The cast members of Bantatay talk about GMA-7’s new wonderdog Charlie


In GMA-7’s new TV series titled Bantatay, the soul of Raymart Santiago’s character will transfer to Charlie the labrador. It will premiere tonight, September 20.


GMA-7 is offering a unique series to kick off its daily primetime block. Titled Bantatay, it is about a father who meets an untimely death. Unable to leave his family behind, he finds himself reborn in the body of a labrador.

Bantatay is topbilled by Raymart Santiago and a labrador named Charlie. Also starring are Gelli de Belen, Jennica Garcia, Sheena Halili, Carl Guevara, Camille Prats, Gary Estrada, Maybelline dela Cruz, Kier Legaspi, and many more.

According to its director Don Michael Perez, who also directs Trudis Liit, making Bantatay is a first for him and for GMA-7.

"I think this is the first time that we’re doing a show na may interaction ang animals at saka ang live actors, e. So that in itself is something to look forward to," he said.

"Bantatay is a play on words," Direk Don added. "Si Bantay, naging Tatay. Kasi that’s the essence of the story na si Raymart na tatay sa tatlong mga anak, meets his untimely death. Nagkataon na meron silang aso, so nung nawala siya, parang yung aso yung nag-take over. But since as a dog, hindi naman siya tatay, pumasok yung soul ni Raymart sa katawan nung dog, para siya yung mag-fulfill ng function bilang tatay sa mga bata."

The viewers, moreover, will be able connect to the story and the characters. "Basically, yung emotions pa rin, yung drama pa rin ang magdadala sa kuwento niya," Direk Don added.

WORKING WITH CHARLIE. According to Direk Don, Charlie the labrador is easy to work with.

"Surprisingly, mas madali pa siyang katrabaho than most kids na nakatrabaho ko," Perez explained. "Kasi, hindi siya nagrereklamo, ganyan. Tapos marami siyang kayang gawin. Meron kaming double for the dog, e. So yung mga hindi kayang gawin ni Charlie, yung mga stunts, ganyan, nagagawa ng isang pang dog. Ano lang, kailangan mo lang talagang tiyagain. You have to catch them at the right time."

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Charlie, who’s named Bantay on the show, sports human-like expressions, the director added. "Pag tiningnan mo kasi si Charlie, ang amo-amo ng mukha, e. Parang tao. Parang tao yung mga expressions niya. Unlike yung other labradors na in-audition namin na mukha talagang aso. Ito parang... siguro bata pa talaga si Charlie kaya very pleasant yung mukha."

Other members of the cast agreed with Direk Perez.

"Actually hindi naman siya ganun kahirap kasi in fairness to Charlie, who plays the role of Bantay, sobrang bait niya," said Camille Prats. "Walang tantrums. Kaya lang siyempre hindi naman natin maiiwasan dahil sila’y mga pawang aso lamang, di ba? Kung ang tao nga may attitude, ano pa kaya sila. But so far, sobrang okay. Mabait, saka cooperative siya. Sobrang charming, kaya kahit na may mga eksenang hindi niya magawa, hindi mo magawang magalit sa kanya kasi sobrang cute niya."

Child star Krystal Reyes seconded her observation. "Hindi naman po sobrang hirap kasi minsan po pasaway, minsan hindi naman po. Hindi mo pa sinasabi, minsan gagawin na niya. Pero minsan naman, kahit sabihin mo sa kanya, ayaw niya naman po. Pero po ikumpara niyo sa ibang aso, mabait po siya," she said.

Young actor Carl Guevara praised Charlie’s temperament. "Ano, kasi sa akin hindi pa ako nagte-taping, pero nagplug-shoot na kami kasama si Charlie. Si Charlie, kahit papaano hindi nakakaintindi yun kasi pet. Pero si Charlie, magaling. Nung nag-plug shoot kami, talagang isang shoot lang kami kay Charlie. Talagang lumapit siya sa amin. Kahit ako, hindi namin ka-close si Charlie, pero kung paano siya maglambing sa amin, ang galing," he said.

Lead actor Raymart Santiago, however, has his reservations. "Naku alam mo, medyo mahirap din dahil bata nga mahirap katrabaho, e. Aso pa. So talagang double yung effort namin dito sa show. At kailangan talaga meron kang tiyaga. At ang director ko, talagang napakatiyaga niya sa ganyang mga bagay," he pointed out.

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Bantatay premieres tonight, September 20, before 24 Oras on GMA-7.


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