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Classic book meets zombies

Saturday, 06 February 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

Pride and Prejudice, the classic novel by Jane Austen published in 1813, has frequently been adapted into film (the first one came out in 1940, starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson), TV series (the most popular being the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), and even on YouTube (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries).  In terms of literature, it has also inspired a number of reinterpretations, one of which is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, published in April 2009.  Just a few days after its publication, the book was already number three on New York Times bestseller list.  
In writing this zombie novel, Grahame-Smith said he “didn’t want to mess with Jane Austen’s overall structure, because it’s a masterpiece.”  Crediting Austen as co-author, he  remained faithful to the depiction of the characters.   Elizabeth Bennet is the ever rational sister of Jane, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, who speaks the truth from her heart. Mr. Darcy is the moneyed and arrogant man who comes into their town and affects Elizabeth in a way that no man has ever done before.  
But the big difference in Grahame-Smith’s story is that these two characters have a lot more to worry about than their verbal disputes. A mysterious plague has fallen upon the village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life. Worse, they’re on the hunt for human flesh. Now it’s up to the “sharp-tongued, sharp-daggered, and fiercely independent heroine” and the “pompous and privileged (zombie) slayer”  to unite on the blood-soaked battlefield and rid their land of the zombie menace.  And while at it, would they dare acknowledge their feelings for each other?
As early as February 2009, there were already talks of turning this into a blockbuster film. Natalie Portman was originally cast in the lead role, but she decided to be a co-producer instead. In 2013, Lily James got on board as Elizabeth.  She admitted to have been instantly fascinated with the “really brilliant and funny” script. “Actually, within the first opening sequence where Darcy sort of gallops up on the horse and gets stripped down and all that stuff,” she elaborated.  
Sam Riley, who plays Mr. Darcy, revealed that they were “not given the luxury of three months” to train for the action scenes (it being a lower-budget movie compared to the usual Hollywood action movies, according to producer Allison Shearmur who estimated the budget at between $10 and $20 million), but their training had been intensive.  “We’ve had to do it all quickly. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.  
Directed by Burr Steers (17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies distributed by Viva International Pictures and MVP Entertainment. It opened in Philippine theaters on Feb. 5, which is the same theatrical release in the US.  

Sources:  Lev Grossman of Time.com; Kat Ward (Pride and Prejudice-inspired movies, books, TV shows) of ew.com, Ben Mortimer (“From the Set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) of comingsoon.net; Wikipedia.

Love is a riot

Saturday, 06 February 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

From Regal Entertainment, Inc., makers of the highly successful rom-com movie The PreNup and the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) blockbuster Haunted Mansion, comes this year’s most riotous love story, Love is Blind, which explodes on the big screen starting Feb. 10.
LIB is a must-see movie come Valentine season as it grants everyone hope to love and be loved aside from the fact that it offers wacky romantic situations involving main cast Derek Ramsay, Solenn Heussaff, Kean Cipriano and Kiray Celis.
In LIB, Wade (Derek) is a spoiled bachelor, who turns his back on sassy girlfriend Maggie (Solenn Heussaff) when he meets Fe (Kiray), a hotel intern who looks so much like his ex-girlfriend.
Unknown to Wade, Fe’s secret weapon is a love potion, which transforms her into Maggie’s character every time she and Wade meet.
The storyline is so ticklish and the scenes so zany in that its full trailer immediately got the audience’s thumbs up after its launch on Regal’s social media accounts.
In a week, it went past a total of one million views and likes.
Love is Blind pairs off real-life ex-lovers Derek and Solenn in a movie for the first time. The movie also serves as the biggest break of Kiray Celis, who is now dubbed as the female version of late comedian Rene Requiestas.
Surprisingly, Derek and Kiray display a unique brand of chemistry on the big screen. As Derek proudly says via an Instagram post, Kiray is the hottest leading lady he has ever have, toppling the likes of screen sirens Anne Curtis, Cristine Reyes and Andi Eigenmann.
Love is Blind is under the direction of award-winning director Paul Jason Laxamana, who gave moviegoers such films as Babagwa (Cinemalaya), Astro Mayabang (Cinema One Originals) and Magkakabaung.
Join Derek Solenn, Kean and Kiray as they spread laughter, love and happiness via Love is Blind in cinemas nationwide Feb. 10.

