Rant series mirrors the typical Pinoy family – cursing and all

Vanessa A. Balbuena (The Freeman) - April 12, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  In what now seems to be the norm with every Darryl Yap project, comments of being distasteful and offensive were once again hurled at his latest release, this time, a family comedy that’s based on his viral online rant series.

One of the posters for “Kung Pwede Lang” – now streaming on Vivamax – had one character posing with a dirty finger. Defenders of morals and correctness were, per usual, up in arms.

For the young director’s frequent collaborator, Rosanna Roces, she wondered aloud why some quarters felt slighted that two nurses were portrayed nude in Yap’s movie “Tililing,” yet were unbothered that in the Hollywood horror hit “The Nun,” the demon Valak is dressed in full nun regalia.

“But as Direk Daryll always says, hayaan mo sila dahil bash equals cash,” said Rosanna, whom the writer-filmmaker fondly calls Mama O.

“Kung Pwede Lang,” from Yap’s Vincentiments on Facebook and YouTube which has 320 million views to date, follows the Pantings, a close-knit family full of life but more of life’s hassles and troubles, especially to Precious (Carlyn Ocampo), the middle child, breadwinner, and “Yes Girl” of the family who is too kind to say no to anything they ask of her.

Precious’ family is Princess (Rosanna), the problematic mother; Paquito (Dennis Padilla), the gambler father; Lola Baby (Dexter Doria), the hot-tempered grandmother; Prince (Bob Jbeili), the unemployed eldest brother; and Penelope (Loren Mariñas), the youngest sister. They all have their own troubles with work, annoying neighbors, money and life in general.

The eight-episode series lets us into the minds and frustrations of Precious and the whole family, just like the online series that many found highly relatable, and thus always struck up banter among viewers. Now with the full “Kung Pwede Lang” series, viewers will see more characters and situations they can identify with, laugh or cry along to.

After the consecutive successful release of his two movies, “Paglaki Ko Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar” and “Tililing,” Yap is definitely on a roll this year as he released another Vivamax Original, “Kung Pwede Lang.” This stars Carlyn Ocampo, member of international girl group Z-Girls, and Rosanna, fresh from the movie “Paglaki Ko Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar.”

“As a ‘90s kid, I grew up watching ABS-CBN teleseryes. One of my dreams actually is to come up with a teleserye,” Yap shared during a recent digital conference. “Pinayagan naman ako ng Viva to have a playground where I can create a teleserye-type but rooted to my film battle-cry na sobrang normal ang pagsasalita, everyday scenario of a normal Filipino family. I always say ang bentahe ng lahat ng aking gawa ay patungkol sa kung ano ang araw-araw nating nararanasan. This is the story of every normal Filipino imperfect family. That’s what I’m trying to convey.”

The genre may be comedy, but Rosanna said mothers might find themselves emotional at her rant scenes. “Kasi totoo lahat ng sinasabi niya. Hindi ko rin alam saan pinagkukuha ni Direk yun dahil hindi naman siya nanay. It’s a dysfunctional family, but at the end of the day, it’s their love for another that binds them,” said the actress, who has also been on a roll during the pandemic with one project after the other. During the Zoom call, she was speaking from the set of Joel Lamangan’s “Ang Huling Baklang Birhen.” She also just wrapped up filming for the Sharon Cuneta-starrer “Revirginized,” also helmed by Yap. She is next waiting to reunite with Yap for “Pornstar 2” that will add to the cast Gardo Versoza and Leandro Baldemor.

Asked why Rosanna is her go-to actress, Yap explained, “Sinabi ko na sa kanya, ‘Pornstar’ pa lang, it’s really a dream to work with her. Gustong-gusto ko talaga siya sa ‘Babae sa Bintana.’ I really wanted to work with her. Tapos napapakiusapan naman sa schedule. Every day is sunshine working with her. I don’t have to give strenuous instructions or go out of my way.”

“I’m a very chill director. I really don’t stress people around me. And Rosanna gives that vibe as well. Magaan katrabaho and matalino. Yan ang request ko sa Viva lagi eh. Bigyan niyo ako kahit sino, gusto ko sana matalino kasi yan ang pinakamabilis katrabaho. More than magaling, matalino talaga.”

For this series, Yap said he wanted all members of a family, especially in this time of a pandemic and other crises, to have their voices heard.

“Hindi lang yung kwento ng buhay nila kung hindi yung kanilang masasabi sa lipunan ngayon bilang anak, Kuya, Ate, lolo, lola, asawa, bilang nanay at tatay. That’s the core of the story – yung opinion at saloobin ng bawat myembro ng pamilya patungkol sa kamilang pamilya at sa buong lipunan,” he said.

The dialogue has plenty of expletives, not typical in a Filipino family series. As Carlyn has never cursed in real life and came from a K-pop background where a clean image is paramount, this was a huge adjustment for her. But she eventually understood when Viva bosses explained that it was just a role.

“Personally hindi ako palamura. First time ko magmura sa palabas. I felt pressure at first kasi hindi rin ako sumisigaw. As a singer, I just use my diaphragm, I avoid using my throat. Pero pagdating dito, sabi nga nila nag-transform daw talaga ako, and I’m glad that I got to experience it,” the Z Girls member said.

Loren’s theater background and frequent collaborations with Yap prepared her for daring scenes and dirty lines. “And the script totoo naman talaga. Hindi maiiwasan, eto na tayo ngayon. Normal sa nakakarami. And nagpapakatotoo lang tayo sa ‘Kung Pwede Lang,” said the viral actress.

As for Bob, a former “Mr. Pogi” contender,” cursing up a storm on screen felt freeing for him.

You wouldn’t expect it, but Rosanna had moments were she was uneasy to drop her lines. “Kung ano yung nasa script, yun yung binibigay ko,” she said. “Sometimes you’re not comfortable pero matatawa ka na lang kasi kapag sinabi niya how to deliver, tulad nung ‘P****g I*a, God is good’ Tawang-tawa talaga ako. Nagmura pero may God is good!”

It helped that Yap was also the writer in cases when actor was really not amenable with a line or a scene. He also utilized the actors’ talents by weaving them into the story. “With the orientation and the story conference, I always open my bank of creativity to them. I always say to them that I’m very collaborative. I don’t often adjust kasi ang puhunan ng creativity ko, yung capacity nila bilang artista. Just like with Bob, alam ko kasing voice talent siya so alam ko na paano isusulat. Papakinabangan natin yung pagiging voice talent mo. Same with Carlyn who is a singer-dancer.”

With the seasoned actors, I adjust to them when it comes to their methods, procedure and how to attack a certain scene. I respect that because of their experience. The best way to handle creative differences, for me, is to discuss at the very beginning of the production.”

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