Bringing back the glory days of Bagets

Bot Glorioso (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines - No one says it’s easy. Translating Bagets into a TV series is one Herculean task that TV5 gladly takes on its shoulders in partnership with Viva Entertainment, the producer of the ’80s movie that served as the bible of the country’s youth-oriented shows.

“It’s a big endeavor for us. Even at the time when we were still ABC5, there came out the news that some networks were interested in doing the remake of Bagets and when I read it, I told myself, ‘Wow, whoever does it sobrang laki ng pressure, sobrang laki ng project ‘pag ginawa’,” says TV5 Creative and Entertainment head Perci Intalan. “Little did I know that TV5 will get the honor of working with Viva. The reason we’re confident that we can mount this show really well is the people behind the original are with us. We did just not buy the title but we are also working with Viva. It is such an iconic movie at ayaw din naman namin na mapahiya.”

Thus, Viva took charge in picking out the best production team to work behind the show. Director Mark Reyes, who handled such teen-oriented TV shows as T.G.I.S. and Growing Up in the ’90s, is assigned to lead the project. He shares that the minute Viva top honcho Vic del Rosario Jr. informed him of the details of the remake, he was enveloped with mixed feelings.

“I felt excited and scared. Honestly, the difficult part is all (the present members of the cast) are neophytes when it comes to acting. But they are all eager to learn and they are learning quickly like all kids are,” offers direk Mark after the show’s special screening held at the Podium’s Cinema 2.

Director Mark Reyes — VER PAULINO

“What scares us is, and certainly the reason why all are really focused on what we’re doing, because of the legacy of Bagets especially for my generation and the generation before me. It’s something like a holy grail of teen-oriented movies. It became a cultural phenomenon.”

He adds only T.G.I.S., bias aside, was able to half equate what Bagets did. Then, there came other teen shows but nothing struck a chord like the way Bagets did. Hence, when direk Mark was offered to do the remake, he right away gave his nod, confident enough that TV5 and Viva are behind him.

Beginning today at 4:30, televiewers will see how the new cast, which includes AJ Muhlach, Nadine Lustre, Josh Padilla, Aki Torio, Johan Lourens, Shy Carlos, Rico dela Paz, Eula Caballero and Meg Imperial, plunges into their characters effectively. All play crucial parts in the story that revolves around individuals coming from different backgrounds and co-existing in a campus despite their different social status and clashing personalities.

Having enjoyed the pilot episode in a special screening which lasted for over an hour, I can say that direk Mark has already proven the project’s worth and lived up to the expectation of bringing back the glory days of Bagets on TV. He has also put two original cast, Raymond Lauchengco and Cheska Iñigo, in roles that indubitably add excitement and color to the show.

The remake mirrors the typical life — home, school, barkada, fun and a little heartache — teenagers lead these days. Nothing is superficial and every scene captures the interest of the viewers.

The cast, in the first episode titled The Start of Something Big, was equally given a fair share of acting spotlight. They, too, coined some words amusing to the ears. How would you react when you hear “powder puff girls,” short for those girls who love putting on makeup? Or what about “sexual tension,” which means members of the opposite sex who argue when they meet?

The original Bagets (clockwise, from top left) Raymond Lauchengco, William Martinez, JC Bonnin, Aga Muhlach and Herbert Bautista

“I think if the kids watch this more and they get to know the characters, the storylines, they will enjoy this not just as a TV show but maybe the next group that they can idolize,” the director opines.

What’s good about the latest Bagets group is that everyone is careful in his every action, aware that today’s generation may look up to them as role models. Thus, direk Mark allows his stars to go home ahead of taping schedule for the next day’s school exams. He reminds them that whatever one does, it automatically reflects on another because Bagets “is a team.”

When asked about his directorial style on the Bagets set, direk Mark answers, “It’s different from how I handled the likes of Bobby Andrews, I thought it would be a headache directing them (neophytes) but I was wrong. They are obedient and all listen well to my instructions.”

Did he require the cast to watch the original version?

“I wanted them to watch it after we’ve worked because I didn’t want them to stereotype the original. I only allowed them to watch when they already have the sense of their characters.”

After taping the pilot, could he say they can equal if not surpass the original?

“Every day is a working experience. There will come a time that all of them will be used to acting, it’s up to them on how they become the icons like Aga Muhlach, Francis Magalona or Herbert Bautista. Ang pagsikat for me is part destiny, part want ng tao.”

Bagets airs Sundays after Paparazzi.

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