Penduko is a 2023 Filipino sword-and -sorcery film written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana. Based on the Liwayway character, Pedro Penduko, it will serve as a reboot of the character’s various film and television adaptations. The film will star Matteo Guidicelli as the titular character along with Cristine Reyes. Produced by Sari Sari Network, the film will be released on December 25, 2023 as an entry to the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Empoy Marquez and Matteo Guidicelli as Pedro Penduko
On August 10, 2017, Viva Films announced their intention to make a film reboot of the Pedro Penduko franchise by casting James Reid as Penduko; Reid had previously voiced his interest in portraying the role during the comic book launch of Regene Estolatan’s reimagined Pedro Penduko in August 2016. Nadine Lustre was later cast as Maria Makiling on October 19, 2017. Treb Monteras II was initially hired as the film’s director, while Estolatan was hired to write the film’s screenplay.
On May 31, 2019, Reid was forced to drop out of the film due to a spinal injury. On October 22, 2019, Matteo Guidicelli was announced to have replaced Reid as Penduko for the film, with Laxamana now in the helm as both director and screenwriter and Sonny Sison as fight choreographer. Empoy Marquez and child actor Alonzo Muhlach were also cast for the film by this time, with the former to play the regular version of Pedro Penduko. By January 2020, it was revealed that Penduko will be depicted as a Cebuano, similar to Guidicelli.
On February 25, 2020, Guidicelli began attending an acting workshop with Laxamana and fellow cast members Marquez and Nicole Omillo in preparation for the film’s production.
Principal photography began on August 21, 2023.
Penduko was originally slated for release on December 25, 2020 as an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was delayed indefinitely. In May 2023, Guidicelli confirmed that the film is still in the works. On July 10, 2023, the MMFF announced that Penduko was among the first four films to be accepted as entries to the festival 49th edition on December 25, 2023.
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