When Mother Lily Monteverde faced the members of the press last night, July 20, she reminisced about the humble beginnings of Regal Films five decades ago.
"I started in 1960, when the dollar rate was one dollar equivalent to two pesos. I bought All Mine to Give for $500," recalls Mother Lily during the presscon held at the Imperial Palace Suites. "Then yung re-issue ng Solomon and Shiva. Ang unang production ng Regal, Kayod sa Araw, Kayod sa Gabi starring Elizabeth Oropesa and Gina Pareño."
Regal also released Japanese movies like Ultraman and Godzilla.
When asked to name the Top 5 films that she produced in the past, the matriarch of Regal enumerated: Relasyon, Broken Marriage, City After Dark, Sister Stella L, and Mano Po 1. Interestingly, three of these movies were topbilled by actress-politician Vilma Santos (Relasyon, Broken Marriage, and Sister Stell L).
Which celebrity brought the most income to her film production outfit? Mother Lily quickly said the name of Maricel Soriano. But when she was asked to specify the celebrity who caused her the most headaches, she declined to give a name. "I can always forgive them," she says about her Regal babies.
Mother Lily reveals that her daughter, Roselle Monteverde-Teo, is now in charge of almost all aspects of Regal Films.
"Now, she is in charge of all...more or less, 85 percent. She is now taking my place."
The film producer will celebrate her 71st birthday on August 19 and for her birthday wish, she says that she wants to stay for another 50 years in showbiz.
ON KRIS AQUINO AND JAMES YAP. Mother Lily was open in saying that she keeps in touch with Kris Aquino and James Yap, who are undergoing a marital crisis right now.
"She [Kris] sends me all these Christian messages. Hindi naman ako nagpapayo sa kanya. I think she knows best," she says.
Does she agree with Kris's decision to file for a declaration of nullity of marriage to James Yap?
"I think it's her choice," says Mother Lily.
As for James Yap, Mother Lily reveals, "He used to go to my house when he was younger. Madalas siya sa bahay because of Dondon. Once or twice ko pa lang siya binigyan ng payo... I just told him to trust in God and that prayer can move mountains."
Mother Lily's son, Dondon Monteverde, is the business manager of James.
ON EUGENE DOMINGO. As part of its 50th anniversary offering, Regal presents Mamarazzi, a family comedy starring Eugene Domingo.
"I am confident that Mamarazzi is a good vehicle for Regal's golden anniversary celebration," says Ms. Roselle. "Eugene is a very good comedienne and the project was really meant for her. The movie is our best and most fitting choice for our anniversary offering."
This marks Eugene's first solo project for Regal. She will be paired with Diether Ocampo and supported by John "Sweet" Lapus and Carla Abellana. Her children will be portrayed by AJ Perez and Andi Eigenmann, who is making her big screen debut through this film.
Directed by Joel Lamangan, Mamarazzi is the story of a single mother who works as a funeral makeup artist to make ends meet. She tries to provide for her triplets (with Andi portraying dual roles in this movie) and, at the same time, she tries to keep her children from knowing the identity of their biological father.
What if viewers say that this film is similar to the plot of Ai-Ai delas Alas's Ang Tanging Ina?
"Hindi mo naman maiiwasan ang ganung comparison," says Ms. Roselle. "Ang Mamarazzi kasi tungkol sa isang single mom na iniisip kung paano niya maso-solve ang daily problems niya. Minana niya yung funeral parlor from her parents."
Do they think that Eugene can compete with Ai-Ai? Both Mother Lily and Roselle expressed their confidence in Uge and gave a resounding yes.
"Uge is Uge...she has her own style. But I can say that they are both box-office stars," says the younger Monteverde.
Mother Lily adds, "Uge has passed the box-office [mark] through Kimmy Dora. I believe in Uge."
Mamarazzi will open in cinemas on August 25.
UPCOMING REGAL MOVIES. Aside from Mamarazzi, Regal Films will also present a suspense-thriller titled White House. It will feature Gabby Concepcion, Iza Calzado, Maricar Reyes, Lovi Poe, Megan Young, Mo Twister, Joem Bascon, Sarah Lahbati, and Janus del Prado. Directed by Topel Lee, White House is expected to come out in cinemas this October.
For the Metro Manila Film Festival in December, Regal Films will field two entries: Shake, Rattle and Roll XII and Super Inday and the Magic Bibe.
SRR XII will star Shaina Magdayao, Andi Eigenmann, Jillian Ward, Rayver Cruz, Mart Escudero, Sid Lucero, and Carla Abellana. Meanwhile, Marian Rivera, Jake Cuenca, Vice Ganda, and Pokwang will topbill the remake of Super Inday.
Do they have plans of tapping the original Super Inday, Maricel Soriano, to be part of the film? Ms. Roselle said they're thinking about getting the Diamond Star for this MMFF entry.
The remake of Temptation Island is expected to come out next year and will be directed by Chris Martinez.