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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

‘Maid in Malacanang’ director Darryl Yap: I don’t think people are responding to boycott calls; claims 63M gross on 3 days

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Notwithstanding the negative buzz and allegations of historical distortion, cast members of this year’s most controversial film “Maid in Malacanang” stood firm on their movie.

Diego Loyzaga, Ruffa Gutierrez, Cristine Reyes, Cesar Montano, Ella Cruz, and Karla Estrada held a media conference Saturday at Bai Hotel, along with the film’s director Darryl Yap, and creative producer Senator Imee Marcos.

The film is based on the Marcos’ story of what happened in their last 72 hours in Malacanang before moving to Hawaii during the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Although the cast is faced with criticisms from the Filipinos for accepting such controversial roles, actor Cesar Montano feels privileged to be a part of the movie.

“It is a great honor to me to be able to do this, the same as doing Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio,” said Cesar Montano who portrays the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

“It’s a great challenge for me. I wanted to be very careful about it. I want to give justice to the role,” he said.

Cesar also shared that when the role was offered to him, he was given only less than seven days to prepare unlike his seven months for his award-winning Jose Rizal portrayal.

“Buti nalang social media is there to access all the videos and photos of the former president, at tsaka inabot ko naman siya in the ‘80s,” he said.

“Andami ko nang napapanood na impersonators na ginagaya ang president, but I don’t want to do that. Sabi ko nga I’m not here to impersonate 100 percent our former president. It’s a great challenge for me, I want to be very careful about it. I want to give justice to the role.”

Cesar received negative feedback for allegedly tolerating falsehood and jumping to the opposite side after he was critically acclaimed for his previous roles.

Ella, who plays Irene Marcos, also had her fair share of rude comments following her viral statement, “History is like tsismis.” Among them, Ella has been the most pilloried cast member on social media.

According to the young actress, playing Irene Marcos is a challenge for her since their personalities are different. She was also denied the opportunity to meet Irene personally because during their shoot, the Marcos sibling was Covid positive.

“Research po ang ginawa ko, naghanap po ako ng mga videos sa YouTube ni Miss Irene. Medyo mahirap kasi konti lang yung videos niya. Mas marami yong recent. Wala yong ‘90s and ‘80s. Meron lang akong nakitang interview niya tapos pinanood ko, pinag-aralan paano siya magsalita,” said Ella.

She is grateful for the Marcos fans who tagged her on Tiktok videos of Irene because it helped in her portryal.

Ruffa also shared that she earned hate for her character as former first lady, Imelda Marcos.

“Slighty na-bash ako, but for a controversial film like this, it’s expected. Ang importante Nosi Ba Lasi, huwag na nating pansinin,” she said.

She also praised Direk Darryl and Senator Imee for imparting new learnings upon her.

“Hopefully this won’t be the last time that I’ll be working with them. Sana kasama din ako sa part 2 and part 3. Sana hindi pa patayin si Madam (Imelda Marcos) kasi in real life buhay pa siya,” said Ruffa, earning chuckles for her remark.

On the allegations that the film is trying to falsify the accounts of the past, the cast said that those who have yet to watch the film do not have the right to judge it yet.

“I think maraming beses nang nasabi ito. No, wala po kaming babaguhin, meron lang idadagdag na side naman ng pamilyang Marcos na wala namang ibang makakaalam kundi sila lang sa loob ng Malacanang sa huling 72 hours nila doon. We’re not changing anything, we’re simply adding to what is already there,” said Diego, who plays Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Ruffa added, “Most of my friends who watched, talagang they really feel that it’s a family drama. Kung anong nararanasan ng isang pamilya going through a crisis, that’s what they saw. Tungkol sa history and all of that, I really don’t want to answer that because it’s up to the viewers to decide, not for me.”

As for Cristine Reyes who was chosen by Viva films to play Senator Imee, it is important to avoid giving interpretations prior to watching the movie.

“This film is a family drama, and surviving a crisis. So about the history, it came from people who judged the film right away even if hindi pa namin nagagawa. So para sakin huwag tayong masyadong manghusga, alamin muna natin,” said Cristine.

Karla, who portrays one of three central maids in Malacanang, also gave her comment on the matter, saying, “Panoorin  muna natin. Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon na maikwento naman sa atin ng pamilyang Marcos, specifically from our beloved Senator Imee. Siya kasi ang nandoon, so siya lang ang may karapatang magsabi kung ano ba talaga ang tunay na nangyari.”

Direk Darryl, meanwhile, remains unbothered with calls to boycott his film.  He denies accusations that his work is based on lies told by Senator Imee to refurbish the political image of the Marcoses.

People have been calling out Senator Imee for allegedly attempting to alter Filipino’s knowledge of the past after a viral photo from the film showed a lady in yellow (Gisele Sanchez) playing mahjong with nuns. The Senator, however, stands firm that the movie is a work of truth.

Earlier, the Carmelite nuns of Cebu issued a statement on the movie’s mahjong scene saying that although the nuns in the film are not wearing brown, it is easy to deduce that is referring to them because they were the ones who provided shelter to Cory Aquino during the 1986 EDSA revolution in 1986.

The sisters said that the director did not contact them to verify the legitimacy of the scene. They said that depicting the nuns playing mahjong with former President Cory is malicious. That scene also urged a bishop from San Carlos, Negros Occidental to call for a boycott of the film, saying that it is “shameless”.

“The producer, scriptwriter, director and those promoting this movie should apologize to the Carmelite nuns, to President Cory Aquino’s family, and to the Filipino People,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.

Direk Daryll maintained that he finds no need to say sorry. “For the people asking for boycott and sorry, for those waiting for me to apologize to them, I’m sorry but I can’t apologize for the hurt that was taken voluntarily.”

He said that playing mahjong does not show bad behavior of the nuns and Cory. No disrespect was intended, and he simply wants people to view it as their form of pasttime.

The filmmaker’s reference to the mahjong scene is the article written by Anne Nelson titled “In Grotto of the Pink Sisters” that was published in the January 1986 issue of Mother Jones Magazine.

The American journalist responded that Direk Daryll interpreted his article incorrectly.

“I stand by my judgement bilang taga basa, sa aking interpretasyon na sa isang paragraph o nasa isang pahina lang ang pangalan ni President Cory, close sa isang Chinese nun na exposed at madalas na nagma-majhong, parang it goes without saying and I stand by it,” he said.

Although many felt offended, Direk Daryll said that they have earned enough support from audiences.

He claims the movie has already earned P63 million pesos in three days following its August 3 release.

“I don’t think people, naririnig nila ang pag-boycott,” he said.

According to him, there is a possibility of a second movie if “Maid in Malacanang” reaches its target gross since the movie is meant to be a trilogy when he pitched it to Viva Films. - Syril Gemida, CNU Intern

MAID IN MALACAñANG

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