Sunday, November 20, 2016

A VKJ holiday from Direk Ted

Direk Ted Boborol's Vince & Kath & James is Star Cinema's official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. Yay!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vince & Kath & James, the Star Cinema adaptation of Queen Elly’s hit socialserye, was named an official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. When I sat down with the movie’s director Ted Boborol two days ago, he said he caused a scene in the middle of a mall when he got the news.

“Sobrang napasigaw ako,” Direk Ted says of his reaction. “I was in SM, trying to find a green polo shirt to wear to a presscon. Napatingin yung mga tao sa akin kasi sumigaw ako. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew the new executive committee of the MMFF would really make a statement by choosing quality movies after last year’s controversy. I do believe that we made a good movie, but I also know the rom-com genre is much maligned. So sobrang liit ng expectations ko. Kaya nung nalaman ko na nakapasa yung movie namin, tumili ako at umiyak.”

Soon after, Direk Ted received a phone call from Joshua Garcia and began an ecstatic exchange on Viber with Julia Barretto. (Joshua and Julia play the roles of Vince and Kath in Vince & Kath & James, respectively.) 

“I didn’t save Joshua's number after we finished the movie, so when he called to congratulate me, I had to ask, ‘Who’s this?’” Direk Ted says of Joshua. “Si Julia naman, siya yung naunang nag-message sa akin, and we just laughed kasi during shooting we would joke na pang-MMFF yung ginagawa namin, na we’d end up riding on a float in the parade, mga ganun. Kaya ang nasabi na lang ni Julia sa Viber was, ‘Paano nagkatotoo yung biruan natin, Direk?’ So yun. We’re all just so happy.”

I asked Direk Ted what it was like for him to work with Joshua, who will be making his debut as a leading man in a movie in Vince & Kath & James. Unsurprisingly, he had nothing but good words for the young actor from Batangas, who came to his set fresh from a star turn in KathNiel's box-office hit Barcelona: A Love Untold. 

Direk Ted reveals that he looked at directing Joshua as a challenge. “Si Joshua kasi, he was coming from great reviews in his last movie. So in a way, I was challenged because I wanted to keep his momentum going. On the first day, he was nervous kasi he isn’t at all like his character. When the movie starts kasi, parang sidekick lang siya nung character ni Ronnie. So ang nangyari sa character ni Joshua is parang Vhong Navarro to Rico Yan ang transformation niya. Eh he’s not like that in real life. So pareho kaming na-te-tense nung first day.”

Luckily, Joshua’s strong work ethic saved the day. “But the thing with Joshua is he works really hard. He asks questions and he’s mindful of kung ano ang gusto and iniisip ko. No, hindi masama yung matanong siya. It shows he’s thinking. Lahat ng natutunan niya kay Inang, he brought to this movie. For example, ‘You don’t just say your lines. If wala kang dialogue, wag kang tumunganga. React. Learn to listen, be instinctive, be intuitive.’ So nakikita ko yun sa kanya. I predict a big future for him as an actor,” says Direk Ted.

Direk Ted is also all praises for Ronnie Alonte. When he first met the Hashtags member—on the set of a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode that starred Julia Montes in the lead role—they didn’t get off on the right foot.

“He was just a talent back then, and we had a bad start because he was a bad actor. Sobra siyang stiff, madaling araw na kami na-pack up kahit hindi pa tapos yung eksena,” Direk Ted says of the first time he worked with the actor-dancer billed as this generation’s Kilig King. “Kaya when Ronnie auditioned for Vince & Kath & James, pinaalala ko sa kanya yun. But ang laki-laki na ng pinagbago niya from before. He confided to me that mas nagkaroon siya ng confidence when he joined the Hashtags. Nakatulong sa acting niya yung pag-perform niya araw-araw sa TV.”

Direk Ted promises moviegoers they will see a new Julia Barretto in this movie. 

‘Iba yung tingin ng tao sa kanya sa totoong siya. May disconnect. We see Julia kasi as a Barretto, as a goddess, but in real life, she’s actually very childlike. May pagka-komedyante. Yun ang makikita nila sa movie na ito. Julia has a natural flair for comedy na nakuha niya from her father. Sobrang na-shock ang mga taga-Star Cinema when they saw the rushes. But ayoko siyang i-hard sell. Kasi I want her performance in the movie to speak for itself.”

Direk Ted with Daniel Matsunaga and Erich Gonzales on the set of the top-rating daytime teleserye Be My Lady.
When the lineup of this year’s MMFF was unveiled, some expressed their dismay at the absence of so-called “commercial” movies. Direk Ted offered the following as a response to their comments:

“I haven’t seen any of those films, so I can’t say if they’re artsy, commercial or indie. But the thing is, klaro din naman kasi kung ano yung hinahanap ng MMFF ngayon. So I guess ang pinili ng mga nasa selection committee ay yung pasok sa criteria na ni-release nila. I don’t know if kikita ba or hindi. I do agree, medyo kakaiba nga na walang big stars or mainstream movies, but kung ang purpose naman ng MMFF ngayon is to showcase quality Filipino movies, I guess I trust them that they made the right choices. I’m just so thankful to the selection committee dahil pinili nilang isama ang Vince & Kath & James.”

Personally, I think having a Julia Barretto starrer to look forward to on December 25 will make my Christmas that much merrier! Congrats to the cast and crew, especially Direk Ted!

First photo courtesy of Star Cinema, second photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment.

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