Zombadings Update!

"Ayus, a. Beinte-uno ka na sa pecha abeinte-uno,"  sabi kay Remington ng kainuman niya sa isang eksena sa Zombadings1: Patayin sa shokot si Remington.

On its 4th week sa September 21, nasa 21 theaters pa rin ang ZOMBADINGS 1: PATAYIN SA SHOKOT SI REMINGTON!

1. SM Manila; 2. SM Centerpoint; 3. SM North EDSA; 4. SM Fairview; 5. SM Megamall; 6. SM Mall of Asia; 7. SM Southmall; 8. SM Novaliches; 9. Gateway; 10. Robinsons Galleria; 11. Glorietta; 12.Trinoma; 13. Festival Mall; 14. Lianas Alabang; 15. Lianas Pasig; 16. Gotesco Grand Central; 17. Gotesco Ortigas; 18. Lyric Vigan; 19. JTC Vigan; 20. Sunstar Theater Sta. Cruz, Laguna; and, 21. Silverscreen Ozamis.

It's just unfortunate that we cannot enjoy the same privilege here in Davao. ZOMBADINGS 1 IS A GREAT MOVIE. I don't mind seeing it again. In fact, I would buy a copy once the DVD is out in the market. I am pretty sure everyone who has seen this flick will agree with me that the good laugh is worth more than the what they paid for.

To those who had apprehensions about the movie subject, sorry na lang kayo. Your biases got the better of you. The movie is all about respect towards the homosexuals (and anyone else for that matter) but told in a comedic way. If you, by any chance, do catch it, you'd probably see yourself in it as one of the "haters" maybe because you have a skeleton to hide in the depths of your closet. Tandaan, may pamatay na "Gaydar" sa paligid.

I met Raymond Lee, the director Jade Castro and two of the cast, Remington himself, Martin Escudero, and his love interest Lauren Young (both of the young actors were brilliant in the movie!), during the premier of their movie in SM Davao.

Director Jade Castro, Lauren Young, Martin Escudero aka Remington & writer Raymond Lee

Raymond, I cornered and graciously agreed to a Q&A exchange over email.

How did you come up with the story? Was it an adaptation? It was "Drag Me To Hell" with a very gay tone to me. :-)

I love Drag Me To Hell! But no, it's not an adaptation. The idea for the movie was born one lazy morning in Lucban, Quezon where I was vacationing close to 2 years ago. A young boy - about 5 or 6 years old - passed me by and said, "Bakla!"

I was taken aback. I knew Lucban to be a very gay-friendly place, but here was this kid, innocent and yet the tone of derision in his "Bakla!" was unmistakeable. That got me to thinking... and that same afternoon I told Jade, "I have an idea for a movie."

When writing the gay lines, did you think the actor would have a hard time flowing through the words and make the character convincing?

Haha, I like giving the actors a hard time! Seriously. Kaya nila, e. And the good ones like the challenge. 

Regarding the gayspeak dialogue, I had to ask my student Hyro Aguinaldo for help in updating the lingo. It changes that fast, that often, and is frequently distinct to particular clusters, geography and social class among the defining factors. So in terms of difficulty, we needed it to be complex and layered and timely to make the character transformation (of Remington) realistic and utterly believable.

How was the cast chosen?

Very, very carefully! I was also casting director for the film. Basically it was Jade and I who chose the final cast. I handpicked up to the extras, especially those with speaking lines.

Eugene Domingo was easy. I love her as an actor and she is also a friend.

With Janice and Roderick I got in touch with their managers and sent them (the actors) the script. They loved it and signed on.

Was Martin Escudero identified for the Remington role or was there an audition? He was very good in the movie, very convincing, Lauren Young as well, they were very natural.

Martin, Lauren, and Kerbie (Zamora, who played Jigs) all auditioned for the role. I was shocked at how good Martin was at comedy. I remember thinking, Bakit kaya hindi pa siya naca-cast sa comedy? Lauren was love at first take (of her audition) for both me and Jade Castro, our director. You're right; sa audition pa lang napaka-natural na niya. No false notes, and very confident. Kerbie exuded the right attitude and had the perfect look so it was also very easy choosing him to play Remington's best friend.

Any apprehensions that the movie won't be as accepted as it should be with the gay theme?

Wala naman. I think maswerte tayo dito sa atin (sa Pilipinas). Gay culture is hardly a subculture - like it is in other countries - but is actually part of the mainstream.

Did you work on a budget? 

Oh yes. Mahirap kasi on location - in Lucban, Quezon - ang 95% of the shoot, malaki ang cast, maraming technical requirements up to post-production. But we managed. It's our biggest budgeted movie so far pero matipid pa rin kami.

If so, how were you able to cast the big names- Roderick, Janice, Eugene, etc?

They all worked for a very, very, very small fee. I guess they loved the project right from the start. 

Si John Regala accepted the project and agreed to the low (relative to his other projects) talent fee as soon as he heard what the ending of his character was going to be! He fell in love with it - hindi pa kasi niya nagagawa noon. And I thought, wow, THIS is an actor! Importante sa kanya above all ang role, ang challenge. 

With Eugene, ang added plus is she loves us. Origin8 Media (our company) ang nag-market and distribute ng Kimmy Dora two years ago. Dun kami naging friends with Eugene. One of the senior actors on the cast actually donated their fee. Can't reveal who, though.

There will be a part 2 for sure. Can you give us an idea where the story will evolve?

Sana nga meron! Wala pang concept, we will brainstorm muna.

With the success of this movie, I am pretty sure there will be a sequel that might lead to another, and probably have three prequels just like the Star Wars saga. And speaking of Star Wars, Jessica Zafra did a fantastic commentary on the success of this budget film against the film giants...... sana on the line of Darna and the Giants din.

Check this out:  http://www.jessicarulestheuniverse.com/2011/09/15/a-new-hope-rebels-strike-at-the-imperial-death-star-cinema/