Eccentric comedians Maverick Relova and Ariel Villasanta got a vote of confidence from GMA Films when they were announced recently as the newest contract artists of the Kapuso network's film outfit.
The February 12 press conference of GMA Films at the executive lounge of GMA Network doubled as a send-off party for Maverick and Ariel, who are leaving for the U.S. tomorrow, February 14. They'll travel in California, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles for two weeks to shoot their launching film Maverick and Ariel's First Ever Ever Movie Hollywood or Else... (Ang Pinakamahabang Title ng Movie sa Balat ng Lupa).
That movie title is a mouthful but, basically, it's a reality movie that aims to document Maverick and Ariel's attempts to get special auditions in the seventh season of American Idol. Although AI auditions have already ended and there are age and citizenship requirements to consider, the two comedians will do everything in their power for the chance to meet AI judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul.
GMA Films president Annette Gozon-Abrogar trusts that the comic duo will be able to shoot a mockumentary that will tell the story of two exaggerated, caricatured characters let loose in the United States.
"We want to try something new. We want to give Filipino viewers a taste of something new. Ang Maverick and Ariel [tandem] ay hindi pa nakikita ang kanilang brand of comedy sa big screen. We're very excited kasi hindi namin alam kung ano'ng gagawin nila sa Amerika. We're very excited malaman kung paano nila bubuin yung movie," said Ms. Annette with confidence.
She adds, "Feeling ko may cult following silang dalawa. Pinag-uusapan sila sa Internet, ng mga office yuppies. So may opportunity na mata-tap doon. At alam natin na ang mga reality formats sa TV, ang lakas, so why not put your cards on a reality movie this time?"
For his part, Ariel says that they have a special mission to accomplish in a span of two weeks. "Magpapaalam po muna kami sa sambayanang Pilipino. Alam po naming malulungkot ang sambayanan sa gagawin namin, pero kailangan po naming pumunta sa Amerika para pumasok sa Hollywood sa tulong ng GMA Films. Ipapamahagi namin ang aming talento at para makita na rin ang Disneyland.
"Pakiramdaman po namin, wala na po kaming challenge dito kaya gusto po namin global naman."
He also said that his mother, Elvie Villasanta, will be part of the movie but won't be joining them in the United States. Ariel stars with his mother in a show titled Mommy Elvie's Problematic Show that airs on ABC-5.
The newly married Maverick asked his wife Charisse Utuanis permission before going to the U.S. "Pinayagan naman po ako ng asawa ko, baka uwian ko na lang siya ng Louis Vuitton na bag. Gusto ko sana siya isama, pero may work siya dito. But I promised her that when I come back, we will spend time together." They got married last January 28 at the The Manila Peninsula in Makati City.
Maverick explains their process of shooting this movie. "We don't have any script but we just have a guide listing what would happen. Then kami na bahala magbitaw ng dialogue."
Aside from featuring their quest for American Idol auditions, the two comedians are also hoping to feature Filipino artists who are now based in the United States. The director of the mockumentary is Aleah Aliporo, the director of their former ABC-5 show Misadventures of Maverick and Ariel.
NEW GAME SHOW? Late last year, a commercial was shown on the Kapuso Network indicating that Maverick and Ariel will be hosts of a new game titled Send or Save. What happened to the show that they were supposed to host in GMA-7?
"Send or Save, actually, it's just held for a while," reveals Maverick. "They're trying to get malalaking sponsors because we'll be giving away P500,000 every day on that show. For a morning show, yun yung pinakamalaking jackpot na puwedeng ibigay. GMA-7 is trying to put up a lot of sponsors to support it. I heard it will be scheduled within the year.
"Right now, we're busy with Joaquin Bordado as Tom and Jerry, the sidekicks of Robin Padilla. We're shooting some scenes in Antipolo."
Maverick and Ariel join other contract artists of GMA Films, like Rhian Ramos and Iza Calzado who were also signed up this year.
Maverick and Ariel's First Ever Ever Movie Hollywood or Else is scheduled to open in cinemas nationwide on April 2.