Dream come true para kay Direk Paul Soriano ang maidirek sa pelikula si Aga Muhlach sa latest movie project niya na First Love.
Apat na taon na pala niyang ipinagdarasal na magkaroon ng ganung pagkakataon, at awa ng Diyos ay hindi naman siya nabigo.
Panimula niyang bungad, “My dad, Jeric Soriano, nung 1984, he directed Aga sa Hotshots.
“That was the first Filipino movie I remember watching, kasi, of course, my dad showed it to me,” panimula ni Direk Paul.
Six years old lang si Direk Paul noong panahong iyon, at sa kinatagalan ay naging close family friend na ng kanyang pamilya si Aga.
Lahad niya, “Yes, kilala ko na siya. I grew up with him.
“So eventually, when I started becoming active in films—director na, producer na—parang sabi ko, ‘Wow, one day, sana I can experience working with ‘the’ Aga Muhlach, di ba?
“Alam na namin yun, one of the best actors in Philippine cinema. Hindi lang generation, di ba?
“And at that time I was actively directing movies.
“Parang nag-break siya, di ba?
“Parang 2010 to 20, parang last year lang siya bumalik. Parang, ‘Wow, baka I won’t to get to work with him anymore.’
Nakausap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Direk Paul sa kanyang bloggers conference sa Ten17 Productions office sa Pasong Tamo, Makati City kamakailan.
Pagmamalaki niya, “This is the best film that we’ve done because it went through so much collaboration.
“It went through so much challenges.
“And Aga, Bea and myself, we never gave up.
“We believed in the project and it’s full of heart talaga.
“First, I think for me it’s one of my biggest, if not the biggest film I’m a part of.
“I mean, ‘the’ Aga Muhlach, di ba?
“Bea Alonzo naman, one of the best actresses of her generation, di ba?
“If you look nga e, sinasabi ko kanina, you look at the filmography of Aga, the filmography of Bea.
“Yung mga films nila are some of the best in Philippine cinema. Box-office hits, so pressured ako.
“Pressured, challenged. I’m very nervous. But it’s because of all those emotions, the more I wanted to do this film.”
Hindi ba siya na-intimidate kina Aga at Bea habang dini-direk sila?
Kuwento niya, “Well, 'yan ang I think na si Aga Muhlach never made me feel na parang... wala.
“Wala siyang star complex, cool-cool lang si Aga, e. Parang kuya, ganoon.
“Si Bea ganu din. Very collaborative, ‘no?
“I tell people na parang... we have the same birthday ni Bea. October 17 din ang birthday nya.
“So, parang we’re alike.
“Parang, since we’re both have the same birthday, I felt na parang if there’s a female Paul, si Bea yun.
“Parang I felt, ha? Sa akin lang yun.
“We got along as in talagang our personalities are parang the same—perfectionist, parang we overthink, ganoon.
“Si Aga naman wisdom ang binigay niya sa amin.
“Parang teacher siya sa amin.
“Kasi every time he talks, kami ni Bea parang like just listening, ‘Wow.’
“Baka he didn’t know no kasi unconscious lang yan kay Aga.
That’s, I mean, how many years of experience?
“Aga worked with the greatest directors of all time, the greatest writers, the greatest actresses, and now we’re here with him.
“Kami ni Bea parang, there are times, ‘Oh, my God.'”
Ano ang sinabi ng daddy niya nang malaman niyang makakatrabaho na niya si Aga?
“Of course, my dad is ano... I said to him, 'Aga finally accepted the project.'
“And then he said, ‘Wow, parang full circle, Paul. I worked with him and now, my son.’
“My dad is so proud, he’s very proud. My mom is very proud that I’m able to work with Aga, and of course, Bea Alonzo.
“Only now nga I’m realizing how big the project is.
“Kasi when I’m working in Vancouver, sobrang focused ako sa story, sa characters.
“But now we’re promoting, ang laki, e.
“I mean, Aga Muhlach, Bea Alonzo ‘to, 'no?”
