After Paolo Ballesteros made a big splash in his first starring role in Die Beautiful, the 2016 transgender dramedy for which he won awards locally and internationally, the actor-TV host keeps his options open for his next move.
“Makikipag-meeting pa lang kami,” said the recipient of the Best Actor Award at the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival in Japan as well as the special jury award for outstanding performance at the 21st International Film Festival of Kerala in India.
“Maraming nag-o-offer, pero hindi pa kami nakakapag-meeting ng kung ano ’yong project, ano ’yong story. So hindi pa nakakapag-decide.”
He also doesn’t know if he’ll do something similar or different from Die Beautiful.
“Honestly, wala pa talaga. Me mga nagsabi na dapat iba, pero wala pa. Sabi ko nga, tinitingnan muna ang synopsis para ma-review natin, so, ini-sched pa. Pero hopefully, soon, meron na.”
Paolo talked to this writer at the Film Ambassadors Night 2017, an event organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in recognition of industry people whose works had been recognized abroad.
The Film Ambassadors Night 2017 was held at the FDCP Cinematheque Open Grounds on Kalaw St., Manila, and attended by Gloria Sevilla and her daughter Suzette Ranillo, Cesar Montano, and Die Beautiful director Jun Lana and actor Christian Bables.
Paolo let out a loud laugh when told about an idea for a sequel that has been suggested by Die Beautiful fans on social media.
That idea involves his character, Tricia Echeverria, a gay pageant winner who meets an untimely death, coming back from the grave to haunt her best friend Barbs (played by Christian Bables); thus the sequel’s title: Patayin sa Sindak si Barbs.
“Pwede!” he agreed. “Nakakatawa ’yon. Hahaha!”
“It’s up to Direk,” he added, referring to Direk Jun Lana.
“Basta si Direk ’yong mag-a-ano, kasi sobra yung trust na binigay ko kay Direk… Itanong natin kay Direk pag nakaisip siya ng magandang story.”
DIE BEAUTIFUL THE MUSICAL. Direk Jun, in a separate interview also at the event, likewise expressed delight in the fans’ imaginative thinking.
“May suggestion na ano, Patayin sa Sindak si Barbs, na tawang-tawa ako,” he confirmed, laughing. “Ang daming nag-message sa akin, ang daming nag-tweet.”
“Siguro malapit ko na siyang seryosohin,” he admitted with a grin. “Pero ngayon, hindi pa.”
He thought hard, and announced: “Pero baka. Pinagiisipan ko na. Natatawa lang ako sa idea, pero who knows? Pinaguusapan na namin ni Perci [Intalan, his spouse and co-producer].”
“Pinag-i-isipan namin,” he assured us. “Nakikinig naman ako, e, sa gusto ng audience kasi parang mahal na mahal nila ang characters no’ng Die Beautiful.”
What’s definitely in the offing, according to the internationally recognized director, is the stage adaptation of 2016 MMFF’s top grossing movie.
“Ang definitely na gagawin namin—siguro at the end of the year or early next year—we’ll be producing ’yong Die Beautiful: The Musical.”
In fact, he added, he has talked to Rody Vera, the movie’s scriptwriter who’s also a noted playwright of such works as Rak of Aegis and Kung Paano Ko Pinatay si Diana Ross.
“Excited kami do’n sa prospect,” he said about the theater version of Die Beautiful.
The cast, though, may or may not include the actors from the movie, specifically Paolo and Christian, who won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, at the MMFF.
Direk Jun recognized that Paolo and Christian can sing, too. But, he chose to be noncommittal to the subject: “Depende sa schedule.”
“Madugo ’yong schedule,” Direk Jun explained. “We’ll see.”
As for Paolo, the actor and Eat Bulaga! co-host couldn’t hide his excitement for the onstage version of his big-screen starrer.
“Oo, puwede, go!” he beamed.
But suddenly realizing the requirements of a musical, he quipped: “Syet, kailangan ko nang mag-practice!”
He also gave a loud sigh at the thought of working out his schedule to accommodate the rehearsals.
“Do’n tayo talo,” he said. “Baka pagdating ng ano, deadma talaga.”
But he looked determined to be in a musical.
“Dream ko ’yan,” he nodded. “Gusto kong maging active sa isang musical. Para total performance talaga—kakanta, sasayaw, aarte.”