As Star Cinema’s latest romantic film Suddenly It’s Magic opens this coming October 31, the movie’s director Rory Quintos couldn’t help but admit she had some adjusting to do while working with the Thai actors and film crew because the film was partly shot in Bangkok and Ayutthaya in Thailand. The talented director said there were also some cultural boundaries that needed to be crossed.
“Ang Filipino actors kasi, you already have the same sensibility unlike when you’re working with a foreign actor, there’s a period of adjustment wherein you have to learn what this person is like, what the culture is like. But once you kind of know it na, it’s practically the same. Kung Filipino, sabihin mo lang na, ‘Ano ganyan, ganyan.’ Alam na kaagad nila, nagkakaintindihan kayo. It’s as simple as saying, ‘Yung fish balls kainin mo.’ Then they already know how to eat fish balls and kung anong mga emotions ang kasama. Unlike if you just tell a foreigner na kumain ng fish balls pero they don’t know the sarap and stuff like that,” she admitted during the Suddenly It’s Magic presscon held last October 12 at the ABS-CBN compound.
The Star Cinema crew also had to get used to Thailand’s work cut-off. “I thank Star Cinema for entrusting this project to me pero talagang nahirapan talaga sobra. Sobra akong na-pressure dito because of the time frame. With regards to the 12 hours working rule, our goal was we cannot have actors who are mediocre, we have to cast good actors who know their roles, who study their roles because we only have 12 hours every day. Which is why we got the actors we did like si Ces Quesada matagal ko ng kilala college days pa. Si Dionne Monsanto nakasama ko na and si Cacai Bautista. Everybody talaga here is magaling, fun to work with, easy to work with, and who’d be able to work with the conditions that we have,” she admitted.
Direk Rory also admitted she enjoyed working with Thai heartthrob Mario Maurer for the very first time. “Natural na artista siya so parang hindi mo na kailangan i-motivate or whatever. Naiintindihan niya kagad. You know who he reminds me so much of Rico Yan. He really, really does. The way he looks, the way he acts, yung pagka-childishness, yung pagka-intelligent ng batang yun. When we were shooting, I was telling him who Rico Yan was, that he was the number one superstar during the height of his career and that he died in his sleep, etcetera, etcetera. I told him he looks so much like him and he reminded me so much of him. And tamang-tama we had a tape of Got 2 Believe in Magic so he watched it. And when he saw it, he said, ‘Oh he kind of looks like me!’ Kasi they’re really magkahawig and he ended up watching the whole film. May mga ibang scenes talaga na I was telling him, ‘My God he looks like Rico Yan! Look at this scene.’ May isang eksena kamukhang-kamukha talaga niya si Rico Yan. Alam niya, we told him the whole story of Rico. And he said that was so tragic and it was so sad,” she shared.
Apart from its local run, Suddenly It’s Magic will also hold screenings in countries like Singapore and the United States. Direk Rory explains that this is part of Star Cinema’s growing audience. She also explained the process of getting Mario to star in the project. “Star Cinema really is hoping to go global already. That’s the thrust already of the company along with all the subsidiaries. Malou Santos and ABS-CBN really gambled on this. So they researched on who was very famous here in Asia and they found out that Mario Maurer was the number one Asian superstar. So they negotiated for quite some time. Matagal yung negotiations nila. It took a year of negotiations before finally they were able to say yes. Naka-ilang balik ng story, because the Thais wanted the choice of story, the choice of actors, so nung finally nabuo, they gave us 25 shooting days. Actually a Filipino film 40 to 45 days, but all they gave was 25 days. So sabi nila we had to do it by hook or by crook kasi this is our chance. Walang extension yun kasi Mario has other international commitments,” she shared.
The Suddenly It’s Magic director also shared the reason why her lead actor was not able to make it to the October 12 presscon. “Kasi he’s busy with some international projects. He’ll be able to come lang on October 29th for the premiere and then we’ll have another presscon then,” she said.
Direk Rory also shared how Mario reacted to doing a scene with Erich wherein he accidentally touched her in the chest. “Medyo nahiya siya (laughs) dahil na rin sa culture nila. Nung nag-storycon kami sa Bangkok, I explained there’s a scene that you have to hold the boobs of Erich, so medyo nahiya hiya siya, I don’t know what he was saying to his staff, they were speaking in Thai, but I said that’s necessary. But you know he’s an actor eh, he’ll do what’s necessary. And he’s such a gentleman I have to say,” she recalled.