The official trailer of Ang Panday, the upcoming movie of Bong Revilla, had some members of the press gaping in awe. "Parang Hollywood," was the common remark during the mini-press conference held this afternoon, November 12, at Dulcinea, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
Bong was obviously pleased with the small crowd's reaction. Beaming with pride, he said that this film's edge over others is technology.
The Senator-actor-host related, "Yung panahon ngayon, high-tech na tayo, at mas mahabang ginawa itong Panday ngayon. Ito, one year in the making, e, talagang pinaganda natin dahil ayaw nating mapahiya dun sa unang lumikha ng Panday, yung tinitingala nating lahat, tribute na rin natin para sa kanya. So, talagang pinaganda natin, pinaghandaan, ginastusan, kumbaga, binuhos nating lahat for this movie."
Bong was obviously referring to the late King of Philippine Movies, Fernando Poe Jr.
But, of course, the movie's major come-on is still the story. The Kapuso star said, "Sinigurado namin na yung pelikula natin, even the story... Yung istorya, yung flow, kailangan buong-buo siya kaya kami naging metikuloso sa script. Iniiwasan namin na maganda ka lang sa visual, maganda ka lang sa effects, pero when it comes to the story telling, dun kumu-collapse, yun ang iniingatan natin. Makikita niyo ang difference nitong Panday."
The movie's theme is described by the action star as "mas adventure" with a love story on the side, but the thing to watch for is its special effects. The trailer's visual impact could actually be likened to Hollywood's Lord of the Rings and Eragon.
P70-MILLION FILM. Nearly everyone in the room couldn't help but be curious about the budget. The production cost, which will be a 50-50 split between GMA Films and Imus Productions, is now estimated at 70 million pesos.
Ms. Annette Gozon-Abrogar, president of GMA Films, said, "Malaking, malaking, malaking-malaki yung budget ng pelikulang ito. Kasi sa umpisa pa lang, yung set na ginamit, pati yung costume, and then pati yung mga pinasok for special effects, parang nung una dapat yung budget namin, parang 50-plus million lang. Pero dahil dun sa nakita naming sobrang ganda, 'tapos kailangan pa ng more time for special effects, more shooting days, umabot kami halos 70 million."
The shoot was finished four months ago, but post-production is still ongoing. Ms. Annette added, "Mabusisi talaga sila."
REMAKE OF A PINOY CLASSIC. Panday is a comics character created by Carlo J. Caparas. Two of its most popular characters are Flavio, which was played by the late FPJ, and his archenemy, Lizardo, portrayed by Max Alvarado.
To date, it already has nine versions and adaptations in the movies and on television. After the release of Panday IV: Ikaapat na Aklat—the last of the four films starred by FPJ—in 1984, Bong revived the character onscreen in 1993 with Ang Dugo ng Panday. Sixteen years later, he's on to the second series. What made this project different from the previous ones?
Bong replied, "Ang istorya na ito, sinimulan natin kung saan nagsimula si Lizardo. Sa mga previous Panday, hindi nila alam kung saan galing si Lizardo, alam nila ampon lang. Ito, the movie will tell kung saan siya talaga nagmula, kung saan siya nanggaling."
Ms. Annette continued, "May bagong characters na hindi nakita dun sa mga dating Panday... But of course, nandun yung mga hahanapin talaga ng mga Panday lovers, yung talagang sumubaybay ng Panday from before. Pero siyempre, yung mga bago ngayon—may bagong elements, may bagong character, bago yung journey, bago yung kuwento nila, so panibagong viewing ito of an old classic."
In addition, Panday here has a "medyo may kulay" na costume, a new friend named Bagwis, and a new star to play Lizardo—Phillip Salvador.
Bong Revilla narrated how his good friend became his co-star in the movie:
"Nung binubuo ko yung Panday, nung binubuo na namin ng GMA—nila Ms. Annette—naikuwento ko sa kanya ito. Sabi ko, 'I'm doing Panday, yun talagang simula.' Sabi ko, 'Nandito yung dugo ng Panday before, e... Ito talaga yung bubuo ng istorya.' So sabi niya sa akin, 'Sinong Lizardo mo?' Sabi ko, 'Wala pa.' Ooopps parang, ting!
"Tapos pinabasa ko yung script, 'Basahin mo nga.' Then, parang nakita ko, parang gusto niya. 'Tapos nag-usap kami nila Annette, 'Pupwede ba natin i-offer, kung siya yung magiging Lizardo?'
"'Of course,' sabi nina Annette, 'Karangalan natin yun.' First time niya magiging kontrabida sa isang pelikula, at makakasama ko pa. At pareho pa kaming malapit kay Ninong Ron, kay FPJ..."
As for his leading lady Iza Calzado, Bong said, "bagay siya sa role," and laughingly added that viewers should not miss their kissing scene.
When asked if this film is influenced in any way by foreign films, the actor replied: "Wala naman tayong ginaya, original pa rin ito. Siyempre, hindi naman tayo pupuwedeng kumalas dun sa original Panday, e. Pero hinaluan natin ng mga bagong rekado sa pakikipagtulungan din ni Direk Carlo J. Caparas, dahil siya talaga yung lumikha nito, e."
The film was helmed by Mac Alejandre, and written by RJ Cuevas, a favorite of direk Carlo, who has the last say, said Bong.
"99.9 PERCENT SURE." In the same presscon, Bong happily announced that his movie will most likely be one of the Metro Manila Film Festival entries this year.
It will be recalled that his plan to run for national office come 2010 elections almost got in the way. But eventually, he got the go-signal of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The Senator asserted, "Walang batas na nagsasabi na bawal na yung ipalabas ang pelikula, wala. Wala sa Konstitusyon natin 'yan, kaya na-realize rin ng Comelec na pupuwede nila ipalabas, 99.9 percent ipapalabas ang Panday."
His other announcement has something to do with his political plans. Is he pursuing his bid for the vice-presidential post?
Bong declared, "99.9 percent hindi tayo tatakbo. Napagnilay-nilayan na natin 'yan, pinag-aralan nating mabuti, consulted friends, even the supporters from the provinces, at higit sa lahat, yung tatay ko [former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.]. Tumawag sa akin two days ago, sabi niya sa akin, 'Anak, yung usapan natin...' Yun yung time na medyo magulo pa yung utak ko. Sabi ko, 'Daddy, sa tawag mo, yung salita mo, parang salita na ng Diyos 'yan.' So yun, that's final..."
Then he stressed: "I will not run for Vice President, but I will run for Senator again."