Director Erik Matti shared that action-thriller OTJ (On the Job) has a unique style of storytelling. “When you watch the movie, marami kang makukuhang insight eh, and it may not necessarily be lessons, hindi siya ‘yung parang preachy. I think what we captured in the film, which we really intended is not be judgmental about the choices that the characters made in the film,” he said.
Unlike other movies, direk Erik remarked that his film will let the audience think for themselves on whose side or character they would root for. “When I see films that pass judgment on a particular story, parang it doesn’t trust its audience to think for itself. This one allows you tor really choose which side you are on without telling you na dito ka kumampi or doon ka kumapi. In this film you will be introduced to several people na you think kontrabida, bida, and eventually hindi mo na maiintindihan kung kanino ka magro-root eh.”
He added, “There was this one scene na hindi mo alam kung gusto mong mahuli sila (pertaining to Gerald Anderson and Joel Torre’s character) or tatakbo sila. Kasi miintindihan mo rin ang pressure sa character ni Piolo (Pascual) and Joey (Marquez) to solve the case. But at the same time maiintindihan mo rin na hindi sila dapat mahuli kasi sayang eh, kawawa ‘yung mga yan. Alam mo ‘yun ang lakas ng ganon and that’s what we are proud of.”
On casting, direk Erik relayed that they made certain that they would cast actors who are not only talented and capable, but also compelling and inviting among the moviegoers. “Alam mo ‘yun, hindi lang, ah magaling siya na artista, kunin. It was really a conscious effort in our part na, pag nilagay mo si Joey Marquez, Joel Torre, Piolo, Gerald, I think that makes an interesting project. Kahit hindi mo alam ang kwento, makikita mo ‘yung mukha ng apat, okay ‘to ha, parang napagsama-sama mo ‘yung mga ‘to ha.”
Even with the supporting roles, they made sure to cast actors that would spark interest among Filipino audiences. “There’s a kind of strategy that’s going on in our heads that goes as well with all the supporting actors. We haven’t seen much of Michael de Mesa in films lately for the past few years so we really pushed for Michael de Mesa to play the congressman. Si Leo Martinez he’s famous for being a comedian but he’s really a good theater and dramatic actor and casting him as the general, I think that pushes also the surprise factor for such a casting,” he said.
OTJ is now showing in theaters nationwide.