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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.

Jan 12, 2023



JANNO GIBBS is happy with the decision of Viva Films to release his new film, “Hello Universe”, in theaters on January 25 and not via streaming. 

His last film, “Mang Jose”, a whole some action-fantasy comedy didn’t do well on Vivamax because only adult films full of sex and violence click with its subscribers.

This must be the reason why they’re now coming up with Viva Prime, a streaming platform for wholesome movies and shows, led by the Wattpad series “The Rain in Espana”. 

“Hello Universe” is a comedy-drama with a touch of fantasy written and directed by Xian Lim.

In the story, Janno plays Ariel, a man full of regrets and having a midlife crisis, feeling that life has passed him by. 

He believes his life would have been better if only he succeeded as a basketball player in high school. 

He is now married to Maui Taylor as Jennifer, his wife, and with Madelaine Red as their daughter Faith. Anjo Yllana plays Rocky, his supportive best friend.

He then meets Benjie Paras as Jessie, a mysterious driver who gives him the chance to be transported to an alternate universe. 

There, he has another wife, Sunshine Guimary as Lauren, with Majo Lingat as their daughter Maila. 

And he is very successful, but only as the mastermind of an illegal activity, which makes him re-evaluate his life.  How is Xian Lim as a director?

“Diktador siya,” he says, then quickly takes it back. “Hindi, joke lang. 

"Actually, bilib ako sa talent niya. Artista na, director at writer pa. Very artistic talaga siya, as he also plays the piano, he sings, he paints. 

He’s very open minded in asking us for our suggestions. As the director of our movie, he’s the captain of the ship and he really knows what he is doing. 

"Impressive ang script niya, pati ang shots niya, so go lang kami ng go sa kanya.”  

He’s happy to reunite with good friend Anjo Yllana in “Hello Universe”.  

“In the early 90s, we did a hit TV comedy, ‘Ober Da Bakod’, na isinapelikula and was so successful it even had a sequel. 

"Marami rin kaming ibang movies na ginawa na sa Viva na magkasama kami, like ‘Mahirap Maging Pogi’, ‘Alabang Girls’, “Pretty Boy”. 

"Through the years, we didn’t lose touch naman so it’s nice to work with him again.” 

How about working with sexpot Sunshine Guimary who plays his wife? 

“Si Sunshine, hindi lang sexy kundi mabait pa, masarap katrabaho. She’s so sweet and a natural comedienne. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, ituloy mo lang yan and I’m sure marami pa siyang gagawing movies in the future.” 

How is “Hello Universe” different from the comedies he has done before?  

“Comedy naman has not really changed, kasi the movies of Tito Dolphy, nakakatawa pa rin up to now. Naiiba lang ang presentation, ang delivery ng lines and now, it’s more structured. 

"At yung viewers ng comedy namin noon na kabataan, just like us, mature na rin sila. 

"Napansin ko, sa audiences now, mas maraming millennials and Gen Z crowd. So we try to reach them here with a movie na may kurot din sa puso kasi, towards the ending, makikita nyo, marami ng touching dramatic scenes dito.”  

Janno’s two daughters with Bing Loyzaga, Alyssa and Gab, are now both grown ups. 

The eldest, Alyssa, married Anton Cruz in Australia last year. 

Janno is so proud of her as she sealed a deal with Nike and Titan to redesign their Air Jordan shoes, with her incorporating elements that pay tribute to her maternal grandpa, the legendary cager Caloy Loyzaga. 

“Both our daughters are now Australian citizens,” says Janno. 

“So kami ni Bing, we’re thinking of also going there kasi ang gaganda ng benefits nila, lalo sa health care for their citizens. Two of Bing’s brothers are based there, so we will see.”