Mike Tuviera agreed to compromise with the regulatory board regarding his action-drama movie The Janitor.
Direk Mike recently revealed that he did minor modifications to his film in order to reach a deal with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Starring Dennis Trillo, The Janitor revolves around Crisanto Espina, a cop on suspension and under investigation who is tasked to eliminate the suspects involved in a bloody bank robbery / massacre.
This grade-A film was first screened during the 10-day run of Cinemalaya 2014 last August. This October, this action-drama movie is currently being screened in cinemas as distributed by Star Cinema.
During the recent blog conference of The Janitor, Direk Mike was asked if there were scenes that were revised to suit its current MTRCB rating of R-16.
"There were two minor revisions that the MTRCB asked me to do," said Direk Mike without disclosing specifically what scenes were affected.
"They had nothing to do with content, they had everything to do with rating.
"I told them ready naman ako sa shots na yun. Wala kaming inibang eksena, it was just a shot."
The director admitted that the MTRCB almost gave an X-rating to The Janitor because of these sensitive scenes.
"I am aware of the process because my father [Tony Tuviera] was in the MTRCB before and I am aware of the rules.
"When I had the meeting with the MTRCB, they told me na naglalaro na sa X [rating] ang pelikula. Sabi ko, hindi ko ma-imagine na bibigyan ng X rating ang The Janitor.
"Nag dialogue kami and I said, I'm fine [with the changes]. I'm a father also and I want the younger generation to watch it."
CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE FORCE. Direk Mike recalled that when they did this movie, they simply stuck to what's happening in real life.
"Nung ginawa namin ang movie, no-holds-barred. We never thought about ratings, we never thought about the box-office.
"Ilagay natin dun kung ano ang honest, ano ang totoo. That's why there is violence in the movie, there's sex, drug use and it's all grounded in reality."
How did they manage to depict the corruption and vigilante justice implemented within the police force?
Direk Mike explained: "You're not supposed to knowingly put agencies of the government in a bad light.
"Nag-discuss kami. The film is not one-sided. In the same way that real life is not one-sided. There are good people and there are bad people. Not just in government but in real life. They listened to me and I was able to express my point naman.
"We wanted it to be fair so nag-interview rin kami ng retired major."
DENNIS THE HITMAN. To prepare for his role as a cop-turned-vigilante, Dennis recalled: "Nagpaitim ako, nagpa bulk up ako ng kaunti then nag-interview kami ng totoong hitmen."
(Read: Dennis Trillo felt nervous about meeting real-life vigilantes to prepare for The Janitor)
There are plenty of fight scenes in the movie but there are several standouts that left lasting impressions on moviegoers.
Direk Mike divulged, "The fight scene between Dennis and Raymond Bagatsing sa loob ng elevator took three weeks of training and rehearsals.
"We had live guns when they were really fighting."
As for Dennis, he said he did most of his stunts in The Janitor.
The GMA-7 actor is a mixed martial arts practitioner, which is why he did not have a difficult time executing the hand-to-hand combat scenes in the film.
"Familiar naman kami sa mga moves tulad ng submission, grappling kaya hindi kami nahirapan.
"May isang beses na nag-meet kami sa gym ni Sir Raymond Bagatsing para ichoreograph namin yung fight scene namin sa elevator.
"Mga kalahating araw kami nandun at sabi namin para mas ma-execute namin ng maganda, kailangan alam namin by heart. After nung gym session na yun, naulit yun at hindi na lang namin pinaalam kay Direk Mike para mas maging pulido pa ang kalabasan ng eksena."
Dennis Trillo with Raymond Bagatsing
GOING INTERNATIONAL. The Janitor will be competing in the 2015 Fantasporto or the 5th Festival Internacional de Cinema do Porto. It will be held in Portugal from February 27 to March 7, 2015.
Direk Mike reveals that lead stars Dennis Trillo and LJ Reyes have caught the attention of foreign critics for their performances.
LJ is cast as is cast as Melba, the pregnant wife of Crisanto (played by Dennis).
LJ Reyes is cast as the wife of Dennis Trillo's character while Dante Rivero (right) plays the father of the ex-cop
Direk Mike shared: "I'm not allowed to tell you which festival but there is a festival director from a foreign film fest who contacted us and invited the film.
"Akala ko they wanted the film kasi action siya. Pero sabi niya, 'Can I have a request? Can you bring the lead actor and the actress who played his wife? That story is what made us fall in love with the film.'"
In fact, LJ is flatered that a festival programmer told them about the characters that she and Dennis played in the movie: "Yung husband and wife, sila ang naging soul ng movie."
The GMA-7 actress said with a smile, "Sa dami ng gulo na nangyari sa movie, ang sarap na ikaw nga yung feminine, soft side ng story na nandun yung puso. It's an honor to be part of the movie."
THE JANITOR SEQUEL? In an earlier interview with Direk Mike during the movie's grand press conference, he admitted that he is open to making a sequel for The Janitor.
He pointed out: “Ang The Janitor kasi pitong taon siyang kumukulo sa utak ko. Talagang naging passion project siya para sa akin. Mayroon rin naman akong ibang passion projects na gustong gawin.
“I think this will not be the last time I will revisit these characters. Maraming nagtatanong, maraming humihingi ng sequel at maraming nagtatanong kung anong nangyari pagkatapos.
“Isa yun sa mga umiikot ngayon sa utak ko.”