Hand-picked by box-office Director Shawn Levy himself to be one of the main antagonists in The Adam Project, Filipino-Canadian actor Alex Mallari Jr. is surely one to watch out for on the big screen. Born in Lubao City in Pampanga, Mallari moved to Canada where he grew up and pursued Criminology but then realizing he really wanted to take on his childhood dream to become an actor. Since then, he’s been a part of shows like Dark Matter, Shadowhunters, Designated Survivor, Ginny & Georgia, and more.
Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldaña, and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’
Double Trouble: a review of ‘The Adam Project’
In a roundtable interview with select media from the Philippines, Alex Mallari Jr. shared his journey as an actor in Hollywood, how he thinks there should be more opportunities for the Filipino community, what it was like working with such a star-studded project, and more.
What was it like knowing you were casted as one of the main antagonists in The Adam Project?
Alex: I was on the set of “Working Moms” and my manager got in touch with me. It was first about the movie “Resident Evil” so I first got that offer and shortly after that he called and told me that I also got “The Adam Project.” He asked me what I wanted to do because there was one day that won’t work out so I can’t do both of them. As much as I love Resident Evil, this movie had Ryan Reynolds, Shawn Levy, Zoe Saldaña — that’s something you can’t say no to so it was an easy choice.
How would you describe your journey as an actor in Hollywood? Do you think the opportunities for people of color are improving?
Alex: They’re certainly improving. There was a point where we were able to say “Hollywood isn’t doing a good job in bringing inclusiveness into the picture,” but now I don’t think we can say that anymore. I think now we can start to be a little more specific, as far as who isn’t and what isn’t being inclusive.
My journey has been fun and there have been a lot of opportunities that I found to be just learning opportunities because Filipinos aren’t really recognized. When they want Asian, we’re not the typical Asian look that they want. Very rarely that you see Filipinos until recently I have seen Pacific Islanders, Southeast Asians which is great but up until then, a lot of the things that I have gone out for and even now are open ethnicity, so we leave it at that.
But I do feel there needs to be not just more Filipino actors, but more Filipino writers, publicists, directors. I just worked with an awesome Filipino director of photography. It was just so nice — to just have our community there.
What was the most difficult part of portraying your character Christos?
Alex Mallari Jr.: The most difficult part was wrapping my mind around the fact that I was going to be in a movie with the best in the business — Zoe Saldaña, Ryan Reynolds, Shawn Levy, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, and newcomer Walker Scobell who acted so professionally. So wrapping my mind around the fact I was walking with the giants, I think that was the most difficult part. But when it came down that it was time to start working, it came so naturally. I feel like everyone on set had such awesome energy — everyone was just thankful to be there to tell this incredible story.
What were your specific preparations for Cristos? Were there any fighting styles that you worked on?
Alex: As far as prep goes, the moment I found out about it, it was a very strict diet because I had to be beside Ryan Reynolds and just a lot of working out as far as that. Taekwondo is something I’ve always done in my life so I’m proficient in that, and boxing as well. I’m not trained in it but there was a specific thing that I did ask for. In the movie, you see two sticks that I pull out — those weren’t really there, to begin with.
They asked if I was proficient in any weapons and I said there was a series that I did that I spent a lot of time with a katana, but I wanted to do something for the Philippines. So I asked if we can do something with arnis sticks or some sort of kali knife or something. It was nice that they were so accepting of my need to represent the Philippines in some capacity. I know it only made a few movies but I’m happy that it made the movie at all.
How did this project help you as an actor?
Alex: It helped me immensely! I’d probably give myself a six or seven out of 10. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to just be more comfortable and to let loose a little and don’t seek that permission to try things, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I think this film, thus far, has been my best learning experience. This publicity stuff is great, being able to work with these people is great, but being able to learn from my co-actors is better. There’s this old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” And I think that’s what The Adam Project was for me.
Watch The Adam Project official trailer:
The Adam Project premieres today, March 11, on Netflix. Stream here.
About ‘The Adam Project’
Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin
Producers: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Shawn Levy, p.g.a., Ryan Reynolds, p.g.a.
Executive Producers: Mary McLaglen, Josh McLaglen, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen, George Dewey, Patrick Gooing, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell, with Catherine Keener and Zoe Saldaña
Logline: A time-traveling pilot teams up with his younger self and his late father to come to terms with his past while saving the future.