand a lot from JM--physically, mentally and emotionally. He said JM may not be up to the challenge of making a film like that.

Mr. de Guzman feels bad that JM wouldn't be able star in the film, Villacorta said. However, he doesn't want his son to be blamed for whatever delay in the production.

The director-writer is quite sad that JM withdrew from the film. He said since he started researching for the film two years ago, he already felt JM was the right actor to star in the film.

Pedro Calungsod is a catechist who died for Christianity in the 1600s in Marianas (currently Guam). He was canonized as a saint at the Vatican City last October 2012.

"Yeah, I did not let go of him, until the last minute. So, why should I not believe in the miracle that can happen to JM? Puwede naman, di ba? But now that the situation is here, being professionals, we have to confront it. We have to face it."

The production is now considering who to replace JM with. But Villacorta believed also that JM will bounce back from whatever happened to him. He said "good actors" like JM will never fade because of his raw talent and passion for acting.

What is important now for the writer-director is to find the right person to do it on the big screen. That is the concern of the MMFF and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)--the actor "has to be of equal importance or standing in show business."

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JM de Guzman Pulls Out From Doing MMFF Film

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