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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.

Oct 16, 2021



JOEL TORRE plays an aging fashion designer named Mother Jewel or Joy in “Barumbadings” to be shown on Vivamax starting November 5.

“I’ve played gay roles before but closet queens,” he says. “This is the first time I’m playing the role of a tranny, a crossdresser. 

"It’s actually in my bucket list, to play a flamboyant gay and heto, pinagbigyan ako as Mother Jewel na nag-alaga ng tatlong batang bading who grow up to be Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jeric Raval and Baron Geisler.”

How did he prepare for the role? 

“I dug deep in  preparing for the role. It’s a composite of my gay friends. Yung being motherly I got it from production designer Fiel Zabat. I also worked with some iconic gays in the fashion world, so I imbibed their being very caring.

“I also talked to Direk Darryl to help me about what is his concept sa character ko so I can interpret it well. Peg ko rin si Ru Paul as Mother Queen in the show ‘Drag Race’ who mentors the younger gays."

What’s the reaction of his family when they learned he’s playing a swishy gay? 

“Natuwa sila. Ang mga daughters ko, they even taught me how to be more feminine. They can’t wait to see the completed movie.”  

He says doing the film is some sort of an eye-opener for him. 

“First time ko sa buong buhay ko na nagsuot ako ng bra and I found out it’s so uncomfortable pala, so I sympathize with all the women out there. 

"Tapos, nalaman ko, may hierarchy din among gays. Like my character, old school gay siya. Makikita nyo yun dito as it’s a part of the story, the difference between old gays and the millennial ones now.

"May generation gap sila.  Direk says ‘Barumbadings’ is a trilogy, so maybe he will expound about it more in the sequels. I was also excited by the novelty na ang gaganap sa roles ng mga bading, mga tunay na machong lalaki.'' 

How is it working with a young director like Darryl for the first time? 

"It was a fun shoot. Ambilis ni Direk Darryl. Nahirapan lang ako sa madadramang eksena na very emotional, but you have to show it in a very feminine way.

"Most of my scenes are truly challenging. Idol ko si Terence Stamp playing a gay role in “Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert”. In school, I played a cancan dancer. Sabi ko, kung nakaya ko yun, kaya ko rin ito." 

Has he ever received indecent proposals as a young man? “I have a lot  of gay friends so I have a lot of respect for them and they also respected me. Respect begets respect.” 

Direk Darryl Yap says he handpicked Joel for the role of Mother Jewel. 

“Nasa bucketlist kong maidirek siya so sabi ko, gagawin ko itong movie only if he’s the mother gay. Kaso busy siya sa ‘Ang Probinsyano’ so we had to work around his schedule. 

"Yung apat, pinili ko rin. I want Mark Anthony Fernandez kasi very close ako to his Mama Ness. si Jeric Raval naman beause I launched his daughter AJ, and Baron is a good friend as we exchange messages every now and then.”

They started shooting as soon as Joel became available. 

“I really want to get straight actors to play gay roles. Lahat sila matatalinong aktor, nahirapan lang ako sa  pagpapalambot sa kanilang characterizations on screen. The level of respect I have for Tito Joel is very high. Napakahusay niya and I learned a lot from him. 

"These are right actors for their characters. This is something new, one of a kind, seeing the best action stars and character actors playing very colorful roles. They were all very gracious and gave their best sa roles. I am so blessed to have this cast.”

“Barumbadings” is streaming on Vivamax starting November 5, following “Sa Haba ng Gabi”.