Bourne Legacy shoot in Manila highlights Filipino condition

Apart from being the first big-time Hollywood production to shoot in the Philippines in a long time, Bourne Legacy which stars Jeremy Renner in the lead role along with Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton will be the first mega-budget Hollywood blockbuster film to actually feature the Philippines as part of its storyline. Despite the Philippines being used as a film production location every now and then, it often takes no more than the role of a body-double for other cities

Manila has a history of being used to portray other cities: It served as Jakarta in Peter Weir’s 1982 drama “The Year of Living Dangerously,” Bangkok in Jonathan Kaplan’s 1999 thriller “Brokedown Palace,” and Panama City in Showtime’s 2000 biopic “Noriega: God’s Favorite.”

“Legacy,” however, will be the first notable Hollywood movie to represent the capital as itself. Action scenes including a helicopter hovering above the financial district and a long car chase through a major thoroughfare are to be shot in the city, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. The production will also film in Palawan, an island province known for its pristine beaches and tropical rain forests.

That only a tiny handful out of dozens of films that shot on location in the Philippines actually acknowledge the country in its plot is remarkable considering the non-trivial size of the Filipino community in the United States. It highlights the embarrassingly tiny cultural imprint millions of Filipinos-Americans collectively make in their adopted home.

On the other hand, this is good timing for Philippine tourism which is reeling from yet another promotions snafu after its much touted slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” delivered mixed results at best. Nevertheless, the powers that be are reportedly optimistic

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Malacañang acknowledged [the expectation that tourist dollars might follow] on Tuesday when Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda welcomed the filming of the movie here since “it will be a boost to tourism.”

Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino added that the decision to shoot a major Hollywood movie in Manila also shows it is safe to visit the Philippines.

According to various media reports, scenes will be shot in Metro Manila and the island of Palawan which is noted for its pristine beaches and natural landscape. Apart from Ayala Avenue in Makati City, however, many of the planned film locations in the Metro are not exactly noted for their physical beauty. Included in the reported itinerary are some public markets, narrow alley ways in the older more decrepit parts of Manila, and the infamous Navotas City Fish Port. Some buildings were even modified to make them “look older”.

Obviously, the nature of the Philippine capital as the quintessential Third World megalopolis is the key essence of Manila’s contribution to the setting of Bourne Legacy. Juxtaposed against its other location, the pristine scenery of Palawan, the Philippines’ place in the scheme of Bourne highlights the reality of the country — a nation of stark contrasts: extreme ugliness and breathtaking beauty with not much of note (at least to a film producer) in between.

39 Replies to “Bourne Legacy shoot in Manila highlights Filipino condition”

  1. Sadly, this thing only highlights the seemingly forever-starstruck character of our country. It is reported that many are frustrated to think that they can’t watch the shoot as if that will be the only thing to do in life. Even the cops are reported to act as “extras” in the movie. Well, they will be paid there. What is really embarassing is that they are there to act as security officers. I think they must choose – to be full-time cops or full-time movie extras.
    I guess it is not really an honor to have a Hollywood flick shot on here. The people’s normal lives will be disrupted because everybody wants to see the actors and to be in the movie. Maybe it will be a distraction from everyday shit everyone encounters and of course, the yellow king will endlessly praise his DOT secretary and the slogan will likely be falsely credited for attracting Bourne and his minions. Well, I guess it’s more funny in the Philippines even more.

  2. One thing to take out from this is that the director picked out the Philippines due to the overall location, not just because of the beautiful looks or the cultural connection or what not. The production staff and directors wanted a proper set with the kind of atmosphere and couldn’t get it anywhere but the Philippines.

    It will be funny considering how the Pinoys in general have reacted negatively to hollywood people commenting negatively about the country but gets highlighted for having the capital be used as a place to shoot a movie. But yeah, look for the yellow propaganda to make a spin out of this and have it be buzzed by everyone. Because that is all the Philippines can live off for: distractions.

  3. The bourne legacy scriptwriters just read the headlines each day for inspiration, but said the actual events/stories are too far fetched for western audiencies.

    Terrorism ‘threat?! switch off all communications,
    vice- mayor shot in ambush,
    another mayor barricading himself in town hall,
    Another mayor accused of running ‘death squad’!
    ex president in ‘jail’,
    chief justice being impeached,
    squatters shooting as riot police storm homes, congressman returning after jail time abroad for drug trafficking,
    Governors and senators advertising their films, whilst senators sister flees country after being accused of murdering her brother and posting his sex video on youtube
    dead woman found in suitcase at airport, presidents sister advertising canned tuna!
    Campaign advertising ‘more fun’ for tourists

    And that is just on one average day!

    You couldnt make it up.

