Film Notes

by Pablo A. Tariman

In at least two presscons for “Para Sa Hopeless Romantic” starring James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Julia Barretto and Inigo Pascual, Direk Andoy Ranay is a picture of a filmmaker who can easily blend with young love teams.

He is unperturbed as young actor Inigo Pascual gives Julia Barretto an almost piercing look and it is hard to look elsewhere.

Julia Barretto and Inigo Pascual: every movie they make is a learning process for them.

Julia Barretto and Inigo Pascual: every movie they make is a learning process for them.

Julia is in a black tight-fitting outfit with a revealing neckline that she keeps adjusting and re-adjusting as she notices she is getting the attention away from the lead star, Nadine Lustre who looks her part, as a high school nerd in love with someone in her class.

Out of the blue, Julia looks like a young woman in bloom and many are curious how her team up with the young Inigo will fare in this movie.

Piolo Pascual’s teenage son is well-behaved and indeed Julia in this early evening presscon looks like the more assertive partner thanks to her daring evening attire.

But there is more to Julia than her showbiz projections which vary depending on the project.

Julia admits every movie she does is still a learning process and she finds extra comfort being paired with someone highly promising as Inigo. “We are many light years away from the love team of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo and more so with the love team of Nadine and James. We get along well in the set probably because we are more or less on the same age level and we laugh with everyone’s antics. You can say that every day in the shoot is one big series of encounters with work and fun and close camaraderie.”

The thing with Julia is that she has maintained a decent and detached demeanor when things get ugly specially the scenarios involving her aunts and the thing about her father (Dennis Padilla) who is after her daughter retaining her father’s legal name.

Whatever it is, Julia’s true-to-life trailers define her as a well-adjusted person and as a promising actress.

In the middle of family storms, Julia takes a cool stance and even finds a way to have a graceful exit every time movie scribes bring up the subject.

Direk Andoy Ranay on handling young actors: you have to connect with them not just as stars but as ordinary human being.

Direk Andoy Ranay on handling young actors: you have to connect with them not just as stars but as ordinary human being.

Even the subject of her private romance is wrapped in discreet mystery but she is quick to say she can move on pretty fast with no traces of private agony.

“You learn from people you work with,” she says, “but you also learn from real life. You’d be surprised that what you learn from your public and private life come handy when you act behind the camera. As I have said, I learn from everyone including from beginners like me and Inigo who is very likeable.”

At age 41 with several blockbusters to his credit, Ranay has learned to play the rules of the game as assignments come one after the other.

Says he: “Your work begins when you read the material and you just have to derive inspiration from it. When you deal with stories with thousands of following even before it turns into a movie, you have to make sure you retain the essence of the story that its young readers find titillating. You can’t change the story but you can improvise on it and make it more interesting on screen. Because in the long run, you can’t transport all the chapters of the novel in one film. You have to find the most appealing and make something worthy of the author and his readers.”

The author of “Para Sa Hopeless Romantic” –Marcelo Santos III — is all of 24 and direk Ranay deals with his writer the way he adjusts to the young actors in the cast. “I normally confer with the writer just to inform him how we will treat the story. I have to deal separately with the screen writer who should make sure the screenplay reflects the contemporary lingo of the young. So how do you deal with them? Initially, you have to get to know them fast but since I have worked with the lead stars early on, the collaboration is easier now. They know what I want in every scene. They know what I resort to when I find the scene a bit awkward and try to find a good way out. There are scenes that look interesting on the printed page but would look bizarre in cinema. It goes without saying that I will no longer use the same ‘kilig’ moment I used in their earlier blockbusters. Too much of something rubs moviegoers off easily and you have to find a way to retain them without sounding ‘baduy.’ But there is one scene where I have to find magic in James (Reid) eating ‘tuyo’ (dried fish). Personally, he doesn’t like it and its smell. But I have to convince him he has to taste it as though it is caviar — to make the scene work.”

With several blockbusters to his credit, Direk Ranay can rightfully articulate how it is to survive and to be on top of the heap in the highly competitive showbiz jungle.

He concludes: “You must know the pervading trend and you should know what’s in and what’s out. You cannot just ride on them as quickly as you discover them. You should also know the market as the producers define them. You should constantly re-invent yourself otherwise you become stagnant with your own private theories about filmmaking. Around this existing movie milieu, you have to find a way to make yourself a better filmmaker. Treat every project as a challenge. Give them what they want but also hold on to what you hold sacred in your profession.”

“Para Sa Hopeless Romantic” directed by Andoy Ranay opens on May 13 in all theaters.

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