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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.

May 21, 2018

Atom Araullo Realizes That Being An Actor Is A Difficult Job After He Plays The Title Role Of 'Citizen Jake' For Director Mike De Leon

ATOM ARAULLO is a journalist first, but he now forays into acting in “Citizen Jake”, the comeback film of highly esteemed filmmaker Mike de Leon whose last film was the 1999 “Bayaning Third World”. He himself co-wrote the screenplay with de Leon and Noel Pascual. So how is it being an actor?

“I now have more respect for actors kasi mahirap pala maging aktor lalo para dun sa mga seryoso sa craft nila,” he says. “We have plenty of good actors who make it look so easy and I found out the hard way that it takes so much effort to be competent in acting as you really have to give part of your self to the viewers. At one point, naisip ko, kaya ko ba talaga gawin ito? Can I deliver? I’m just thankful that Direk Mike is there to guide me all the way and I have formidable cast members who help bring out the best in their co-stars. Some say my role will be easy for me since I’m really a journalist. But Jake is not Atom. Sobrang magkaiba sila. I hope when viewers watch it, they’d see Jake and not Atom.”

In the movie, he plays Jake Herrera, a reporter who resigned from his job in a newspaper when his dad ran for senator. He then moves to their family’s home in Baguio to be a teacher and a blogger or citizen journalist. His dad is a former Marcos crony and when a student is killed, Jake is compelled to confront his relatives’s dark past and he comes into conflict with his political family.

After this, will Atom be accepting more acting jobs in the future? “It’s not really a priority. I still intend to do more reportage and documentaries. But if the movie would open other doors for me, I will not turn it down right away, pero depende pa rin talaga sa project, sa material. At this point, I also acknowledged that both journalism and cinema have a huge influence in society as they can both inform and educate, though in different ways of orienting the audience.”

Director Mike de Leon is asked if “Citizen Jake” is based on a true story? “It’s dramatic fiction told in film about a dysfunctional family and touches on political corruption, continuing feudalism and paternalism,” he says. “But there are many elements of documentary truth and metacinema in it and sometimes the lines are blurred. It’s about the inner journey of a privileged young man who happens to be a journalist. It is also a metaphor of this young man’s country, unchanging, repeating the same mistakes generation after generation.”

The film also stars Gabby Eigenmann as Roxie, the congressman brother of Jake; Dina Bonnevie as their beleaguered mom; Teroy Guzman as Jacobo, their dad who’s a corrupt senator; Max Collins as Mandy, a teacher who’s Jake’s girlfriend; plus Luis Alandy, Cherie Gil, Lou Veloso, Nonie Buencamino, Allan Paule, Richard Quan, Victor Neri, Anna Luna and Nanding Josef. The movie opens in theaters this Wednesday, May 23.