what piolo wants

As Piolo Pascual says in the Centrum commercial (where the picture of him running was taken, right), “I want to be complete.”

So he tries — hard!!! — to achieve that goal.

“I am never satisfied with doing just one thing,” adds the multi-tasker.

So, not contented with just being an actor, he has ventured into producing movies, the first being Manila (under his own Bicycle Pictures in cooperation with MJM Productions) which was shown at the recent Festival de Cannes Special Selection (Out of Competition), giving him the rare opportunity to walk on the Cannes red carpet.

“It was a nice feeling,” he smiles. “Nakaka-high!” (His second venture, Kimmy Dora, stars Dingdong Dantes and Eugene Domingo, directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal.)

Done partly in black-and-white, Manila, co-directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin (two of today’s finest young mostly-indie directors), is a tribute to Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, that’s why you would see traces of Brocka’s Jaguar (which competed in Cannes) and Bernal’s classic Manila By Night in it.

“It’s intentional,” says Piolo. “We want it to be obvious that we are honoring two of our country’s great directors.”

Usually wholesome on most of his films, in Manila Piolo sheds his good-boy image. The film has two stories that offer a closer look at “the seamier side of life in a city and the complex nature of the community” — shades of Bernal — and at “a society in which violence and resentment are endemic” — shades of Brocka.

Piolo plays both William, a drug addict (one of the main characters in Manila By Night); and Philip, bodyguard (like the guardia Phillip Salvador plays in Jaguar) of a mayor’s son. Both are creatures of the night.

The movie, which opened the ongoing Cinemalaya last Thursday (the festival runs until July 26), also stars, among others, Rosanna Roces as Piolo’s unforgiving mother, Alessandra de Rossi as Piolo’s fair-weather girlfriend and Jay Manalo as the mayor’s son.

Looks like you’re enjoying your new role as a film producer. After Manila and Kimmy Dora, do you plan to produce more movies?

“As of the moment, I’m focusing, of course, on the showing of Manila. Nakaka-overwhelm kasi I didn’t expect na ganito ‘yung magiging support sa akin ng mother studio ko. Manila was even shown in Cannes. And now, it opened pa the Cinemalaya. Parang wow, everything is falling into place. I’m getting the same support for Kimmy Dora. I can’t believe that I was able to put together something na hindi ganoon kadaling gawin. Before I think of the next project, I want to enjoy muna what’s happening now.”

No regrets naman even if, I heard, you spent a lot on those two movies?

“No regrets at all. I’m looking at different concepts; I plan to discuss things with different directors and different writers. I produce not only movies but also concerts and albums. I’ve just started recording for my new album which will be released this year. I’m the album’s co-producer.”

How was your Cannes experience?

“Manila was for exhibition only, not for competition. It was a big honor to be short-listed by those in-charge of the Cannes Filmfest. It was an answered prayer because when we were shooting Manila, we really had Cannes in mind for the world premiere. That was the requirement of Cannes…for the movie to shown there first. Nakaka-high pala lumakad sa red carpet sa Cannes. Ang sarap ng feeling! Parang it was an opportunity for me to represent our country. At first venture ko pa as a producer!”

Manila was the second choice as opening film of Cinemalaya. The first choice was Kinatay which won for Dante Mendoza the Best Director award at the recent Cannes Filmfest. But Dante politely turned down Cinemalaya because, having proven its worth at an international film festival, Kinatay daw should not be shown anymore in local filmfests. How do you feel about it?

“I still consider it a blessing because after screening in Cannes, Manila was invited naman as opening film of Cinemalaya. Parang double whammy. Even if we are not competing, kami naman ang nag-open ng festival. It’s a bonus.”

And it’s going to be shown in other international filmfests?

“Yes, simultaneous dito sa Manila. I’m also finalizing an agreement for a pay-per-view airing abroad starting next month.”

Is Manila some kind of a tribute to Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal?

“Yes, it is. When direk Adolf presented the idea to me, sabi ko, ‘Wow, pang-Lino Brocka, pang-Ishmael Bernal!’ Sayang nga at hindi ko inabutan sina Brocka at Bernal. I would have wanted to work with them. Direk Adolf and I agreed to do Manila with a Brocka/Bernal touch.”

