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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 3, 2019


KENT GONZALES is the lucky newcomer chosen by Director Erik Matti to play the son of Sharon Cuneta and John Arcilla in the horror drama, “Kuwaresma”. He is even given over-the-title billilng in the film’s poster.

 “I really feel so blessed kasi I went to an audition as a singer,” he says. “Direk Erik saw me there and asked me to audition for his new movie. I was so surprised when I was told na ako yung nakuha. And I got even more surprised when I found out I’d be acting with the Megastar and Heneral Luna.”

Kent is 17 years old and the second of three kids. His older sister, Pam Gonzales, is also in “Kuwaresma” and they play twins. They were born and raised in Tacloban City. Their parents are both OFW’s.

“They’re now working in Cayman Islands,” adds Kent. “They’ll be arriving before the premiere night of ‘Kuwaresma’, so they can watch with us our first movie. We grew up with our paternal grandmother. We were still in Tacloban when Yolanda happened. Hindi kami binaha but nasira ng malakas na hangin yung bubong ng bahay namin.”

How did they move to Manila? “My sister has joined beauty pageants and a talent scout asked her to come to Manila so we all moved here three years ago. Kapag may lakad siya, I tag along. She has appeared in some TV shows and ako rin, I did bit roles in ABS-CBN shows like ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Wansapanataym’. Pareho kaming biggest break namin ang mapasama in a big movie like ‘Kuwaresma’.”

But because he got busy with the movie, he had to take a leave from school, Trinity University, where he’s in high school, grade 11. “Kasi sayang naman po ang opportunity na binigay sa akin ni Direk Erik Matti. Baka hindi na dumating uli. Yung school ko naman, nandiyan, puede kong balikan anytime.”

So how is it working with Sharon Cuneta? “Siempre, Megastar siya, hindi ko maiwasang kabahan, matakot. She must have felt that I was intimidated, kasi she’s very sweet to me. Sa set, she treats me like her real son. Kinukumusta niya ako lagi. After each she we do, she hugs me. But one time, she noticed na pagod na ako, wala nang energy, so sinindak niya ako. Ano, hindi mo na kaya?

"So we did the scene and afterwards, she explained to me that she just did it to motivate me. Pareho sila ni John Arcilla na napakagaling. Gina-guide nila kami ng sister ko and they’re really very helpful teaching us about the right eye contact, voice projection. She even taught how to do tension exercises. Direk Erik helped a lot in guiding us. Sinasabi niya sa amin kung saan kami nagkukulang.”

How will he entice moviegoers to watch their movie? “If you love scary films, you’ll definitely enjoy ‘Kuwaresma’. Hindi ako masyadong matatakutin but when I saw it, naapektuhan talaga ako noong scary scenes. But it’s not just your typical horror movie na nananakot or nanggugulat. Kasi the story has a lot of heart in it and it’s also the story of a family and a mother who will do everything for her kids. My sister and I had great experience working together and working with our veteran co-stars in the movie."

So what else is in store for him after “Kuwaresma”? “I signed up a management contract with Reality Entertainment and after the movie, they want to help build up naman my singing career. I have already recorded my first single, composed by Joven Tan.”

“Kuwaresma” opens in theaters nationwide on May 15. But before that, it will have a special screening at the UP Film Institute on May 9 and have a grand premiere at SM Megamall on May 13.