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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 19, 2023



MARCO GUMABAO plays a magician for the first time in Viva’s pre-Valentine offering, “Spellbound”, an adaptation of a Korean fantasy-romance blockbuster. 

“It’s a very challenging role for me because I don’t really know anything about magic,” he says. 

“But because of my character, si Victor, natuto ako. I took a workshop on magic for this role and now, nagagamit ko pa rin yung maging tricks na natutuhan ko. 

"Sa story, Victor is not really a good magician but he meets Bela Padilla as Yuri and she helps him be a big hit with his audiences.”

Bela is a girl who can see ghosts and she is followed by the spirit of her best friend who died in an accident, Rhen Escano. 

Victor uses her ability to see spirits in his acts to make his magic acts more convincing. 

It seems like his character is very brave as he is not afraid of ghosts? 

“Actually, Victor is not brave, but for Yuri, nagiging matapang siya. Like Bela who admitted na takot siya sa multo in real life, duwag din ako sa multo, although never pa ko nakakita. 

"But once, when I was shooting a soap for ABS-CBN in Baguio, natutulog ako sa hotel room ko when I felt something strange. Pakiramdam ko, may nakapatong sa ulo ko at may naririnig akong footsteps sa loob ng room. So nagtalukbong na lang ako to sleep.”

He avoids watching horror shows. 

“Yes, I don’t really watch horror films, kasi ang bilis pumasok sa thoughts ko ng mga napapanood ko.

"Naaalala ko, lalo na mag-isa lang ako sa gabi. 

"But now, heto, gumawa kami ng movie about ghosts, although it is more of the romance that blooms between our characters ni Bela.”    

So how is it working with Bela for the first time? 

“Kaka-start ko pa lang sa showbiz, nakilala ko na si Bela sa ABS. 

"We did get to work together in a digital film for Star Cinema, ‘Apple of My Eye’, but she was the writer, so never kaming nagkasama sa eksena.  

"Siempre, iba yung katrabaho mo siyang umaarte.”

He’s happy they actually get to act together in ‘Spellbound’. 

“Siempre, kami ang magkapareha so maraming kaming eksena together. 

"Noong una, may kaba ako kasi kilala na siya for doing several hit movies and she also directs. 

"But in all fairness to her, she never made me feel awkward on the set. 

"It’s not hard to work with her kasi dedicated siya and very focused sa work niya. Kwentuhan din kami during breaks. 

"She’s actually fun to work with, so sana maka-work ko uli siya.”  

Their director, Jalz , is also a newcomer. He has produced films like “Huling Chacha ni Anita” and “The Art of Ligaw”, but this is the first time he is directing a full length movie. So how is Direk Jalz? 

“Direk sets the mood on the set and he never made us feel it’s his first movie. He’s very professional. 

"Kaya lang, inabot ng lockdown ang shoot ng movie namin so matagal kaming natigil. We only got to resume it last year when Bela was home from London. 

"Direk is very collaborative. He asks us first kung okay ba gawin namin ang ganito for the scene. He’s very considerate sa actors niya and I think he’s coming up with an impressive first movie.”   

We ask Direk Jalz how he adapted the movie from the Korean original.  

“Wala kaming masyadong binago, kasi may restrictions ang Koreans about the original,” he says. 

“But binago namin ito by injecting more Pinoy flavor and making it more relevant to our present time. 

"You’ll see na iba rin ang acting nina Bela, Marco and Rhen from the Korean actors. 

"I’m glad as they’re all very professional and easy to work with. And very patient kasi nga the film took almost 3 years to complete. 

"When we resumed the shoot after two years, some of the locations we used before are not available anymore, so niremedyuhan na lang namin.”