Director Erik Matti is releasing a longer version of the neo-noir action thriller, On the Job, as an HBO Asia original series.
The upcoming six-part series, which combines the original 2013 film and its sequel On the Job: The Missing 8, is set to premiere on HBO GO this September. Filming the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed film concluded last September 2020, three years after production began.
The first two episodes in the series follows the story of Daniel (Gerald Anderson) and Mario "Tatang" Maghari (Joel Torre), two inmates temporarily released from prison to serve as contract killers for politicians and high ranking military officials while the tandem of NBI agent Francis Coronel Jr. (Piolo Pascual) and policeman Joaquin Acosta (Joey Marquez) are tasked with hunting them down.
In a July 29 Instagram post, Matti expressed enthusiasm for the film's "second life" through the HBO GO series which would include never-before-seen footage from the original film.
“We brought back several plotlines that I’ve written into the original script that slowed down the main plot when it was just a movie,” Matti shared on Instagram.
“Now that it’s a series we can now explore as many plotlines as we can so we were able to close the (Gerald Anderson) relationship story with (Dawn Jimenez),” the award-winning director shared.
"I was in awe rediscovering the material that we all shot back then and see the characters live on again with their lives showing a little more of their characters," Matti added.
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Matti also noted that the series was able to explore the “father-son angle” between Joey Marquez’s and Gerald Anderson’s characters more and “to push the father issue and the political ambition of (Piolo Pascual) with additional scenes" uncovered from old material.
“I was in awe rediscovering the material that we all shot back then and see the characters live on again with their lives showing a little more of their characters,” Matti shared.
“That’s the magic I was so surprised to feel when I saw the [footage] again. Their ages never changed. Same look. Same clothes. But we see more of their lives. Like they were stuck in a time capsule and we just picked new moments in their lives that we wanted to see. And there, we see it again. A little more fleshed out, a little more human. Awesome magic!!!” he emphasized.
"The series centers around crime syndicates that temporarily release contracted prison inmates to carry out political assassinations for those in power, except that the crime syndicates are run by politicians. Inspired by true events, the series also puts a spotlight on the real-world predicament concerning fake news and how easily truth can be manufactured and disseminated to the public in today's age of information," the HBO GO synopsis reads.
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“No turning back. The deadline is real. It’s up!” Matti said.
While the first two episodes are from the original film, the remaining episodes of the upcoming series are set to premiere in this year’s Venice Film Festival.
On the Job: The Missing 8 is set to compete and make its world premiere at the upcoming 78th Venice International Film Festival from September 1 to 11, 2021.
Competing alongside 20 other films, On the Job: The Missing 8 is the only Filipino production in the lineup this year, according to the Venice International Film Festival. The sequel features John Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, Christopher de Leon and Dante Rivero, among others.
The film will be competing under the main competition for full-length feature films category.
(Screenshots from HBO GO)