LOVI Poe gives her most daring performance in a number of sexy scenes in “The Escort” and she’s happy that the feedback after the premiere night last Thursday is all positive and encouraging. “Nakakatuwa naman dahil lahat ng nanood, nagustuhan ang movie namin,” she says. “It’s not just the scenes that showed a lot of skin na nagustuhan nila but also the dramatic scenes. Hindi nasayang ang pagod at hirap namin nina Derek Ramsay and Mr. Christopher de Leon para mapaganda ang movie. In fairness to both of them, they’re both very respectful in our daring scenes. I feel so lucky to be given the chance to work with them and with our director, Enzo Williams.”
If her dad, the late FPJ, were alive does she think he’d allow her to do such erotic scenes? “I don’t really know. Ni hindi ko napag-isipan ‘yan kasi I’ve always regarded myself as someone completely different from my dad. Kasi ako, I was raised na I just wanna be myself and not always think of whether people will accept or not what I do. More than anyone else, I want to please myself first.
Kasi if I lived my life trying to please other people first, that would not be living for me. Even my mom, she trusts me. She knows that I know what I’m doing and I’m doing this as art, as part of my craft as an actress. Even my friends and other relatives, I can feel supportive naman sila as they know this is part of my chosen career. I like my role in ‘The Escort’ as Yassi. She’s a good person and I think viewers will appreciate her.”
Lovi also sang the theme song of “The Escort”. Entitled “No Ordinary Love”, it was played during her love scene with Derek and she sang it with so much emotion. “I felt so happy when (producer) Mother Lily (Monteverde) told me I’d sing the theme song at naglabas pa sila ng music video nito.”
Lovi’s career is really flying so high these days. She has this glossy well-praised movie, “The Escort”, and she’s also in a hit drama series, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, where her portrayal of Joanna, a devoted wife who’ll sacrifice her own happiness for Tom Rodriguez, her husband with Alzheimer’s disease, is also getting good feedback from the viewers. “Grabe ang story ng soap namin kasi halos every scene, umiiyak ako. But I’m glad the viewers like it so much at patuloy na tumataas ang ratings namin.”
JENNYLYN’S MOTHER DIES
CONDOLENCES to the family of Jennylyn Mercado for the passing of her Mommy Lydia Mercado, 74 years old at St. Luke’s on Saturday morning. Mommy Lydia was confined at the hospital three weeks ago yet due to leukemia but the immediate cause of her demise is sepsis due to pneumonia.
When Jennylyn won as best actress in drama for “My Faithful Husband” last week, her mom was already fighting for her life and the award is a bright spot in Jen’s life then. “Hindi alam ng mga tao ang pinagdaraanan niya noon,” says our source. “That time, si Mommy Lydia, puro tubo na sa ilong at bibig and her hospital bills were escalating, but Jen put up a very brave front.”
Her wake will be held at Loyola Commonwealth then she will be cremated. Let’s pray for the eternal repose of her soul.
NEW PRODUCERS INTRODUCE ‘MANG KEPWENG’ TO THE MILLENNIALS
DIRECTOR GB Sampedro is helming not only the concert “Kanta Ko, Panahon N’yo” of Viva Live but also the Metro filmfest entry of a new movie company, Cineko Productions, led by power couple Yvez and Ladylyne Ilao. They’re among the first ones to complete their film and it’s already been submitted to the screening committee. “Sana naman, mag-qualify kami at makuha kaming official entry,” says producer Ladylyne.
So how did Direk GB get to helm the project?
“It’s the producers who chose it. At dahil naabutan ko naman ‘yung movies ni Mang Kepweng starring the late Chiquito, natuwa akong napili nila ako for their movie,” he says. “Hindi ito remake, ha. The new Mang Kepweng played by Vhong Navarro is actually the son of the first Mang Kepweng, pero horror-comedy-fantasy pa rin ang pelikula.”
What’s the biggest challenge for him in directing “Mang Kepweng Returns”? “The big challenge is how to introduce Mang Kepweng to today’s millennial audiences na hindi siya kilala. Our biggest problem naman is the weather. Lagi kasing umuulan right from our first shooting day in August. E, mahirap ding pagsama-samahin ang mga artista namin kasi it’s a big cast. Pero awa ng Diyos, natapos naman namin in time for the deadline, pati yung special effects sa fantasy scenes.”
