Small stars play important roles

by Nickie Wang

To be a big star in showbiz is a test of patience. At the same time you also need some amount of luck to land on plum roles that can make your star shine brighter. And this is exactly what is happening to young stars Lauren Young, JM De Guzman and Enrique Gil.

Though the three Star Magic contract talents are no strangers to the limelight, they still feel the pressure of being chosen to top-bill a big project and be joined by seasoned thespians as supporting cast. They are on a mission to give life to the characters that catapulted Claudine Barretto, the late Rico Yan, and Diether Ocampo as three of the most important stars of their generation.

Seventeen-year-old Lauren has appeared in more than 30 different programs (with Juanita Banana being the most recent) in Kapamilya network since she was launched in 2006. JM, on the other hand, has started in showbiz at a young age of four but immediately left the business when he felt that he wasn’t ripe yet to be in front of the cameras. He went back in 2003 but it was only in 2010 when the public started to notice him. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Enrique, who is quite a newbie compared to his co-stars, started in showbiz in 2008.

They are fortunate enough that Kapamilya station is gambling on introducing small and relatively neophyte stars to headline the remake of the now classic series Mula Sa Puso. This formula worked for Sabel that featured virtually unknown Jessy Mendiola, who is now being compared to the most beautiful faces in the entertainment world. Same thing goes to Mara Clara remake that put Kathryn Bernardo as the next important star to watch out for.

Lauren, JM and Enrique need to be aware that the original Mula Sa Puso was one of the most successful soap operas of ABS-CBN. It was on air for two years and generated an average ratings of 45.2 percent (when ratings provider was still using the old system). It generated the highest ratings of 53.7 percent and a film of the same title even followed in 1999.

As they embark on this important mission, the next hurdle after nailing the audition process is to make the viewers believe that they are the better choice to reprise Via, Gabriel, and Michael. They claim that they saw the film and watched several episodes of the original soap. But that’s actually unnecessary because they might end up trying to be Claudine, Rico, and Diether.

Piolo, an indie maverick

Actor Piolo Pascual belongs to the band of talents who have the screen presence to carry a mainstream movie, yet focusing his energies in making independent films. Unlike crossover star Coco Martin, who successfully made it to the mainstream after starring in a string of provocative digital flicks, the ace star is clearly doing it the other way around.

The 34-year-old beau of KC Concepcion is working on an indie movie titled OJT: On the Job Training, which tells the true-to-life story of prisoners who become guns-for-hire. He plays the lead and produces it at the same time.

In 2009, we saw the actor’s first attempt to get involved in producing and starring in indies via Manila, a twin bill film that pays homage to Lino Brocka’s Jaguar and Ishmael Bernal’s Manila By Night. The film premiered in July 2009 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as the opening film of the 5th Cinemalaya Film Festival. It was screened in select theaters nationwide but didn’t do well at the tills. Nonetheless, it was exhibited in international festivals like the Moscow International Film Festival and Warsaw International Film Festival in the same year.

It seems that Piolo is one of those people in showbiz that believes indie movies can salvage the Philippine filmmaking industry. Well, at least, Piolo is a maverick and still considers commercial appeal of his movies, unlike most indie filmmakers who thrives on the same plots of poverty and sex exploitation.

Sarah and Gerald movie, a box-office hit

Despite wrapping the film just in time for its wide release, Sarah Geronimo and Gerald Anderson’s first movie team-up still earned a whooping P15 million when it opened in more than 100 on March 23. This was confirmed by Star Cinema Booking and Distribution a day after it hit the theaters.

Catch Me…I’m In Love revolves around a simple girl named Roxanne (Sarah), who was assigned to look after the president’s stubborn and troublemaker son played by Gerald. Here, Sarah is quite believable in portraying a lass who never had a boyfriend before. But if you would ask about the plot, there’s nothing really special about it—something that we all have seen before. The technical side of the movie is an obvious mess—the product of working 27/7 just to make it ready for the scheduled play date. Even so, it’s the only non-Hollywood movie that saw long queues when it premiered on a Wednesday, and if the current trend continues, it might break box-office record this year.

The romance comedy film, a Viva Films and Star Cinema production, is directed by Mae Czarina Cruz, the same director behind blockbuster Babe, I Love You (2010), and drama series Maging Sino Ka Man and Magkaribal.


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