    1. are you sure .. crimes is all over the world but think first that is other countries are not like this or the biggest problems are there… so FOR THE
      HO CHI MIHN CITY and JAKARTA its “more FUN in the PHILIPPINES… because it has unique beauties that other countries dont have…

  4. Aren’t we being a little bit too critical here?

    For sure, there are lots to criticize about the Philippines…poor infrastructure, lack of discipline, downright dirty, etc. And there are a lot to like too…nice beaches, generally sunny weather (debatable because of the heat), etc.

    But the fact that Manila will be featured as a location in a movie is something interesting and something to look forward to. This is nothing more than a Hollywood movie….something to be enjoyed and watched with suspension of reason. As a spectator, I will be interested to see how Manila will look in a Hollywood movie and how it will be projected.

    I agree that the government is spinning too much when it says the movie will bring in tourism dollars. When I watch a movie and see a nice city, I sometimes say to myself…”interesting. Maybe one day I can check out that city.” Other times, I don’t even care and I don’t think of visiting the city featured in the movie. For some cities, the usual stereotypes get reinforced (e.g., Cities in India featured in movies).

    As for Manila, maybe some people will have an idea about it, others may not. To those who have, the images may reinforce stereotypes or give them a different perspective. To those who have no idea, they will form first impressions. But honestly, many others, for the most part will not even care. Their primary concern is enjoying the action scenes in the movie, not analyzing whether Manila is a place they’d like to visit one day or not. Or if they ever have some thoughts of Manila at the time of the movie, they are likely to forget about it by the time the closing credits appear in the big screen (or small screen).

    Filipinos therefore should not expect too much and just enjoy the fact that Manila be in the limelight in the movie.

    And as the article making the Filipinos’ reaction, anticipation, and excitement to the movie an issue, I think it’s making much ado about nothing. It’s almost akin to the Philippine Catholic bishops commenting on everything no matter how minor or petty just so to make a point.

    Negativity is good if it leads to constructive redemption. But too much negativity can also batter the national psyche leading to extreme lack of self/country-esteem. And that’s not good if what we want is to build a new Philippines.

    1. @Gregory, that’s a fair comment. I personally like the Bourne series of movies and, recognising Matt Damon is no longer leading this instalment, have seen Renner in action in MI4 and a couple of earlier excellent desert storm movies (the titles escape me at the moment), so I absolutely agree it’s a movie to see and enjoy. That the setting will be in Manila (in both story and location) makes it interesting for me and, obviously, most Pinoys.

      This article is mainly a commentary about the the Philippines’ place in the scheme of the production (and Hollywood in general). Nothing to do with the entertainment value of the movie itself. I just kind it funny that those I see reveling about seeing A-list Hollywood stars on location in Manila are the very ones who wouldn’t be caught dead in those very places. 😉

    1. @Nutzi Vincenzo

      You are not proud to be Filipino… You are proud to be a member of the nutzi master yellow race. You are a follower of the yellow ribbon. Not the red, white and blue. Balimbing ka na ba? Magagalit sa iyo si Tito EvilNoy.

      1. @Der Fuhrer

        Are you saying you aren’t proud you’re filipino?

        Contrary to what you think, not all proud filipinos associate themselves with the yellow ribbon.

        Don’t lose hope.

    2. Way to go on saying those dirty words dumb flip. So are you proud that the movie will be set in the slums that most of the foreigners will laugh at our country and say “racist” comments to us?

  5. What is there to be proud of???
    Proud to have a wannabe dictator?
    Proud to have a president who has connections with the NPA?
    Proud to have a president that doesn’t have the SKILLS to fix our economy?
    Proud to have a president that PARTIED while people were suffering in CDO?
    Proud to have a president that bungled up a hostage rescue operation?
    Proud to have a president that SMILES during a CRISIS?


    1. Our President connection with the NPA? Please don’t tarnish their noble cause. But other than that what you said was true.

  6. I recall the Philippines also subbed for Vietnam in Apocalypse Now, and in a Star Wars movie as either Dagobah or Endor, not sure. But anyway, as if being a major film scene for a movie is an achievement. It’s nothing more than just convenient happenstance.

    A Hollywood movie is being filmed here… so what?

    1. What is there in the Philippines that the Hollywood movies are often going here? Cheaper production costs as compared to other countries like ours? Over-enthusiastic people who are fighting their asses to be an “extra” in the movie (less talent fee, perhaps?)? As if going to Hollywood will make people raise their social consciousness in a degree that is remotely smarter than the yellow zombies.

  7. I remember a few years back that Australia was often used to film a many Hollywood production because the costs were quite less costly then than in their local studios. Films like ‘Charlotte’s Web’ were filmed near my suburb in Melbourne. Pretty interesting to let you know that one of my friends was an extra and she got paid $100 for her participation. But yeah, people who get the hoopla over this Hollywood production are the same people who’d hate to hear the ‘filipino pride’ insulted when someone like Claire Danes speaks up the simple truth about the surroundings.

