PIOLO PASCUAL IS CELLIST-PHYSICIAN IN HIS FIRST ROMANTIC THRILLER
by Pablo A. Tariman
In this presscon just three days before the opening of the film, Silong, Jeffrey Hidalgo and Roy Sevilla Ho are game on dissecting the dark side of the Filipino vis-à-vis his foreign counterparts.
Direk Roy opines the Filipino dark side is basically rooted on the idea of sin and fear whereas his foreign counterparts have a component outside of the spiritual.
The idea of darkness and shady characters comes handy in this discussion as the directors talk about the twisted characters in Silong starring Piolo Pascual and Rhian Ramos.
It is Piolo’s first romantic thriller and its dark content sits well with his passion as an actor.
Says the actor: “At this stage of my career, I am inclined to do more unusual stories with out-of-the-box characters that seldom come in my mainstream projects. I enjoy my work as actor because I am given a chance to portray other people’s lives. This role in Silong is vastly different. The character is generous to a fault but he has also another side. The call of passion ignites something different from him. That is why I have this passionate love scene with Rhian (Ramos) that is bound to shock audiences. It cannot be the other way around as we are playing characters with twisted minds. But in between takes, I have to cover Rhian’s body and wait for the next take.”
The scene was so intense Rhian had to gulp half a glass of wine before the take to calm herself. “I tend to get nervous before the camera as it takes some time for me to get into the part. But Piolo is something else. His focus is astounding and he gets into his character as easily as changing clothes. He just makes things happen and his spontaneity is contagious. I like working with actors like him. You learn as you collaborate.”
With many such delicate scenes in the film, the two directors made it clear there were no other way those scenes can be executed.
The two divided chores even as Roy earlier took care of the script that has been untouched for some time until the idea of Silong came along.
Points out Ho: “I took care of the scenes with Rhian (Ramos) and Jeffrey took care of the scenes of Piolo (Pascual) including that infamous shower scene. We discuss and evaluate all the time.”
Their backgrounds are vastly different even as their talents merged in this project.
Jeffrey was into singing (he was a member of Ryan Cayabyab’s singing group, “Smokey Mountain”), did some music videos and eventually dabbled in some short films.
Roy directed plays, had stints as an actor and probably fascinated by Roman Polansky’s “Repulsion” and other classic thrillers of the Polish filmmaker.
He adds: “I went into indie directing to be able to do films not encouraged in mainstream projects. But the truth is indie and mainstream producers can learn from each other. Some projects get labeled as indie mainly because of the tight budget and the subject but they can actually evolve as a mainstream project. My hope for the future is that the distinctions between indie and mainstream films will hopefully be not distinct in the days to come. With indie projects, you learn to take risk and push the boundary. Whatever the result is in the box office, the content and the reactions are good avenues for discussion.”
As for Jeffrey, he admits he did not totally turn his back on singing while busy with his major directorial debut. “I still sing and I still produce and write songs. But when I went to Abu Dhabi to take a short course in filmmaking, I realized that filmmaking is one of my greater passions. I certainly hope Silong will be a part of my calling card as director without necessary turning my back on music. What did I learn from doing this film? I guess I found my kind of style of directing and realized that good collaboration is a key to a good project. We enjoyed brainstorming on the theme of the story and we certainly hope the materials dwelling on the darker side of people will find acceptance among moviegoers and open more avenues for untold stories.”
Silong directed by Jeffrey Hidalgo and Roy Sevilla Ho opened in all theaters last September 16.