Paolo Ballesteros inspired his Barbi D’ Wonder Beki director Tony Y. Reyes to revive the Barbi theme from the 1989 cross-dressing comedy flick Barbi: Maid in the Philippines, which Direk Tony also directed.
“Nang makita ko si Paolo, nagka-idea ako na gawin ulit namin na parang sequel ng Barbi,” Direk Tony told PEP.ph in a recent interview held at the baby shower for Pauleen Luna.
“Kung makikita mo kasi si Paolo, pag nag-makeup siya, parang babae siya talaga, di ba? Ang ganda-ganda niya talaga.”
At the same event, Joey also talked about their movie and concurred with Direk Tony.
“Si Paolo, maganda talaga,” admitted Joey, and chuckled: “Ako, balahura ang itsura ko.”
Joey recalled that when he and Direk Tony were making Barbi: Maid in the Philippines and its two sequels Barbi for President (1991) and Run Barbi Run (1995), he knew nothing about making himself look like a woman.
“Courtesy of James Cooper ako,” Joey said, referring to that era’s top makeup artist.
Paolo, on the other hand, is known for his makeup transformation projects that turn him into female celebrities using cosmetics.
“Siya, magaling, nagpe-painting pa nang bongga,” Joey said of Paolo, who’s also his co-host in the longest-running noontime show Eat Bulaga!
Direk Tony agreed that Paolo’s expertise in makeup application is the actor-host’s big asset.
“Ang kagandahan kay Paolo, siya mismo ang nagme-makeup sa sarili niya,” the veteran comedy director pointed out.
Direk Tony also praised Paolo’s performance in the movie.
“Magaling kasi sanay na siya na magbabae na naka-makeup,” he explained. “So this time, mas naging kumportable siya nai-portray ang babae.”
“Do’n sa ginawa naming script, kuwela na siya. Natutuwa na siya, e.
“Pero siyempre, pag dating sa shooting, may mga additional situations.”
In Beki D’Wonder Beki, Paolo plays a closeted gay man who grew up in a macho household and works as a security guard.
Paolo's character gets inadvertently involved in a crime, and then, to protect himself from the perpetrators, he assumes a different identity—a beautiful woman.
Joey, who has a special participation in the movie, is responsible for Paolo’s change in appearance.
The veteran actor-host pointed out that in the first Barbi movie, his character is a straight guy named Bartolome, who’s at his wits’ end finding a job.
Bartolome finally finds employment as a nanny, but only after assuming a female persona named Barbi.
In the new Barbi movie, Joey reprises his Bartolome role and passes on the name Barbi to Paolo’s character.
Direk Tony said that Paolo put in the millennial flavor by giving an allusion to Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman.
“Kaya nagkaroon ng D’ Wonder Beki,” he pointed out, referring to the movie’s title.
“Idol niya si Wonder Woman. Meron siyang mga scenes na naka-Woman Woman siya talaga.”
Barbi D’ Wonder Beki is now being screened in cinemas nationwide.