Building a rapport with RK

RK Bagatsing at the Be My Lady finale presscon. I had a great interview with him!
During the Be My Lady finale presscon held last week at the Le RĂªve Events Venue, RK Bagatsing—who plays mechanic Kuya Mackie on the show—was congratulated for winning the Best Supporting Actor award at the Urduja Film Festival earlier this year.

After the Q&A, I approached RK and asked if he would be willing to sit down with me for a quick interview. When he agreed, I led him to a nearby table and started to pepper him with questions. I had never interviewed him before that night, so I had a lot of ground to cover.

The 28-year-old RK is the kid brother of former Star Circle member Monina and actor Raymond. RK says watching them do their thing in movies and on TV shows inspired him to try his luck in showbiz when he got older. RK takes his craft seriously, so as an acting student myself, I had a blast picking his brain.

Normally I prefer not to write blog posts in Q&A format, but this time it seemed right. Why? Read on and find out.

Unfortunately, RK, hindi ko napanood yung movie for which you won the acting award. So tell me more about it and your character.
I won that award for An Ubo Sa Kawayanan, a movie I made in 2015. It was directed by Alvin Yapan and the female lead was Mercedes Cabral. I played a director na gumagawa ng documentary about Marcedes Cabral’s character. For some reason, nakatira yung character niya sa kubo na mahal na mahal niya and minamahal din siya pabalik nung kubo. Our director made sure the movie was shot in such a way that kapag napanood mo yung movie, ang dating niya is parang buhay yung kubo. Yung character ko parang love interest nung character ni Mercedes, but that wasn’t really the focus of the movie, eh. It was more about the relationship between her and the kubo. But I’m thankful na may naka-appreciate nung acting ko doon.

When you sign on to do a project, consideration ba yung tanong na, ‘Is this award-worthy?’ Do you ask yourself that every time you’re offered a project?
No. I want to be candid and say it’s hard to get work, especially on the indie side of things. For a newbie like me, it’s hard to get work. And for you to sort each project na dumating sa ‘yo na parang, ‘Uh, pwede bang maging award-winning ito or not?’ Hindi. You should take each project as it is and make the most of it kahit gaano pa kaliit role mo. Thankful ako kapag may opportunities for me to get nominated, because na-re-recognize yung work ko, but hindi yun consideration when I accept projects.

Why did you call yourself a newbie? When did you start acting?
I started back in 2012 for Cinema One Originals, and since then part na ako ng indie community. Be My Lady is my first mainstream project. And sa loob ng five years ko sa indie community, bilang sa kamay yung mga nagawa ko. Hindi naman ako yung tipong one project after another. Months pa ang pagitan nung mga projects ko. In between, it’s all about auditioning, auditioning, auditioning. I consider myself a newbie because I haven’t really done that much. I still haven’t found yung solid foundation of approaching each character or each project. Nangangapa pa rin talaga ako. Dahil sa mga nagawa kong pelikula, inisip ko that I’m ready for the mainstream na, but pagdating ko doon, kakaibang experience nanaman! Na-o-overwhelm pa rin ako.

Do you have a day job or is acting really your bread and butter?
Nag-focus na ako dito. Sabi ko nung 2012, I’ll give myself a timeframe to pursue acting. If it doesn’t work out in maybe one or two years, I’ll go back to my old job for an IT company. Dati kasi I asked myself, is this corporate thing what I want to do for the rest of my life? Eh hindi. So habang wala pa akong pamilya, wala pa akong anak, or whatever—ngayon yung perfect na time for me to explore other things. Kasi if this doesn’t work out, ako lang ang maapektuhan. Sa ngayon, pinagbubutihan ko kahit anong dumating sa akin. As Erich [Gonzales] said, hindi lahat tumatagal sa industriyang ito, so grab lang dapat ng grab ng mga opportunities and pagbutihan mo lagi.

BTW, Alvin Yapan—your director in An Ubo Sa Kawayanan—was my professor in college.
Oh, ayun! So you should watch it na. I’m surprised hindi mo napanood, sayang.

Well, 2015 was a very rough year for me personally.
Oh, OK. But you’re better now, right?

Yeah. I survived a suicide attempt in 2015. But you know, sabi nila if may emotional issues ka, or when you come from a place of pain, nakakatulong yun sa ‘yo as an actor. Do you find that’s true in your case?
Well, it’s hard to stay in that corner. It’s hard to explore. When I was filming Apocalypse Child—I don’t know if you saw it, but medyo mabigat yung role ko doon. There was a time that I tapped into a part of me na medyo madilim when I was doing this one scene. Nagawa ko naman siya but I cried for twenty to thirty minutes after. I couldn’t stop. So kaya sabi ko sa ‘yo hindi ko pa rin alam yung right approach to acting. I’m still experimenting.

Have you taken any acting classes?
Nag-workshop ako, I studied different acting methods, but it’s hard to choose what works for you. In the end naman your experience is what’s  important. Can I just say I’m liking this interview?

Why, thank you.
I like your questions.

I ended the interview shortly after that. Although we talked for while after he complimented me, he asked that I keep what was said “off the record”—in other words, confidential. Suffice it to say that we discovered we had a few things in common, which helped me build a rapport with him. Finding common ground with your subject is key. The interview ended on a high note, with RK wishing me luck on my acting classes (I start Star Magic Workshops' Advanced Level 2 today) and promising to stay in touch.

I like RK, and not just because he said he liked how I conducted this interview. He’s smart and very passionate about acting, which is typical of those who cut their teeth on indies. He’s been dubbed the next Coco Martin, but RK’s quiet intensity actually reminds me of JM de Guzman.

RK’s stint as Kuya Mackie on Be My Lady will end in a few days, but I have no doubt that Kapamilyas will see him in another mainstream project really soon. He’s way too talented a guy to be sidelined for long!

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News.


The old Julian can't come to the phone right now.

1 comment:

  1. I also wrote for a magazine way back and was able to interview naman his Kuya Raymond. Raymond was also a great subject. Very honest, straightforward. He's like a long lost friend eager to share his life stories. Very nice men worthy of their places in the industry!