We all did a double-take when we reached the end of Culion's teaser trailer and saw John Lloyd Cruz's face, all teary-eyed and emotional. Up until the teaser release, John Lloyd's involvement in the film was kept a big secret!
Here's what we know, so far, about this intriguing new film:
1. It's JLC's first movie since he went on hiatus in 2017.
Earlier this year, John Lloyd returned to showbiz by starring in an advertisement for a popular shawarma brand. His last film was the Star Cinema movie Finally Found Someone (2017), where he starred opposite Sarah Geronimo.
2. Culion's story revolves around a disease called leprosy.
The film is set in the 1940s, back when the island of Culion in Palawan was a "leprosarium"—it was where people with leprosy or Hansen's Disease came to stay.
The movie follows the story of three leper patients. According to ABS-CBN Entertainment, Anna (Iza Calzado) is the optimist: She never loses hope that a cure for leprosy will be discovered soon. Doris (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), on the other hand, believes that a diwata will come to heal everyone. And lastly, Ditas (Meryll Soriano) tries to kill herself out of despair...several times. We don't know what John Lloyd's character is going to be like yet, but he's reportedly "very important" and is connected to Ditas.
Watch the trailer here:
3. The backstory is so tragic, it'll make you cry!
According to Inquirer, Culion, Palawan became a "leprosarium" in 1906, under American rule. Leprosy on the island had been contained since the 1980s and it was only declared a leprosy-free area by the World Health Organization in 2006!
Culion aims to break the stigma surrounding the disease and the island itself. Imagine how sick people in the 1940s must have felt while *trapped* in that place! If left untreated, leprosy can cause serious and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. Although leprosy is highly infectious, it CAN be treated. These days, the disease can be cured through multidrug therapy (MDT).
4. The cast and crew actually flew to Culion, Palawan for filming.
How ~authentic~! The film's production staff even recreated the town's famous Plaza Basa Avellana and renovated the old houses surrounding it. Here are some behind the scenes photos from the cast:
5. There's a big chance we'll see it in December 2019.
The film, directed by Alvin Yapan and written by Ricky Lee, is vying to be part of this year's Metro Manila Film Festival! The confirmed films (so far) are (K)ampon, Miracle In Cell No. 7, Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity, and Momalland.
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