Exclusive: Enchong Dee Sees GomBurZa as a Wake Up Call and a Dream Come True

Exclusive: Enchong Dee Sees GomBurZa as a Wake Up Call and a Dream Come True


Enchong Dee sits down with MEGA Entertainment as he talks about why GomBurZa is not just a wake up call, but also a dream come true for him

Perceptive and interesting in his speech and actions, Enchong Dee is one of today’s actors that you could sit with and talk to for hours on end. With a career spanning almost two decades, he surely has a lot to say on his craft and the deeper meaning behind the artistry. Luckily, MEGA Entertainment had the opportunity to catch up with the actor on why GomBurZa, an entry to the 2023 MMFF, has taught him to believe in dreams and also tune in to reality. 

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RELATED: Exclusive: Why Enchong Dee Prefers Filipino-Made Designs For International Events 

On claiming his dream role

“When I found out about it, even without reading the script, I was on board,” he explains his initial reaction upon hearing the project that was, then, only an idea. “I realized it’s such a dream come true. When I would look back years ago, every time I’ve had an interview, I would always say that my dream role would be [in a] historical [genre] or biopic. I felt like the universe gave it to me in one go,” Dee concludes with a smile on his face. 

As the actor-host delves more into his process of working on the film, he highlights collaboration as one of the keys that made things work. “It’s so fun to go to work every day. Having to collaborate with Direk Pepe Diokno, having to work with them [Tito Dante Rivero and Cedrick Juan], who are brilliant in their own ways, made the job so much easier. They [all] come on set, prepared, with their emotions at hand. So, alam mo ‘yun, you really just have to focus on yourself and on your role, and everything just meshes well harmoniously.” 

Apart from his co-actors, Enchong cited the involvement of a language teacher, historians, as well as the Jesuit community, who guided them all throughout the shooting process. 

On finding reality in history

In retelling history, one finds the challenge in the constraints of time setting reality. Bending it for the sake of creativity can be crucial as it talks about the truth. To us, it may just be a story. For others, it was their lived experience. 

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The actor equally shares this sentiment, best explaining the two sides of working on a project such as GomBurZa. “The beauty of doing films like this is we have a guide on how to approach the character, the story, how it will end. The story is very clear, very straightforward. The con, for me, is that you can’t go beyond that particular path. You already have a direction. It’s really having to put everything together in the boundaries of the actual and factual information we have. It’s a different approach in such a way that you are free, but you are free in a particular frame only.” 

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“I think the target of the film is really to humanize our heroes,” Enchong further points out. Us, being humans, we always have a light. May kadiliman din tayo. You have your flaws, vices, interests, but it doesn’t take away the fact that you have a responsibility to be a role model to Filipinos. It’s such a beautiful storytelling for me.” 

On living out his craft

While the actor is strengthening his Filipino roots through materials like the film, he is also reaching his hand out to the global sphere. This year alone, he graced events like the Manila International Film Festival in Los Angeles, Tokyo International Film Festival, and Locarno Film Festival. When asked if there is still pressure on his end, he had a straightforward answer. 

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“No, [only because] I am so much stronger in manifesting right now. Like, I can visualize everything, and it just happens for me. When I was shooting The Fisher last year, I said something like, ‘Ipapaayos ko na ‘yung damit ko for next year, para ‘pag nag-red carpet tayo, meron na akong damit!’ Holding on to that, wow, after a year, it really happened!” 

Of course, the lead also had his own hope for GomBurZa. “I will imagine GomBurZa being brought to like a film festival in Spain because there’s a connection during that time, which is the Spanish colonial era. I’d manifest it in every film that I would do starting now. I will not limit the possibilities of where [our] films would be.”

Ending the interview on a high note, Enchong Dee gave all of us a personal invitation to come and see their MMFF entry. “A practical reason for us to go to the movies is we get entertained, and at the same time, educated. It’s very timely for our country to have a clear understanding of our history that you cannot bend and change. We need more films like this so we can have a stronger foundation of our history. Supporting these kinds of productions will allow us to create more films [like this] in the future, so we hope you will line up for GomBurZa.”

Photos: ENCHONG DEE (via Instagram)

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