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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 13, 2017

Director Dan Villegas Comes Up With One Of His Best Films In The Serious Drama On Relationships, 'All Of You', An Entry In The Metro Manila Filmfest

DAN VILLEGAS is one of our most reliable young directors today. In terms of track record, most of his films are really worthwatching, from his debut in “Mayohan” which won Lovi Poe the Cinemalaya best actress award, then his mainstream films starting with “English Only, Please” that won him the 2014 Metro filmfest best director award.

We’ve just seen his newest work, “All of You”, and it ranks as one of his best. Both Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay deliver solid performances, but it’s Derek who’s electrifying in their final confrontation scene by the road side where even kneels down in front of Jen. Full review later.

Dan’s debut film, “English Only”, was followed by the 2015 filmfest hit, “Walang Forever”. Both films won acting awards for its lead stars. For Star Cinema, he did romantic films like “The Breakup Playlist”, “Always Be My Maybe” and “How to Be Yours”, all hits. How does his current filmfest entry, “All of You”, differ from the first teamup of Jen and Derek?

“”English Only’ is actually more of comedy,” he says. “Mas madrama itong ‘All of You’, mas
seryoso, kasi it’s about relationships and commitment so mas realistic ang situations at hindi basta pampakilig lang. Three years na rito ang relationship nina Derek and Jen. They’re about to take it to a higher level but something happened. Derek is stiff pa in ‘English Only’, but dito, he inhabits the character totally. Si Jen, naman may gray areas yung character niyang may pagka-controlling and very analytical, kaya mas mahirap ang role niya kaysa sa ‘English Only’ na jologs lang siyang babaeng bakla.”

He and his GF, writer-director Antoinette Jadaone, have also been on for sometime but they also have not tied the knot yet. Is the film’s story based on their own experiences as a couple?

“Hindi naman totally based sa amin, loosely based lang. May few scenes that really happened to us. But most of it, galing sa experiences ng ibang mga taong kilala namin. Maraming makaka-relate kasi all the situations are real. Nangyari na sa buhay mo, o sa buhay ng kaibigan o kamag-anak mo. Yung mga pinagdaanan dito ng characters nina Derek at Jen, I’m sure, somehow, may ganung naranasan na rin ang lahat sa atin, so it’s very relatable.”

How did he feel when Jericho Rosales, who won best actor for his “Walang Forever”, was originally meant to play Derek’s role but he backed out? How did he feel about it? “Walang problema kasi may ibang movie siya na ipinasok din sa filmfest. Nagpaalam naman siya nang maayos, so we’re okay. What’s good is that we haven’t started to shoot any scene with him yet. We just had to rewrite the role para mas bumagay ang character kay Derek. Kasi si Jericho, supposed to be, singer. Si Derek, naging bar owner. When Derek came in, we realized ang daming naka-miss sa tambalan nila ni Jen in ‘English Only’. Their fans really want more of them on the big screen kasi parang nabitin daw sila. So maraming natuwa at mas lumaki pa ang movie.”

Are they expecting to duplicate the success of “English Only”, which is a big critical and box office success? “A lot of people expect na ganun nga ang mangyari. All I can say is that mas magaling dito sina Jen at Derek kaysa sa ‘English Only’ for which they won before, so I’m sure malakas ang laban nila sa awards night. And since the movie is something na lahat, makaka-relate, sana mas maging tagumpay rin ito sa box office at lahat ng nakapanood, irekomenda sa friends and relatives nila. Maraming salamat kung mananalo uli kami ng awards, pero mas masaya if more people would watch and enjoy it para maging isa kami sa topgrossers.”