Danny Trejo to play historical explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Filipino epic ‘1521’

The film will be centred around the Battle of Mactan

Iconic American actor Danny Trejo has been cast as historical Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan for the upcoming film, 1521.

Per a Variety report, the film is set to be centred around the Battle of Mactan which took place in the year of 1521. It’ll follow Magellan’s journey as he led the Spanish expedition to Asia, becoming one of the first Europeans to carry out such a feat.

Michael Copon has also been cast for the role of Datu Lapu-Lapu, who was the chief of Mactan in the Philippines. Lapu-Lapu is known for leading the resistance against Magellan’s venture into the colonisation of the Philippine archipelago. Magellan’s unit was defeated during the Battle of Mactan, which also led to his death.


1521 is produced by Filipino-American filmmaker Francis B. Lara Ho from Inspire Studios – he has produced films such as Angel Warrior, The Rescue and Palawan: Last Man Out. The film’s script was written by Mary Krell-Oishi, who has also written for Angel Warrior, A Day at the Office and Paper Flowers.

Filipino actress Bea Alonzo will also be featured in the film, as she will play a Mactan princess Diwata. Alongside Alonzo is her compatriot Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, who will play the role of Ahmani, the sister of Diwata.

Lapu-Lapu is considered to be a Filipino hero and has been held in high regard in the country for his bravery during the Battle of Mactan. In 2021, Philippines-born, Las Vegas-based rapper Ez Mil sparked a nation-wide controversy when he inaccurately wrote that Lapu-Lapu was beheaded during the battle in his song ‘Panalo’.

The mayor of Lapu-Lapu City, Junard “Ahong” Chan criticised the rapper, saying that it was a “big insult”, and recommended to the city council that the rapper be banned from entering the city.

Furthermore, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines released a statement regarding the matter, stating that it “welcomes new songs that inspire our people to think great and be informed of their history”. However, it also urged Filipinos to “not compromise history and be conscious of our accountability on what we are conveying to our people”.

The statement ends with two lines, written in capital letters: “Lapulapu was definitely not killed in the battle of Mactan.”