Miracle in Cell No.7 play a mentally challenged father wrongfully accused of kidnapping, rape and murder


“Miracle in Cell No. 7,” award-winning actor Aga Muhlach was immediately cast to play the a mentally challenged father wrongfully accused of kidnapping, rape and murder. That was fast and easy. Director Nuel Naval was given a free hand by Viva Films producer Vic del Rosario, to choose the supporting cast. That was after child star Xia Vigor was assigned the role as the daughter Yesha, and Bela Padilla (replacing Nadine Lustre) as the adult lawyer-daughter who defends her father to clear his name. However, the slammer where most of the important scenes in the film 70 percent were shot, immediately posed a big problem to the producer. Knowing that prison cells everywhere in the country are crowded with inmates, Viva Films deemed it better to construct a real jail in Cainta, Rizal. It took two months for the air-conditioned sound stage to be completed, before cast and crew were able to start filming. Production designer was Elfren Vibar, also a TV director on ABS-CBN.

The story happens in 1987, when Lito pleaded guilty beyond reasonable doubt to the crimes, none of which he committed. He becomes Inmate 5483, with a criminal case docketed 8098. Told in flashback starting from the point of view of the adult Yesha, played by Bela Padilla, the film narrates how Lito grew up, prior to his trial. He was born in January 1961 and was only five years old when his mom died. He never met his dad. He grew up with his aunt and uncle. From the start, he had a tight relationship with his grade school daughter, Yesha. One morning, Lito follows a young girl who will tell him where to buy a Sailor Moon backpack for his daughter. However, the young girl gets into an accident and dies. Lito was accused of killing and even raping the girl, whom he was merely trying to resuscitate. Lito was charged with kidnapping, rape and murder, none of which he actually committed. He lands in jail, but subsequently builds friendship with the other inmates in his cell. In return, they all conspired to help him see his daughter again by smuggling her inside the prison. “Miracle in Cell No. 7” is based on the heart-warming South Korean film of the same title, released in 2013. The film marks the second time Viva produced a remake of another Korean drama, following last year’s “Miss Granny,” with Sarah Geronimo in the lead. In “Miracle in Cell No. 7,” Yesha, at one point, was left in an orphanage away from her father. The young girl tells Mang Johnny she wants to steal instead, so she will be jailed, see her dad and be with him.

John Arcilla is the jail’s deputy director Johnny San Juan or Mang Johnny, with Yayo Aguila as his wife. Tirso Cruz III essays the role of Secretary Yulo, a high-ranking police officer. Playing minor but equally important roles are Jeffrey Quizon as the prosecuting lawyer, Ian De Leon for defense, and Mark Anthony Fernandez as the leader of a group of toughie inmates against Boss Sol’s clout. Five actors were given roles to play the fellow inmates of Muhlach’s character, Joselito “Lito” Gopez. Joel Torre is Boss Sol, Mon Confiado is Choy, Jojit Lorenzo is Bong, Soliman Cruz is Tatang Celso, and JC Santos is Mambo.Here is the movie trailer.

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