“Voltes V: Legacy” director Mark Reyes admits it was hard to cast actors in the show
After more than three years of waiting, GMA-7’s live-action adaptation of “Voltes V,” titled “Voltes V: Legacy,” is finally airing on television.
Chosen to play the lead cast are Sparkle artists Ysabel Ortega, Radson Flores, Matt Lozano, Raphael Landicho, and Miguel Tanfelix. They form the Voltes team. A heavy supporting cast backs them up, led by Martin del Rosario, Liezel Lopez, Gabby Eigenmann, Neil Ryan Sese, Epy Quizon, Carlo Gonzalez, among others.
Kapuso premiere stars Carla Abellana, Max Collins, and Dennis Trillo are also playing special roles in the series. Newbie Sparkle artists, such as Elle Villanueva, Crystal Paras, Kimson Tan, Joaquin Manansala, Sophia Senoron, and Jamir Zabarte, are also part of the big cast.
During the recent media conference for the series, FreebieMNL asked “Voltes V: Legacy” director Mark Reyes about his considerations in choosing the ensemble that will bring the big project to life.
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Choosing the “Voltes V: Legacy” lead cast
The “Voltes V: Legacy” director says that it was “stricter” choosing the Voltes V Team, primarily because they are “iconic.”
Reyes then explains how he chose the cast, starting from Radson Flores, who was an avenger of “StarStruck” season seven.
Reyes says, “The best thing I could remember is that when I saw Radson in ‘StarStruck,’ there’s my Mark Gordon. He looked like the anime, the kilay, and all. So, I wanted him to audition, so, I was biased already.
“But serendipity runs in this whole production for so many reasons. One is what were the chances that Radson already knew how to ride a horse since he was a young boy. So, we didn’t have to make him go through training. So, once we had the scenes with the horse, it was second nature to Radson.”
As for Ysabel Ortega, her lineage added to her advantage, being the daughter of senator and action star Lito Lapid.
Reyes explains, “Si Ysabel, I was looking for…tough act ang Jamie Robinson. She’s a kick-ass girl. But if you know her lineage, that says it all.
“She took up gymnastics then she took up martial arts training prior to when we started. So, she really delivered.”
Matt Lozano, who started his career in a singing contest in “Eat Bulaga,” had to do adjustments to suit the casting for Big Bert.
It also helped that Reyes knew him wayback since Lozano is the daughter of veteran producer Elaine Lozano.
“Si Matt, I knew him because I know his mother, we worked on so many projects behind the camera. But when he auditioned, I know he was determined, he was training. He was not [looking like] Big Bert at that time, he was a bit big but not as hefty.
“So, when he got the part, [I said], ‘Matt, this is the best thing I’m gonna tell any actor, eat. Eat all you want.’ So, he fits the role as Big Bert but I know he’s gonna shed his pounds after ‘Voltes V’ because he’s been dying to lose weight.”
Child actor Raphael Landicho, who played important roles in the Kapuso shows “Love of My Life” and “Bihag,” had it easy in terms of casting.
Reyes explains, “He was a shoe in. We didn’t have time to audition, he was the apple of the eye of GMA management and basically, he was given the role of Little Jon, and I agreed. So, I had no problem.”
As for Kapuso homegrown actor Miguel Tanfelix, who started in “StarStruck Kids” in 2004 and has starred in the network’s landmark projects, gets the biggest role in the series.
Reyes says, “He grew up in my eyes with all our projects and the network was saying, they’re eyeing him for Steve Armstrong. It was like a shoe in na, he fits the part.”
Camp Big Falcon cast members
Again, the “Voltes V: Legacy” director admits that casting wasn’t easy. He remarks, “Ang hirap, e, kung iconic yung character sa anime, how does that transfer to live action?”
He then gives a quick rundown about the supporting cast. First is for Camp Big Falcon’s Gabby Eigenmann and Neil Ryan Sese, the allies of the Voltes V team.
Reyes narrates, “Gabby was easy. People were saying that he’s old enough to play Commander Robinson. He just has a baby face, but he has how many children already.
“And there was this Japanese reaction video, the minute that he came out, ‘Oka Oka Oka!’ That’s the Japanese name’s version,” saying that the Japanese fans see the resemblance between Commander Robinson in the anime and Eigenmann.
Reyes continues: “And then Neil Ryan Sese, the minute that I was looking for Doctor Hook, I wasn’t listening to any other name because I knew Neil was gonna be able to deliver that part of Doctor Hook.”
Carla Abellana was already Reyes’ choice for Mary Ann Armstrong, same with Dennis Trillo playing Ned Armstrong. They play the parents of Steve, Little Jon, and Big Bert.
However, having Trillo in the cast was a bit challenging as he was already committed to two separate programs during the course of taping for “Voltes V: Legacy.”
Reyes recalls, “It was so funny, actually it was [all in] God’s time, e. Dennis was still doing ‘Legal Wives,’ e, nag-uumpisa na kami, aabot na kami sa part ni Doctor Armstrong. Then there was more pandemic levels, na-delay nang na-delay yung shoot until pwede na. So, pwede na si Dennis, so, we are able to shoot the first part of Doctor Armstrong.
“And then, there were more delays that happened, he took on Crisostomo Ibarra in ‘Maria Clara at Ibarra.’ So, we had to wait. We just needed him for one more day to finish the series. So, ganyan po kalayo ang inabot nitong ‘Voltes V’ na may tatlong shows nang dumaan until bumalik si Dennis sa amin para masarado.”
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The Boazanian force
Reyes also made sure that he chose the cast that will form the Boazanian force very well, as they will comprise the show’s kontrabidas.
For Martin del Rosario, who plays main villain Prince Zardoz, Reyes says, “Martin, again, was a shoe in. The minute that he auditioned for Zardoz, I said, ‘Hahanap pa ba tayo ng iba? Ayan oh.’ It was easy.
“It was hard to be a bad guy but people had to have empathy with you. He was able to deliver that monologue, sure ball.”
Liezel Lopez, who plays Zandra, was able to look the part. “She was like flirting with me the entire process, so, she got the part. She was sexy and all. Of course, she delivered the acting.”
Carlo Gonzalez and Epy Quizon were the right actors the “Voltes V: Legacy” director has been looking for their respective characters.
“Si Carlo, we needed someone tall and then I didn’t want to go too cliche. In the anime, dark and then ghoulish type si Draco. So, I said naman, the Boazanians, especially the elite Boazanian, mga mestizo at mestiza yan.
“Then, he worked out so bad before we started, talagang todo yan. Batak na batak yan. Then he saw the costume, nothing was seen in his body, he said, ‘Ninong naman, wala palang makikita dito!’ ‘E, okay na yan, at least you’re in shape!’
“And then, last in the principal characters, Epy was a shoe in. No other person in mind also that I wanted to do Zul and you should see Epy. The chemistry of Epy with these three, ang sarap panuorin ng Boazanians.
“Kaya nga sabi ko, you will love to hate them but you’ll hate yourself for loving them because ang ganda ng chemistry nila.”
READ ALSO: GMA’s Latest “Voltes V: Legacy” Reel Earns Approval Of Anime’s Original Producer
“Voltes V: Legacy” premieres today, May 8, on GMA Telebabad after “24 Oras.”
Banner Art Paulo Correa