How Raymond, Lance live up to their indie roles

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A good number of notable actors will get to display their acting skills in this year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival that kicks off on Nov. 9 and will run until Nov. 17. Among them are Raymond Bagatsing and Lance Raymundo who both star in the Sari Dalena-directed docu-drama Dahling Nick with Raymond in the title role. It is one of the nine indie films in competition under the Originals category. Lance also topbills another entry, the drama-comedy Manang Biring under director Carl Joseph Papa. 

Both Raymond and Lance admit that working on an indie project is no easy task. An indie production often entails rigid preparation.

“In TV (project), the work pace is fast because the goal is to finish about 30 to 40 sequences a day so you need to think in a short time to portray the character effectively, especially when the script is handed to you on the shooting day itself,” says Raymond on the difference of working for TV and indie. In indies, an actor needs to give his 100 percent for the role because there’s a lot of time to prepare. The script will be given a month or two in advance so there’s time to think how you will act out the role well. Aside from that, your research capability is being tested.”

Extensive research is a must for Raymond to convincingly portray the National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin in Dahling Nick. Direk Sari provided several materials for him to learn how Joaquin moves, acts and speaks. “I studied hard every material — his books, pictures to see how he dressed up, and the video of his speech at the CCP. He is not easy to portray because my personality is very far from him. His language is different; he likes to speak in Spanish so may mga ganun akong lines and he’s very Bohemian mahilig s’ya uminom at mahilig s’ya kumanta ng mga old jazz. If I am not consistent with my acting, what the audience will see is the real me and if that happens, then I failed.”

For Lance, acting for indie is harder because the directors are more intense “kasi yun talagang vision nila ang kailangang ma-meet ng artista but still you have the freedom to do what you think is best for the role.” And indies suit Lance well since he enjoys doing projects with artistic freedom. “I’m an artist at heart so I really dissect the character and I could portray it in my own way without much guidelines. As they say, indie is not so much about commercial value but more on artistic merits of the film. If it turns out a hit then it would be more like a bonus for the artists. But then mainstream (films) and indies are both fulfilling to do.”

Lance plays Ferdinand Marcos in Dahling Nick and an Ilocano doctor in Manang Biring. Both roles had Lance working hard every single day. He says that portraying the former president was more taxing “because Marcos existed in our times so people know exactly how he sounded like; alam nila ang hitsura, galaw and everything about him so the expectation is big unlike when you portray people before footages, you have the freedom to make your own interpretation kung ano ang naging galaw nila like when I played Jesus Christ no one really saw Him but with Marcos people know him kaya kailangan mas plakado. There were those who played Marcos but usually for comedy. In my case, I need to speak like Marcos in way that people will not laugh once they see the film. And I’m happy because we were able to balance everything at Take 1 lang ako meaning in one take I was able to give what direk Sari wanted for the role.”

As Ilocano doctor, Lance was able to understand his dialogues by hiring a tutor who taught him the meaning and correct pronunciation of every Ilocano word. “That way, I was able to bring out the right emotions for the situation based on the lines. For one month, I just stayed at home and studied the dialect.”

Lance also stars in the drama-comedy entry Manang Biring with Erlinda Villalobos as the title role.

Aside from giving life to Joaquin, Raymond also wore prosthetics to play some of the famous characters in Joaquin’s short stories. “I like portraying Don Badong in May Day Eve because you can see the transformation from his late 20s to 65; you can see the changes in a man as he ages, gustong-gusto ko yung puso doon. Then I also love the character of a monk in Legend of the Virgin’s Jewel.”

Dahling Nick is Raymond’s return to indie after a temporary hiatus from the big screen. He was confined to doing teleseryes, with Baker King as his most recent TV outing, when he flew back to Manila from abroad. Working in front of the cameras again has brought back the excitement in him to accept several acting projects without putting at risk the quality of his performance.

“I guess, it is now important to me to do roles that I haven’t done before or the types that would challenge more my being an actor,” Raymond shares. “Dahling Nick really tested my (acting) ability -— on how I will be able to lose myself into the character.”

He adds, “I asked direk Sari why she chose me for the role and she said, ‘because you are interested in the unseen.’ It means after reading the script, I get to act out the part without them expecting it and it is a good addition to the character. But given that I will play as Nick Joaquin, I didn’t accept it na super confident ako so I just hope to meet people’s expectations at hindi ako mapahiya.”

Other films in competition are Baka, Siguro, Kaya; Bukod Kang Pinagpala; Dayang Asu; Hamog; Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso; Miss Bulalacao; and The Comeback.

This year’s Cinema One Originals Filmfest will be screened at Trinoma, Greenbelt, Resorts World Manila and SM Megamall.













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