Two decades of Jericho Rosales

Saturday, 06 February 2016 00:00 Published in Life Style

“When you fall, you really feel the falling down; that is a realization for me. The lessons from that fall, ‘yun ang what gives me strength.”

He started out winning the Mr. Pogi contest of long-running noontime show Eat..Bulaga! A lanky frame and curly hair revealed his youth, but even then, Jericho Rosales could charm with his eyes. The guy had undeniable charisma and a contagious energy.
Drama soon became his world, as expected, in both television and film. He proved himself an actor with a potent combination of truthfulness and emotional commitment. This was most evident when he portrayed Angelo Buenavista in the original Pangako Sa ‘Yo and Christian Soriano in Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas, his earlier television lead parts.
In movies, he was effecrive as the troubled young man Rommel in Tanging Yaman; Lieutenant Ricarte, the soldier fighting for dear life and country in Bagong Buwan; the bewildered father Robert Lim who lost his son in Alagwa; and recently as Ethan, Mia’s one true North, in Walang Forever.
When Jericho gives life to a character, he effortlessly draws the viewer in. We are seduced by the emotions he manages to convey in subtle ways — voice cracking, heavy sighs, tormented whispers or welling tears. Our emotions are reined in.
Jericho — or Echo, as he is sometimes called — now celebrates two decades in Tinseltown. In honor of this milestone, Star Studio, the official magazine of his home network ABS-CBN, put him on the February cover. In this issue, readers get a peek into his home, his relationship with wife Kim Jones and also Rosales’ son Santino.
“Man, I’m getting old! I already have gray hair. I don’t mind it though,” Jericho exclaimed as he sat down with media recently. “The 20 years that passed, the best thing about it...hindi siya feeling 20 years, ang bigat at ang bagal. It’s like, ah, 20 years, that was fast!”
The years, however, had been full for the actor. Readers will definitely be inspired by Jericho’s life, from his struggles to his successes, and how he found peace, love and contentment in his life.
Jericho says he was at first hesitant about doing the cover for the magazine. “Never ko talagang gustong ibigay ‘yung feature tungkol sa buhay. Uncomfortable kasi ako, but they (the magazine) presented to me a concept that was too difficult to resist because it was, like, they are presenting my life as kind of a Cinderella man story — that my life is a inspiring story. And that part, I really liked.
“Then they told me they also wanted to feature Kim. Sabi ko, patay! Kim is also a very private person, so I have to ask her. When I presented the concept of a magazine shoot, she had no hesitations. All she said was ‘I am so proud of you; let’s do it.’ She was excited. Kailan daw ba ang photo shoot?”
“I thought Kim was the last of the lambing. Then Tinna (Bonifacio, Star Studio’s senior editor) requested if they could also feature my son, Santino. After her query, niyakap niya ako, mahigpit na mahigpit,” Echo recollected. “Of course, tinanong ko muna si Santino and his mom kung papayag sila. To my surprise, they also said yes. Everything fell into place. Magaan ang lahat. So I knew that it was the right time. ‘I should do this. This is the most opportune time to do this.’”