Aside from Vhong, also in the cast are new sexpot Kim Domingo as his love interest, James Blanco as Vhong’s brother, Sunshine Cruz as James’ wife, with Kim and Louise de los Reyes as the sisters of Sunshine, Juancho Triviño as Louise’s romantic interest, comedians Jobert Austria and Alex Calleja as the sidekicks of Vhong, Jaclyn Jose as Vhong’s mother, Pen Medina as the rival albularyo of Vhong with Valeen Montenegro and Jhong Hilario as his cohorts, standup comic Tuko as the ghost who haunts Vhong, Lotlot de Leon as the friend of the first Mang Kepweng, Jackie Rice as the princess in the fantasy portion, Matet de Leon as Vhong’s patient na may big twist sa character, Crazy Duo na winners sa comedy search ng ABS-CBN, Gerard Acao as a maligno and child stars Balang from GMA and Mini Vhong, Chunso and Zia from ABS-CBN.
What prompted producers Lady and Yvez to go into film production? “Yung mga kasosyo namin ang gusto talagang makagawa ng movie na kasali sa Metro filmfest kasi target audience namin, ‘yung mga bata kapag Pasko. We made sure na magugustuhan ito hindi lang ng kid viewers but by their whole family. Tatawa sila, matatakot sila, mage-enjoy sila,” says Ladylyne.
So do they now have any regrets? “None so far. Kasi magaling si Direk GB at cooperative naman, mababait lahat ng artista, so no hitches. Lahat maayos. Di namin ito tinipid as we want to make a good impression kaya hindi kami mapapahiya. So far, P20 million na ang gastos namin, wala pang promo. We’re partnering with Viva for its release.”
Ladylyne is optimistic the movie will be a big hit as she has a lucky charm: the baby inside her womb. “First baby namin ito ng husband ko at sabi nila, kapag buntis daw, suwerte ito. So sana nga, totoo kasi marami pa kaming balak na isusunod na projects once maging hit ang ‘Mang Kepweng Returns’.”
We’ll pray you have an easy delivery, Lady, and that your first movie venture will hit it big at the box office.
MOVIE REVIEW: SIPHAYO
WE’RE surprised that Joel Lamangan’s earthy and shameless sex-drama, “Siphayo (Dismay”), is given a no-cuts R-16 rating when it features its reckless lead star Nathalie Hart in an unabashed full frontal nudity scene. During the press screening held at Fisher Mall, before that scene came out on screen, we saw Nathalie rushing out of the theatre. “Ayokong mapanood!” she screams.
We saw her later waiting for the press at the theater lobby and everyone congratulated her for being so daring and uninhibited. She’s lucky that she won the International Filmfest Manhattan best actress award in New York even if the movie is not really of the pang-award variety but a very commercial enterprise from Direk Joel whose obvious objective is for it to make more money at the box office than to win prestigious awards.
“Siphayo” is full of brazen sex scenes and Nathalie gives an erotic, no-holds-barred performance that harks back to the movies of Regal in the 70s and 80s and of Seiko’s ST and TF (Sex Trip and Titillating films). Even leading men Luis Alandy and Joem Bascon are shown butt naked in their bed scenes with Nathalie. Let’s see if “Siphayo” would bring back the glory days of sex dramas in local cinema in this day and age when sex is now so easy to access (for free at that) on the internet.
In fairness to Direk Joel, he tried to inject some semblance of social relevance into the movie with such valid topics as agricultural lands being eaten up by greedy businessmen who build malls and supermarkets in what used to be ricelands, making small time farmers lose their only source of livelihood. But the core of the story remains to be the bizarre love quadrangle between a randy farmer (Allan Paule) and his two sons (Joem and Luis) over a young nurse (Nathalie) who has nude love scenes with no inhibitions with all of them.
The film is quite well acted by everyone. Allan has his moments as the amoral father who even tries to make it out with his daughter-in-law (Elora Espano), the common-law-wife of his son Luis. Luis as the elder son has bed scenes with both Elora and Nathalie and shines in his violent confrontation scenes with his own dad. But among the guys, Joem has the most demanding role as the seemingly weakling son who has a tendency to be a cry baby, then springs a surprise later with a total 360 degree turnabout in his role.
Maria Isabel Lopez is very touchingly credible as the dying wife of Allan (she’s getting to be a fine character actress, as also seen in “Lorna” and “Barcelona”) while Elora Espano is also splendid as the trusting wife who’ll be in for a big surprise. As the woman who brings shame and scandal in Allan’s family, Nathalie supplies the earthiness and sexiness her role calls for. We just wish that she were given more demanding dramatic scenes to highlight her being so cunning and manipulative for engineering the very contrived incidents in the story.
In the end, viewers who want a sunny happy ending will surely complain because the movie’s twisted conclusion is not the usual “good triumphs over evil”. Here, it is the scheming characters with a hidden agenda who succeed and get away with it with so much impunity. If you’re the kind of viewer who believe it’s evil people are really dominant all over now and want that kind of ending, then this movie is most certainly for you. But if you’re someone who prefers redeeming factors, you won’t find that in “Siphayo” at talagang kayo’y masisiphayo.