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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 19, 2021



DINGDONG DANTES is happy that the action movie he did for Viva, “A Hard Day”, is now finally showing as an official entry in the Metro-Manila Filmfest that opens on Christmas Day. 

The movie is a remake of a 2014 Korean film that starred Lee Sun Kyun, star of the Oscar-winning film “Parasite”. Lee won the best actor award in Korea’s prestigious Baeksang Arts Awards for “A Hard Day”. 

Dingdong plays a cop named Edmund Villon who’s having a really hard day and feels so harrassed. 

He and his team are being investigated by police inspectors for an allegedly anomaly. On top of this, his mother just died. 

On his way to his mom’s wake, he figures in an accident and hits a man on the road. He covers up his crime by hiding the body in his mom’s coffin. 

Soon, a man named Alas (John Arcilla) starts calling him, threatening to expose his crime if Dingdong would not give him what he wants: the dead man’s corpse. 

In “A Hard Day”, Dingdong gets to work with Director Lawrence Fajardo for the first time. So how is it? 

“He’s perfect for the project. He’s a very realistic filmmaker. Ang impulse niya is kinukuha niya sa kapaligiran ang katotohanan kaya nagtugma kami for this film. 

"Naging maayos ang collaboration namin. Mas napagaan din ang trabaho ko as an actor dahil sa guidance niya sa akin. He’s very meticulous. 

"There’s an action sequence near the ending na inabot ng four days naming kinunan, balibagan talaga sa pader. Umuulan pa, so four days kaming basang-basa, pero two minutes lang yun mapapanood sa movie. 

Hindi titigil si Direk Law hangga’t hindi niya nakukuha ang flavor na gusto niya, so we even have to reshoot some scenes kasi he wants everything to be authentic and true to his vision.”  

So it’s really hard action? 

“Actually, it’s more than that. It’s really a suspense-drama. Very exciting panoorin kasi it gets more thrilling and more intense by the minute.” 

How is it working with John Arcilla as the main villain? 

“He’s super. Si Heneral Luna yan, e, so hindi ka puedeng papetiks-petiks lang. Dapat you are always on your toes at dapat mag-react ka nang tama kapag may ginawa siya.” 

Was he intimidated? “Definitely! Lalo na kapag he’s in his character na pulis, sobrang intimidating siya, but it made our scenes really more effective and you just have to give your best.”

Did he see the original Korean version? 

“Yes, I did. Siempre, ayaw naming basta gayahin lang. I told myself I will be true to the core of my character, but everything else, Pilipino style na kung paano natin siya i-interpret. We just did our best to interpret it our own way. 

"My role here is really very challenging. I have to transform myself and I’m just thankful to be given the opportunity to do this movie that mirrors some reality situations dito sa atin ngayon.”

Does he hope to win another best actor award in the filmfest since he has won twice before for “One More Try” and “Dalaw”. 

“No, hindi ako umaasa to win. Ang ipinagdarasal ko, sana bumalik na lang talaga ang viewers sa panonood sa mga sinehan. 

"More than anything else, yun talaga ang prayer ko, na sana, tangkilikin nila itong filmfest and they’ll really go watch the entries in actual theaters.”

Is he working on a new project with his wife Marian Rivera? “Yes, we are. No details yet, but malalaman nyo yun very very soon.” 

So what’s his next movie? 

“Movie, wala pa. I’m hoping the next one would be a biopic. But on TV, I just finished ‘Alternate’ in GMA-7’s ‘I Can See You’. I play a dual role. Twins na isang bad, isang good. 

"Mahirap gawin kasi paulit-ulit ang scenes with me portraying different roles. But maganda siya. Kasama ko rito si Beauty Gonzales. Abangan nyo in January 2022.”