Romeo John Gonzales Arcilla (born June 24, 1966) is a Filipino actor and environmentalist. He is best known for playing the role of the Antonio Luna in the historical epic film Heneral Luna and Hagorn, in the fantasy drama television series Encantadia.
John Arcilla was born as Romeo John Gonzales-Arcilla on June 24, 1966 in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines to Filipino parents, Dominador Gil Alemania Arcilla and Eustacia Gonzales. He is a descendant of Manuel L. Quezon from his mother's side. Arcilla and his family moved to his mother's hometown Baler, Aurora due to the declaration of martial law in 1972. There, he began to show interest in acting at age 7, when he had fantasies of performing on stage in front of a large audience. He was heavily influenced by his parents, from his mother who was a fan of Broadway and Hollywood actors such as Julie Andrews, Yul Brynner & Marilyn Monroe and from his father who was very interested in film.
Arcilla finished high school at Mount Carmel College of Baler (MCC Baler). He was an avid participant and member of the Philippine Educational Theater Association-Metropolitan Teen Theater League (PETA-MTTL) community based, during his high school days. He graduated as a scholar of mass communication from Saint Joseph's College of Quezon City (SJCQC). He was an acting scholar of the Actors' Workshop Foundation under Laurice Guillen and Leo Martinez from 1987 to 1990.
Arcilla joined Tanghalang Pilipino, which is the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He played the lead roles in several plays, including Orosman and Zafra, Walang Sugat, and Ryan Cayabyab's Rizal musical trilogy. He continued performing between 1990-1997 and during which, he also got his first work outside of theater in a bacon TV commercial "Coffee na lang Dear" and became incredibly popular, allowing him to do more mainstream projects.
He appeared on television and starred in several films, gaining recognition for his performance in the 1996 film, Mulanay for which he won Best Actor at the 1996 Manila Film Festival. A year later, he starred in Ligaya Ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin and won another Best Supporting Actor award at the Gawad Urian.
From 1998-2005 Arcilla once again starred in several supporting roles in film and television, including the 2000 drama series, Pangako Sa 'Yo, the 2003 action-crime drama, Basta't Kasama Kita and 2005 fantasy drama, Sugo. He played the lead role in the film adaptation of Tony Perez' play about infidelity, Sa North Diversion Road. Arcilla and co-star Irma Adlawan have previously played their roles in the theater version. Both actors were nominated at the 2006 Golden Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress in a Leading Role (Drama) respectively.
In 2006, Arcilla starred in the film Compound. He was once again nominated for a Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Drama) at the 2007 Golden Screen Award and earned a nomination for Movie Actor of the Year at the Star Awards for Movies. In 2009, he earned his third Gawad Urian nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film Manila Skies.
He starred in three films in 2010, the indie film Halaw for which he won a Best Actor award at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, Amigo, which is an American-Filipino drama film based on the Philippine-American War, and the comedy-drama, Petrang Kabayo. He returned to television in 2010 in the suspense drama Magkaribal. In 2011, he played supporting characters in two television shows, Machete and Mana Po. He was also in two films, Thelma and No Other Woman.
He had a minor role in the 2012 spy thriller The Bourne Legacy, where he played the head security guard. He also played Mariano Trias in the Emilio Aguinaldo biopic, El Presidente.
In 2013, he starred in the British-Filipino independent film Metro Manila which was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. Arcilla earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 16th British Independent Film Awards.
In 2015, Arcilla played Gen. Antonio Luna in the historical biopic film, Heneral Luna. Having played several national heroes before, he was already familiar with historical films. To prepare for the role, he carefully analyzed the positive and negative sides of the general's personality, taking note of his temper and vulnerability. The film broke the record for highest grossing Filipino historical film of all time. Owing to the popularity of his role as Antonio Luna, Arcilla would later reprise or parody his role as the general in various television commercials.