    1. Often times, Toronto is used as a substitute for scenes set in “New York.”

      A lot of CSI Miami shots are actually done in LA, too.

  8. Rachel Weisz looks like a God! Mas may dating in Tagalog: Sa sine, ordinary lang sila. Pero sa personal, mukha silang Diyos!

    Paris Hilton lalo. Mukha talagang angel nun nasa Megamall.

    Can you imagine the reaction of the people in Leveriza that day? Oh my God, there’s a Hollywood Star in front of our house!

    Just enjoy while they’re here. Parang fiesta everyday.

    1. Wanna go to places like Hacienda Luisita? Looc? It’s Fiesta of Killing everyday. Don’t get me wrong I like that Legacy was shot here just not because of the reasons you stated above.

    2. please don’t over-react over the presence of these albinos
      this practice is just like aping those Indian natives who thought that
      Spaniards who first landed on their beaches were “godz”
      who just descended from the heavens.
      these white monkeys have bad-breath and morning eye cakes upon getting up in the morning
      and are also endowed with smelly faeces and fart everytime they take a dump
      a lot of these don’t even take a bath regularly unlike Pinays
      most of all, they couldn’t care less towards captivated Flips whom they regard are subhumans
      don’t take my word for it_learn well from history.

  9. ..all i want is 2 watch dis bourne Legacy 4 the 1st time here in philipines that an actor n actress hollywood are here..!!

  10. FUN FACT:

    I noticed that Chuck Norris filmed quite a bit of his “South American” scenes for Delta Force II in the Philippines.

    But I recently noticed that the basketball gym scenes were filmed in the gym of my old alma mater of ISM. If you look closely, you can see the Eagles banners for the movie’s fictitious team shoddily covering the Indians mascot we used to have until 1995.

  11. Hi!

    Just want to add. Yes be happy that Manila was chosen as filming site for a Hollywood movie but remember to keep your feet firmly on the ground. There are still many more people to convince that the Philippines is a good investment bet.

    KL and Malaysia in general was selected as a filming site for several movies but in the end nobody watching the movie really care where the film was shot at. It the plot that matters. For example, “Entrapment”.

    It took Malaysia more than 20 years to convince 24 million people to visit it yearly and that was through a series of marketing strategies from the DOT and the guys who came up with the award winning slogan “Malaysia, truely Asia”. Dont forget, million of dollars was invested on the marketing alone and billions of dollars on the tourism infrastrutuce.

    Your present administration aimed and forecasted around 10 million tourists in 2016??? How to entice them? with just “salivia”? forgive my bluntness…Is there a “mystical or magical” formula that the Philippines have over other Asean Countries now? Really curious.

    1. Indeed, the Philippines lacks a convincing value proposition and a compelling differentiation story to distinguish itself among its competitors in the region. You need substance for that, and unfortunately for Filipinos, substance is in chronic short supply in their society.

      1. Hi Ben,

        My apologies if my bluntness is an affront to you. I actually grew to love the Philippines alot because of my upbringing and of cos my pinay wife!! She will kill me if I dont give due credit!!! Just kidding.

        Frankly, Philippine has her own niche which she can truely exploit. Its all there….just the right way of doing it to convey the right message. unfortunately…Its only “more fun in the Philippines” for all the wrong reasons!

        GOD!!! How could your Government spent money with an international class advert Co and come up with such a lame slogan pirated from another country??? Yet on the social media, we see so many filipinos parroting the tagline? Seriously? Do filipinos take foreigners for fools easily hoodwinked by a mere slogan? want repeat customers. the way the DOT is doing it is an one-off affair.

        You can only fool so many people in one time. But then again what does your govt care…its the next adminstration problem right?

  12. Sorry…I forgot to mention the bulk of the tourists to Malaysia are Singaporeans. Ahem..they are notoriously known for being nitpicking, fussy and at times…annoying and arrogrant.

    So being filipinos…do you think filipinos can afford to control their ego and bite the bullet when a foreigner complain about substandard service or will they take the easy way out and declare them all each time they complain “Persona Non Grata”?

  13. no need to be ashamed about gritty locales presented on this film.
    this, too, was my initial reaction after seeing the movie
    but then i realized later that the movie required a certain kind of “cinematic texture”
    that would effectively convey the story to the moviegoer.

    go and see ChuckNorris’ 1982 FORCED VENGEANCE shot in HongKong
    where the director filmed the action chase scenes
    using the grimy boathouses docked in Aberdeen as backdrop
    and not HKs gleaming highrise buildings
    there you go.

    and who gives a fart as to what ClaireDanes’ opinion is of the Phils?
    this ignorant/arrogant Yanqui bitch have no idea at all
    that even TimesSquare and NY subways are INFESTED WITH RATS
    especially that distinctive Disneyland themepark mascot
    just your typical Yanqui DUMBLONDE spouting dribble
    while her mind is lost in space

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