How was the transition from being just the actor to being the actor-producer?

“It was hard. While shooting Manila, I was also doing (the ABS-CBN teleserye) Lobo. If you pack up the shooting (of Manila), malulugi ka; it would mean additional expenses. So I had to work double time, never mind kung halos wala akong pahinga. I didn’t have a choice. Pera ko ang nakataya, eh. People think that I have a lot of money when actually ako lang ang naka-front. There were co-investors.”

Don’t you want to direct a movie?

“No. I can’t see myself as a director…yet. Masyado pa ako nag-i-enjoy as an actor lang. I love bringing a character to life. It must be hard to be a director. You have to be there during the pre-production, the post-production, the editing, and brain-storming and everything else. Hindi ko kaya ang ganung schedule. But who knows? I’m not closing my doors.”

Originally, you were supposed to be in the cast of Kimmy Dora. It would have been your chance to work with Dingdong in a movie. What happened?

“Sayang nga, eh. After doing a commercial (for Pond’s), I really wanted to do a movie with him. There was a conflict in my schedule. It was direk Joyce (Bernal) who negotiated with Dong for Kimmy Dora. Joyce is my and Dong’s mutual friend. I’m thankful that Dong agreed to do the movie kahit wala ako doon.”

You’ve seen Kimmy Dora. Kumusta ang acting d’un ni Dingdong?

“He’s good, as usual and as expected. He’s professional, too. Sabi ni direk Joyce, Dong would report to the set on time and talagang preparado. Like me, he’s passionate as a person and as an artist. He wants to continue growing and to try different things.”

How do you feel na pinagsasabong kayong dalawa? You are a Kapamilya and Dingdong is a Kapuso.

“That is what’s sad in this business. Instead of helping one another, pinagsasabong kayo. Mas maganda ‘yung nagtutulungan kayo, di ba? But there’s always been competition, wala tayong magagawa sa network war. As long as the competition is healthy and you don’t take things on a personal level, okey lang. Kami ni Dong, wala kaming issue sa isa’t-isa.”

Going to the “personal level,” what’s the real score between you and KC Concepcion (they’re together in Lovers in Paris, the forthcoming ABS-CBN teleserye)?

“We’re still friends. I’m glad that we are able to work together. Natupad na rin ang dream kong maka-trabaho siya. We were asking each other nga, ‘What will happen after our show?’ Well, we should just wait and see. We do treasure our beautiful moments together.”

Even before KC joined showbiz, na-link na kayong dalawa. Sharon (Cuneta, KC’s mom) even said that okey ka sa kanya.

“It makes you feel good that okey ka sa mother. As I said in my interviews, I will never break (Sharon’s) trust in me.”

Ano na nga ‘yung expensive perfume na binigay mo kay KC?

“I got it for her in Cannes. It’s a very expensive perfume. I won’t say what the brand is.”

Is it true that you want KC to use it only kapag kayo ang magkasama at hindi ‘yung iba niyamg leading men?

“Ako lang naman ang leading man niya ngayon, a! Hahahaha!”

What qualities of KC’s do you like?

“Her being humble and well-rounded. Sometimes, I’m amazed. You know, how can somebody like her be so grounded? She treats everybody equally, from those in high positions to the crew on the set. It never ceases to impress me.”

Has KC met your son, Iñigo?

“Not yet. Iñigo is turning 12 in September. He’s based in the US. He’s studying there.”

How are you as a long-distance father? Do you keep in touch with Iñigo?

“We send each other text messages; we talk on the phone. Or I visit him as often as I can. This year lang, I was in the States thrice, one time to attend his graduation. I also spend time with my family na lahat nasa States. That’s my way of making up for lost time. As far as Iñigo is concerned, I will always be his father no matter what.”

ricky lo/philstar

One comment on “what piolo wants

  1. in fairness piolo is a great actor, ayaw ko lang ng gumigimik sya na kesyo nililigawan mga leading ladies nya, hallerrrr ur a good actor the public knows that, u dont need ligaw ligaw gimik beacuse u know who u really are gurl. having the potential to become a great actor is emough ate. kasi nakakasu lang pag eeksesna kapang nililigawan mo nga leading lady mo

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