Nagkuwento ba ang daddy niya tungkol sa mga naging experience niya kay Aga noong panahong ginagawa nila ang Hotshots?
“Iba rin, e,” pag-aalaala ni Direk Paul.
“Actually, I talked to my dad, at that time Aga was... I think after Bagets yun, e.
“Of course, Aga was at his prime.
“But if there’s one thing about Aga that my dad told me, when he comes to work, he comes to work. Professional.
“Now, what he does outside work, that’s up to him.
“But when he comes to the set at that time, professional siya.
“He will never be a cause of delay.”
Naging masakit ba sa kanya ang dalawang beses ni-reject ni Aga ang kanyang script?
“Hindi,” tanggi niya.
“Sanay naman ako sa rejection.
“It’s part of the business. I like rejection because it’s honesty.
“I would rather have an actor tell me na ayaw nila rather than parang, ‘Sige, gagawin namin.’ Pero di ba, alam mo yung ganun?
“Gusto ko, 'Let’s fall in love with the movie together. Let’s fall in love with the story together because that’s where a great story can be told.'
“That’s where you will really work hard at it.”
Kumusta naman ang working conditions at relationship nila ng mga artista niya habang nagsu-shoot sila sa Vancouver?
Lahad niya, “Even Aga and Bea, they were helping behind the scenes.
“Si Aga, nagtsi-change siya kahit saan, kahit sa public restroom nagtsi-change siya kahit saan.
“Si Bea, may blanket lang nagtsi-change na.
“Wala, wala silang pakialam sa... basta ano, walang ere.
“And they come prepared.
“When they come to the set they know na their lines. Ready na sila to shoot.
“That’s why ang bilis din ng takbo namin, e.
“We stayed in an apartment, like an AirBnB, parang ganun, kasi mahaba [days of shooting].
“Maski sina Aga and Bea doon din sila, e.
“We were all in one building. Pero hindi ‘to luxury.
“Parang ano lang, trabaho talaga.
“In a way, para kaming mga OFW.
“We all had one objective, to tell a story because we all believe in the project.”
May next project na ba siya na nakatakdang simulan?
Pahayag niya, “We produced a film for Toni and Alex [Gonzaga] and Sam Milby. It’s called Mary, Marry Me.
“'Tapos na yung shooting pero producer lang ako diyan.
“It was directed by Arci delos Reyes, a first-time director who also worked under me.
“He trained under me, so I thought it’s about time that he gets to direct, and swak na swak sila.
“Toni likes him, Sam and Alex.”
Ang Mary, Marry Me ay isa sa walong official entries ng 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Ginawa ba nina Toni, Alex at Sam ang movie nila habang sinu-shoot nila ang First Love sa Canada?
“No, after na yun,” pagklaro niya.
“After ng shoot ko sa Canada, parang last month lang [nag-shoot sina Toni and Sam]. I was here na.”
Anong feeling na nakatrabaho ulit ng misis niyang si Toni Gonzaga ang dati niyang leading man?
Pag-amin niya, “Well, ah, I’m a big fan of their love team. I can’t deny it.
“I mean, You Are The One, Big Love, di ba, and You Got Me.
“For me naman, I’m a director also so I understand the industry.
“And of course, I mean, Toni and I, we have [son] Seve na. We’re very secure with our future.”
Dumalaw ba siya sa set nina Toni and Alex?
“Okay naman si Sam. Very professional din si Sam, and I’ve known him for how many years.
“I mean, very friendly, very professional.
“Sam has matured so much as an actor, as a person.
“I’m actually thankful to Sam that he accepted the project and that he is very supportive to Toni and Alex.
“We really thought talaga na he’s perfect for the role.
“Very thankful that he agreed to be a part of this movie.
At least, may “closure” na sa kanila ni Sam?
“Hahaha! Oo, oo naman,” kasunod ang malaking ngiti ni Direk Paul.
Sa tingin ba niya na-miss ng kanilang fans sina Toni at Sam na magkasama muli sa pelikula?
“Yeah, so hopefully ganoon rin. So, we can bring back that chemistry, di ba?”