DIRECTOR ANTOINETTE JADAONE ON WORKING WITH TONI GONZAGA AND COCO MARTIN
By Pablo A. Tariman
Direk Antoinette Jadaone is not comfortable with labels and more so with the extra attention she gets as the “breakout romantic comedy director of 2014.”
Among other things, her indie film, “That Thing Called Tadhana” made box office history as the highest grossing independent film; her hand as co-writer in “English Only Please” also catapulted a film with indie budget as one of the top-grossers in the latest edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival and brought home its share of the major awards to boot.
Needless to say, anything that Direk Tonette touches these days virtually turns into gold enough for the corporate bosses to decide the young director is now a bankable ‘brand’ to reckon with.
Asked how she feels about being ‘repackaged’ as a new marketing brand, the young director doesn’t hide the fact that ‘branding’ still puzzles her and didn’t know its significance in the world of film marketing.
In time, she will come to terms with her newfound box office clout. For now, she is too focused on her work to worry about assorted ‘branding’ in the world of showbiz.
But in this new assignment called “You’re My Boss” starring Coco Martin and Toni Gonzaga, her priority is to get things done – and nacherly – to her own private satisfaction.
She is happy that her latest outputs were vindicated at the box office. And the result is her getting new projects after another. She gets few hours of sleep in the process but she likes doing new challenges. But like all industry observers always on the look-out for box office potentials, she knows every new project carries with it new responsibility.
“Yes, I do feel the pressure,” she admits in this latest presscon that had her walking in the welcome red carpet with great discomfiture. “Not that I don’t like the attention,” she apologizes. “But truth to tell, I still need to get used to this. I still don’t know the making of a ‘brand’ associated with me.”
In this movie gathering, they talk of the Toni Gonzaga brand and the Coco Martin brand and how the two brands can merge to good box office result.
It was hard because the writers had to come up with new characters not associated with the two showbiz ‘brands.’ The producers obviously didn’t want anything as a repeat of the previous box office attraction.
Direk Tonette has an idea of what they are talking about but she is clearly not comfortable when people start referring to both stars and director as corporate ‘brands’ fit for global marketing.
For another time, she admits: “I don’t know my brand. But in working on a script or directing a film, I strive to work on characters and a story grounded on real life.”
Happily, Jadaone is surrounded with real people who don’t strut their box office status around. She is relieved that everyone cooperates and willing to learn some more as the shoot progresses.
To be sure, this is one of Coco Martin’s first outings in comedy and much as he can do his own thing based on pure acting instinct, he expects to be guided by both director and co-stars.
“I learned a lot from Toni in this project,” says Coco. “I learned a lot more about good comic timing. Toni didn’t just help me on this. She also coached me on how to deliver good English specially the ‘sosyal’ sounding.”
Direk Tonette says she has no problem working with Toni. “I would say she has perfect timing and on top of that, she collaborates with everyone on the set. She is constantly motivated on what will work for the project.”
After explaining her side on her controversial Binibining Pilipinas hosting, Toni prefers to dwell on the positive. “I made sure I came up with fun hosting and if in the process I hurt some people, I sincerely apologize.”
Asked what she expects from her leading men in general, Toni dropped the word “authenticity” without batting an eyelash. “I like my co-actors real with characters all their own. I find these qualities in the person of Coco Martin.”
Which happens to be the personal credo of Direk Tonette. “As a scriptwriter, I like to rewrite and rewrite until I am satisfied. When stars turn real and become the characters my script wants them to be, I feel rewarded. I don’t work with some marketing ‘brands’ in mind. I just need to be personally rewarded with good artistic result.”
“You’re My Boss” directed by Antoinette Jadaone and starring Coco Martin and Toni Gonzaga opens April 4 in all theaters.