Tetchie Agbayani reveals why she turned down 'Rambo 2' with Sylvester Stallone

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Tetchie Agbayani reveals why she turned down 'Rambo 2' with Sylvester Stallone
Composite image of Tetchie Agbayani and a scene from 'Rambo: First Blood Part II'
GMA Network / Released, Tri-Star Pictures

MANILA, Philippines — Actress Tetchie Agbayani looked back at her career, shooting and trying out for international films, including "Rambo: First Blood Part II," which she turned down despite completing a test screening with Sylvester Stallone.

Agbayani sat down for an interview with broadcaster Julius Babao for his YouTube series "Julius Babao Unplugged," with the second part uploaded last June 11.

The actress recalled moving to Los Angeles after appearing on the German edition of Playboy in 1982, which made her the first and only Filipina to date to have done so, and working on a few Filipino movies.

After attempts to study in University of California, Los Angeles and find non-showbiz jobs, a friend suggested Agbayani to try acting. This led her to meet talent agent J.J. Harris, who at the time handled Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and Michael J. Fox.

Harris helped Agbayani get into the films "The Emerald Forest," "Gymkata" and "The Money Pit," the latter as the stepmother to Tom Hanks' character despite having no scenes with him.

After some time, Harris contacted Agbayani about auditioning for "Rambo: First Blood Part II" because it was reportedly going to shoot in the Philippines.

The role for Vietnamese intelligence agent Co Phuong Bao went down between Agbayani and Singaporean-American actress Julia Nickson, and the two agreed whoever got the part will treat the other to an expensive dinner.

Agbayani went to a screen test with Stallone. Harris called the actress to inform her she had landed the role; however, the shoot was going to be in Mexico and not the Philippines because of logistical issues. "Rambo 2" was released in 1985. The early 1980s were marked by high tension during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s final years as president. 

Related: Why Tetchie Agbayani thinks stars should continue 'pakikisawsaw' in politics

"I just came from the jungles of the Amazon. I wouldn't mind the jungles of the Philippines but Mexico?" Agbayani told Harris, turning the role down. Nickson nabbed the part instead.

The actress also shared her audition with Stallone went well, finding the action star polite but not as tall, "Simple lang siya... Pangkaraniwan lang, hindi siya ma-ere."

Many years later when Agbayani was at the airport heading back to the Philippines, she crossed paths with Nickson, whom Agbayani pointed out was married to "Starsky & Hutch" star David Soul for six years.

"Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Look, let's do this. Let's not have dinner. Let's just keep this nice story between us going... that you'll forever owe me a dinner,'" Agbayani recalled telling Nickson, happy the latter got the "Rambo" sequel role.

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Babao asked Agbayani if she had any regrets about turning down the "Rambo: First Blood Part II" role, given that it might have changed the trajectory of her career. The actress said she has no regrets. 

"Wala naman akong ilusyon na I wanna make it big in Hollywood, ang sakin ay everything is an adventure," Agbayani explained. "Let's see what unfolds. There's more to life than just acting, even up to now."

The actress also pointed out that accepting the "Rambo" sequel might have not allowed her to come back to the Philippines, finish her collegiate studies, or have a family.

"To me, life is a learning experience, life is there to live [and] make the most of, and certainly not just all about being an actor," Agbayani ended. — Video from Julius Babao Unplugged on YouTube

RELATED: Chavit Singson says 'Vagabond 2' to tap Filipino actors

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