Filipino talent has graced the global acting stage over the years as seen with these Pinoy celebs who’ve acted in Hollywood productions.
Liza Soberano recently made headlines when it was revealed that she was joining the cast of Lisa Frankenstein, marking her first ever Hollywood movie. The career move is definitely a flex, considering the talent involved with the production, and that Liza only made her Hollywood intentions publicly known a few months ago. But Liza isn’t the first Filipino to take that leap into acting in Hollywood productions. Over the decades, a handful of local stars have managed to land roles in these international titles. While that coveted Hollywood A-list status has eluded many Filipino actors, that isn’t for the lack of talent or trying, because our stable of performers have that in spades. As we wait for Liza and whoever local stars follow her in appearing in overseas movies, here are some Filipinos who acted in Hollywood movies.
Being the global star that she is, Anne Curtis would eventually find her way to Hollywood. And that happened in 2014 when she starred in Blood Ransom playing the lead female role of Crystal. At the time, her participation in the project was a big deal considering that it was Anne’s first Hollywood film. The movie itself though left much to be desired, so if Anne does score another Hollywood project, hopefully it can be of better quality.
Iza Calzado is a certified veteran of the acting industry. She recently completed her memorable run as Leonor, the first Darna on the new Darna TV series. And throughout her decades long career, Iza has also appeared in Western productions. In 2004, she was the lead female star of Yam Laranas’ horror movie Sigaw. Then, in 2008, the film got an American remake and was entitled The Echo. When the film was remade in Hollywood, not only did Laranas direct it, but Iza also joined the cast, playing Gina. Nearly a decade later, she, alongside Mon Confiado, had roles in the Manila-based action film, Showdown in Manila.
Lea Salonga will forever be known as one of the OG Filipino stars in Hollywood. We all know the Disney icon as the legendary singing voice of Princess Jasmine and Mulan. And while she has spent most of her time with her music career, she has also continued to dabbled in acting too. Most recently, she was casted in the Pretty Little Liars spin-off, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, which is currently airing on HBO Go. In it, she plays Elodie Honrada, the queer mom of Minnie Honrada, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.
In the beginning of 2022, Jericho Rosales relocated to New York City in order to further his acting skills and pursue a career in America. But over a decade ago, the actor had his first brush with working with Hollywood filmmakers. In 2011, Jericho was casted as the lead male role in Subject: I Love You, a romantic thriller from Francis dela Torre, who would later direct Anne Curtis in his next film, Blood Ransom. His female co-star was Briana Evigan, who you may know as Andie from the Step Up series.
Before Crazy Rich Asians was released, there was speculation that some Filipino stars would appear in the movie. And that came true in the form of Kris Aquino’s role as Princess Intan. While her screen time may have been short, she made the most of it as her character gave a crucial pep talk to Rachel Chu during that wedding scene.
Born and raised in Manila, Nico Santos and his family moved to the US when he was sixteen. While he did start his career as a comedian, he quickly pivoted to acting in movies and television. Most may know Nico as Mateo in the TV series Superstore, a role in which shot Nico into Hollywood fame. The Filipino actor has also appeared in films like Crazy Rich Asians where he played Oliver T’sein, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 where he played Heath. Speaking of movies, Nico is set to appear in his biggest one yet next year with a unspecified role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The Bourne Legacy is mostly remembered for a couple of things. First, it is the only movie in the Bourne series that’s not starring Matt Damon (Jeremy Renner takes on the new lead of Aaron Cross). And second, a portion of the film is set in Manila, which meant the cast and crew flew to the country to film for a few days. Not only are prominent locations like EDSA featured in the film, but they also hired a few Filipino actors to play small roles. Most memorably, John Arcilla played the role of Joseph the security guard. Given his caliber of acting though, John Arcilla could definitely take on more meatier roles in the future.
When Jake Zyrus first blew up in the late 2000s, the sudden rise in his career opened a lot of doors for him. He memorably had a recurring role in Glee playing Sunshine Corazon. And in 2012, he had a role in Kevin James’ Here Comes the Boom.
Most actors on this list appeared in either comedies or dramas. But Carla Humphries switched things up a bit by appearing in a horror movie. This 2022, the actress played the lead female role in Old Strangers, an indie horror flick about three friends who encounter a dark secret while out hiking in the woods. In 2021, she also played the lead role in the short The Hunt: Savage Within while 2019 saw her take on the role of Patricia in the drama Empty by Design.
It’s not often that we see Hollywood productions be set almost entirely in the Philippines. So, when it does, it catches our attention. In 2019, Rhian Ramos starred in British-Filipina Andrea Walter film Empty by Design, which she wrote and directed. She stars as Samantha, a recent university graduate who returns home to the Philippines and struggles to make connections with the people back home. That is until she runs into Eric, a Hollywood stuntman and body double.
If you’ve seen the recent The Sandman series adaption on Netflix, then you may have seen a Filipino actress in a memorable side role. That actress is Lourdes Faberes who was born in Manila, but moved to London to further pursue her acting career. Since then, she’s racked up a long list of acting credits in major productions. On The Sandman, she was casted as Kate Fletcher in episode five, 24/7. She was also in another Neil Gaiman adaption, Good Omens, where she played Pollution for three episodes. And for fans of 007, you may want to watch No Time to Die again as she plays a Spectre Agent in the film.