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Direk Joey wearing his pink power ranger shirt

Direk Joey Reyes does it again with his new modern-day romance movie under Regal Films – SOMEBODY TO LOVE!

You never really grow tired of a great director no matter how seasoned or how well acquainted you are with his signature film-making stings – a great director is like wine, they taste even  better with age.  And this is the case with premier director Jose Javier Reyes or Direk Joey to colleagues.

I am so much privileged to have had the chance of meeting in person and to interview one of the most skillful screen writer and prolific film directors that the Philippines has ever produced – his film-making career has already contributed 70 films in total including the newest, SOMEBODY TO LOVE, which had a very successful opening day last  August 20.  He has been making movies and writing screenplays since the early 1980’s including writing credits for early game-changing films like Oro, Plata, Mata (1982 with Peque Gallaga), Isla (1985 with Celso Ad Castillo) and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1986 with Maning Borlaza).

He has received a number of awards and recognition for his works and has directed also a number of movies that film critics consider as iconic or movies that reflects a mood of a certain period or era like Pare Ko (1995), Batang PX (1997) and Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo (2006).

Direk Joey’s first directorial project, if I remember correctly, was Regal Shocker in the late 1980s that has an all-star cast of Regal babies including Ruffa Gutierrez, Carmina Villaroel and Isabel Granada.  Incidentally, after releasing SOMEBODY TO LOVE, Direk Joey is now currently doing another project which has a theme that is far from his most recent but very much in line with the path that he wants to pursue this year – he will be directing DILIM which will also feature ‘Somebody To Love’ actors Ella Cruz and Beauty Gonzalez.  This will be Regal Film’s Halloween movie presentation for 2014.

Going back to Direk Joey’s current film, SOMEBODY TO LOVE took only almost 3 Months to finish which he said was ‘relatively’ faster than the usual shooting-editing duration but attributed the feat to his very intelligent and competent actors and actresses – Iza Calzado, Carla Abellana, Matteo Guidicelli, Jason Abalos, Isabel Daza, Ella Cruz, Kiray Celis, Maricar Reyes, Albie Casino, David Chua, Jaclyn Jose, Jackie Lou Blanco, Beauty Gonzalez, Natalie Hart and Manuel Chua.

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Jason Abalos, Ella Cruz, Direk Joey, Beauty Gonzalez and Albie Casino

According to Direk Joey, all cast were chosen by both him and the producers on the following criteria:

  • Availability (Consideration of Schedules)
  • Angkop (Are they fit for the part)
  • IF the producers and the director would want to work with them
Matteo, Isabel, Direk Joey, Iza and Carla
Matteo, Isabel, Direk Joey, Iza and Carla

It was really a long, interesting and enlightening conversation with Direk Joey about his new film and I would really love to share with you all his wonderful words of film-making wisdom, but for those who are not used to reading long paragraphs and actual conversation notes, I have made it easier for you so you can follow his thoughts in bullet form:

  • The idea for SOMEBODY TO LOVE was greatly influenced by the films ‘Magnolia’ (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson), ‘Nashville’ (directed by Robert Altman) and ‘Manila By Night’ (directed by Ishmael Bernal).
  • For those who haven’t watched the film yet and for those who already did, you might have noticed that the film uses split screens that sometimes show four different scenes happening at the same time in one single frame.  The movie by the way is an ensemble film similar to some of Direk Joey’s earlier works like ‘One Night Only’ but different in the sense of how the story was told and how the scenes were taken and edited.  It’s a much younger approach.
  • It is also different from the usual RomComs (Romance Comedy Films) because it does not  follow the same formula.  In RomComs, the movie starts with the STARS followed by the THEME or MUSIC and from there the STORY is built.  SOMEBODY TO LOVE started with the STORY which was written by Direk Joey himself and then the STARS were chosen on the basis mentioned above and finally as a bonus, they added some hip THEME MUSIC.  “We’re selling not only the stars but the concept of the movie itself,”  Direk Joey explained.
  • SOMEBODY TO LOVE is an anti-romantic comedy film.  Direk Joey said that it asks the questions that RomComs normally wouldn’t ask – like, Why would a woman continue to endure hardships from his husband because she sees herself as a failure for not bearing  him a child?  Would you sacrifice friendship for love?  How much shit a woman should take to prove her love for his man?  When does casual relationship (a relationship based on S#X) ends and real commitment comes in? – the movie gathers all these thought-provoking realities and a couple more, put it in a box and labels it as LOVE.
Direk Joey on the Set of Somebody To Love
Direk Joey on the Set of Somebody To Love

Discussing about movies, Direk Joey expounded on the importance of films in the life of audiences:

“Ang pelikula hindi lang dapat maging Anestisya (anaesthesia) sa buhay mo, yung manonood ka para lang makalimutan ang mga problema mo – importante sa akin na ‘pag lumabas ka ng sinehan ay may natutunan ka.  Ang pelikula ay hindi nagbibigay ng mga kasagutan, eto ay dapat nag-pro-provoke ng katanungan.  Yung pag labas mo nag-iisip ka, how does the movie relate to myself”

Direk Joey also discourages real actors to distance themselves from ‘love teams’:

“If you are gonna be an actress, you don’t get caught in a love team because you have to act individually – a good example is Bea and John Lloyd or John Lloyd and Sarah – they work well together but they were never a love team.  If you are really a good actor and a good actress you don’t need a love team but if a love team works for you that’s fine to introduce you to a market, but you have to be eventually evolved to being an actor or an actress to last in this industry.”

Direk Joey is turning 60 on October 21 and reveals to rainCHECK several dream projects that he plans to do when he gets to that age:

  • He wants to do a film project that will feature a younger version of his early 90’s comedy “Guwapings”.  He would name it as ‘Mga Anak Ng Guwapings’ and envision it to feature the original Guwapings – Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jomari Yllana and Eric Fructuoso of course as parents already and their kids (three good looking young teen actors of today).  If this happens, then that will be considered as the third part of a Guwapings Trilogy (Guwapings: The First Adventure and Guwapings Dos).
  • He wants Cinemalaya Hashtag Y writer Jeff Stelton to write one of his movies soon and prove to the public that he can handle directing a young movie.
  • He promised himself to come out with a compilation book of the Kasal, Kasali Kasalo Trilogy – yes, it’s a trilogy!  Direk Joey already finished the third part, he didn’t reveal the title yet but announces that it will not come out as a film but as part of the book he’s making.  Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo came out in 2006 followed by Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo in 2007.  He also plans to do his first novel soon.  Now that’s something that we wouldn’t want to miss.

When not directing or writing, Direk Joey can be found inside the walls of DLSU teaching and at the College of Saint Benilde as a consultant for their School of Design and Arts.  He also writes for ‘Inside Showbiz’.

“Teaching for me is my botox, I surround myself with young people and young minds –  I like to think young, you can learn a lot of things from young people.”  Direk Joey said.


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raindeocampo

Writer, Wanderer, Child of God

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