Topel Lee talks about "Sundo" and working with Robin Padilla

Robin Padilla (left) and director Topel Lee team up for the horror film Sundo—aViva Films and GMA Films joint venture. Robin took note that Topel is fond ofusing storyboards to guide everyone during a shoot. "We do a lot of storyboards,"confirmed Topel. "Nakakatulong din, kasi hindi pabalik-balik ng set-up. Masmatipid din for the producers."


Directing Robin Padillais both an exciting and intimidating job, according to Sundo director Topel Lee.

Since Robin is accustomed to portraying actionhero roles, Topel laughingly talked about how Robin would sometimes forget that he isdoing a horror picture and that his character, Romano, is prone to moments ofvulnerability.

It was a comicalsituation, to say the least, with Topel reminding Robin to act scared oncertain scenes for them to effectively project fear anduncertainty to the viewers.

"Minsan sinasabihan kosiya, ‘Robin, dapat takot ka sa eksena na ‘to' and sasabihin niya, ‘Hindi! Ba'tako matatakot?'" chuckled Lee during an interview at the press conference of Sundo held last September 18 at Dulcinearestaurant onTomas Morato Ave., Quezon City.

The presscon tendered byGMA Films and Viva Films was solely intended for Robin. In the movie though,Robin is joined by Rhian Ramos, Sunshine Dizon, Katrina Halili, GlydelMercado, former Star Circle Questgrand winner Hero Angeles, and singer Mark Bautista.

ADIFFERENT ROBIN. Presenting a different facet of Robin,one that is capable of showing fear in his eyes, is very crucial according tothe young director.

"Kailangan makita talagasa kanya ‘yong fear," Topel reasoned, "otherwise, hindi matatakot sa kanya ‘yongviewers."

A horror projectentails both strong visuals and audio for maximum appeal. That's why the entirecast along with the production team are all proud of Sundo's technical aspect, like the cameras used, pre-production techniquesemployed down to the sound effects—all complementing the story's overall flow.

But other than thosementioned factors, Topel believes that the film's strength remains in themain character. Tapping a male character for the lead role in a horror-suspensefilm is a novelty in local cinema, observes director Lee.

"Actually si Robin talagaang nagdala ng movie, kasi I've never seen any horror movie na lalake ‘yong bida kasi parang hindi nakakatakot. Pero here, na-achieve naman namin ‘yong fearcoming from a male character," Topel related.

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In Sundo, Robin plays a military operative who resigns from themilitary and goes into seclusion in Baguio upon learning that he hassupernatural gifts. Robin's character, Romano, has the ability to see ghostswho come to pick up their loved ones who are on the brink of sudden, tragicdeath.

One admirable trait ofRobin is his professionalism and his being amiable toco-stars and the staff. Robin likewise expressed admirationto Topel for his dedication to his craft.

Despite the mutualrespect shown by both men, direk Topel confided thatlooking at Robin Padilla up close still never fails to bring out the fan inhim.

"Actually ako dinminsan nai-starstruck ako, e," Topel revealed shyly.


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