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Andre & James: Diary ng mga Pogi

Unlike Nadine Lustre and Yassi Pressman, their leading ladies in Viva Film’s Diary ng Panget The Movie (from the hit Wattpad.com story by Denny/HaveYou SeenThis Girl), Andre Paras and James Reid are relative movie greenhorns.

Although he has ventured from the hard court (he plays for UP’s Fighting Maroons) into television (appearing in the GMA noontime show Sunday All Stars and guesting in the network’s other shows), the towering (6’4” and growing) son of Benjie Paras is just having her big-screen baptism only now, several months after he signed up as a Viva talent. In Panget, Andre plays Chad Jimenez, one of the campus heartthrobs in Wilford Academy, very kind to Rhea “Eya” Rodriguez, the “panget” played by Nadine (who has done a few movies, including Star Cinema’s Who’s That Girl? and When The Love Is Gone; and TV shows like TV5’s Bagets and P.S. I Love You).

Winner of the ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash of 2010, James (who is half-Australian and half-Filipino) has done only TV shows so far (ABS-CBN’s Pintada, Good Vibes and MMK) and has released a self-titled album for Viva Records. He plays Cross Sandford, the guwapong bully, commercial model and star Athlete at the Wilford Academy where he’s the president of the Student Council, on whom Lory Keet, the half-British/half-Filipina character by Yassi (half-British/half-Filipina in real life) has a big crush.

Funfare did a one-on-two with the two pogi. Excerpts:

Since this is your first big break, how did you prepare for the movie and what are your expectations?

Andre: Since they were a big hit, I read the four books to be familiar with the story and also to get a feel of my character. Since I was chubby back then, I had to go on a diet and exercise to at least lose some baby fat on my face.

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James: Even before I got the role, I was already undergoing acting and Tagalog workshops. I also began working out at the gym seriously because my character is supposed to be a model.

Did you find it easy to identify with your characters?

Andre: It was easy because Chad is like me. Tall, witty and talkative. In the book, there are times he gives corny jokes and pulls ranks on Eya. As I red the books, I automatically knew that we have the same sense of humor. Chad is a soccer varsity while I play basketball. That’s very different and the last time I played soccer was in grade school.

James: I think that everyone has a full spectrum of characteristics and personalities within them, be it good or bad. I didn’t try to change myself; I just simplified the side of me that is Cross. Overall, the character and I are very different.

Any “puppy love” experience? How was it? How do you deal with girls swooning over you?

Andre: I’m flattered with girls who notice me. I hope I can make them happier with the work I do and give to the people.

James: Puppy love is kinda funny when you look back. Turns out you had no idea what love was when you were a kid. Girls never “swooned” over me until I moved to the Philippines. I guess I just try not to let it go to my head, hahahaha!

How do you make a girl feel that you have a crush on her? Name three crushes and why you like them.

Andre: I make her feel that I’m interested by constantly talking to her and asking her when she’s free to hang out. My three crushes: Miley Cyrus…she is not afraid to be herself and express how she feels with her music. Jennifer Lawrence…she doesn’t pretend and she is always honest with what she says. Solenn Heussaff…because she’s multi-talented; she paints, she sings, she acts and she does a lot more. I’m pretty sure that she is also smart.

James: Girls sometimes don’t pick up the hints that guys are giving them, so I guess you’ve got to just tell them straight. But, of course, you have to actually see them in person. My crushes are Heart Evangelista, Arianna Grande and Angelina Jolie.

What’s your type of girls? What’s your favorite pick-up line?

Andre: One who has a good sense of humor, smart, tall, with flawless skin and sexy. My favorite pick-up line: Paras ka ba? (Bakit?) Kasi bagay na bagay ka PARASakin.

James: One who has a killer smile and a captivating mind. I never use pick-up lines because girls won’t take you seriously. I just say how I really feel.

Between a panget girl who has a good heart and a pretty girl who has a mean heart, who would you choose?

Andre: Of course, I’d go for the one with a good heart.

James: The girl with a good heart. Personality wins over looks every time if you yourself have a good heart.

What kind of upbringing did you have? Best lessons that you got from your parents about girls.

Andre: To respect girls and their parents. Whatever happens, you have to respect the decisions of the girl’s parents as well.

James: I was born in Australia and grew up near the beach with my dad, and the only thing that he told me about girls was, “Never make someone a priority if you’re only their option.”

Give us a hint of how a girl could win your heart.

Andre: Free food and hugs are all it takes to win my heart. But seriously, a girl who puts herself first and who thinks about her career and someone who respects herself, too.

James: Sorry but you can’t win my heart so easily. I can’t explain it, but you’ve got to have “it.” And they say that there’s only one of them out there.

(Directed by Andoy Ranay from a screenplay by Mel Mendoza-del Rosario, Diary ng Panget opens nationwide on Wednesday, April 2.)

How Gurfinkel ‘saved’ the REO Brothers

Now it can be told: The REO Brothers (Ralph, Raymart, Ron and Reno) almost didn’t make it to the US where they were scheduled to perform at the #PinoyRelief Benefit Concert at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City last March 11.

You see, the brothers’ application was denied by the US Embassy in Manila. It was their first trip to the US.

They have immigration lawyer and STAR columnist Michael Gurfinkel to thank for “saving” them.

“Reasons given for the denial was that the brothers have never been out of the Philippines and they had no CD yet,” said Gurfinkel.

But Gurfinkel was able to convince the Embassy that the brothers were going to the US to help raise funds for the Yolanda victims, so they got their good-for-single-trip visa in the nick of time.

During the concert, the brothers performed with Pinoy artists Jessica Sanchez, Dante Basco, Charice and apl.de.ap, together with (among others guest performers) Jennifer Hudson and Fil-Am Oscar Best Song awardee Robert John Lopez who accompanied Charice, Jessica and Jennifer in the rendition of his winning song Let It Go.

“Before coming home,” added Gurfinkel. “The brothers took a quick trip to the West Coast and visited Las Vegas.”

It’s interesting to note that the brothers were among the Yolanda victims in Tacloban City. They lost everything but were able to save their five guitars. Formed in 2009, the REO band is performing regularly at Primos Bar, The Hub, Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City.

Bessie Badilla gets an award

Filipina Beauty Queen/Supermodel/Actress/Film Maker Bessie Badilla received the Excellence in Arts honor given by the Ma-Yi Theater Company on its 25th Anniversary Gala last March 24 at the Hudson Theater in Manhattan, New York.

The Ma-Yi Theater Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop new plays and performance works that essay Asian-American experiences.

Two other individuals were honored during the event: Ernest Escaler received the Excellence in Advocacy for the Arts, while Cao K.O. received the Excellence in Community Service.

Family and friends of Bessie were there to support her. Bessie was stunning in a Michael Cinco gown. Aside from me, among those who cheered Bessie was “beauty architect” Boots Babushka who was fabulous in his one sleeved ensemble and a pair of spiked/studded drop-dead gorgeous pumps.

— Reported by FELIX MANUEL

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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