Women and son
With uncharacteristic openness, Jericho also opened up recently about the affairs of his heart — adamant at first, laughing nervously. He eventually warmed up, revealing, “When I fall in love, I go for broke. Intense is the right word to describe when I am in love, especially during my younger days. The funny thing here is, let me share a story. There was a time that Kim and I had a discussion to discuss our past loves. Diyahe kasi when I was nearing the tenth, I was so dead-tired already. While my wife only had two, her first and then it was already me, hindi ba nakakahiya?,” said Rosales.
Gamely, Jericho shared bits of memory about the girls he had loved before.
On Angelika dela Cruz: “We were both very young. Grabe! Baliw kami. That was, like, umaakyat ako bakod ng house niya sa Malabon just to see her. I took the trike, the jeepney, ganun, just to be with her.”
On Kristine Hermosa: “Timeless. I remember a phone conversation I had with my manager. I told him, in a lengthy phone conversation, ‘In-love na ko sa kanya.’ We were already a love team that time pero all we did was fight. We were like aso’t pusa.”
On Cindy Kurleto, Echo guffawed uncomfortably at first, then admitted: “What can I say? I don’t know what to say. Si Cindy kasi noong time na ‘yun, naku, may mga Echo-Tin yata rito. Whew! Siya ‘yung pinagselosan.”
On Vanessa del Bianco: “Is there truth to this choice? No, we were friends. She was my crush, but I did not have the guts to pursue her.”
On Heart Evangelista, “She was my longest relationship. It was for three years. With Heart, sa komiks ‘di ba may Wakasan, si Heart, di ba, wasakan! Wala na namang issue, ‘di ba? It was just really so intense and passionate.”
And the last woman, before his wife Kim Jones, Cheska Litton: “She was the girl who made me realize the value of a woman; she was my awakening.”
A past relationship also gave him a son, 15-year-old son Santino, who is a soccer player and currently studies at the Colegio San Agustin.
“I am proud of him,” Echo’s beamed. “He is a natural. We shot him in his comfort zone — we were in a soccer area. In 30 minutes, he was done with the shoot.”
His son, he added, has not said anything about having a relationship. “I admit that Santino is more guapo; sa akin na lang ang dating,” he joked, adding, “He is a very responsible kid. He loves his mom so much and alam niya that love or romance can wait; it is not his priority. ‘Di raw muna siya mag-gi-girlfriend hanggang ‘di niya pa natatapos ang mga gusto niyang gawin. So, I find that very honorable. He really loves us. In case the time finally comes that he seeks advice about women, I will tell him to respect them and try his best not to hurt them.”
 
Career peaks and valleys
Jericho Rosales’ career nowadays is best described as bullish. Proof of this, Walang Forever, the movie he starred in with Jennylyn Mercado, was among the four top-grossing entries in the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival.
When they were doing Walang Forever, Jericho said, he did not think about how it would do at the box-office or if viewers would be able to relate so much with the characters Ethan and Mia.
“As we were shooting it,” he recalled, “we all loved the film and personally, I loved giving life to Ethan. Middle of the shoot, that was the only time when I had that inkling that people might fall in love with Ethan and Mia. We were already seeing the playbacks and there was already this kilig, We were excited. Jen and I made Ethan and Mia so believable because we really liked the story. During the preview, we were all blown away kasi ang ganda nung finished film. And those who had seen it, they started saying good things. Tapos nung pinalabas na siya, grabe ang word of mouth. The feedback was universal — the audiences loved it.”
Still ecstatic, Jericho exclaimed, “To me, jackpot talaga. This is the type of movie that I like doing.”
“Doing Ethan was difficult for me because for the longest time, my comfort zone was doing heavy and intense dramas.” Rosales sayid “Being a flirt again, bringing back my naughty and pilyo side, it was not easy. I had to go back to that time, kasi hindi na ako naughty eh. Sa wife ko na lang. I am a changed man. Marami na akong tinalikurang ways. May mga bagay na tinalikuran ko na pero for the film, I had to go back to the old Echo para maging totoo siya.”
He shared, “We had a scene, an intimate scene. I could not even look at Jen. I could not even kiss her. I froze. Tinamaan ako ng hiya. I was overthinking the scene. So what our director Dan Villegas did, he called for a break and talked to me. When I explained to him my anxieties, he did not force me to do the scene. It took me more than 45 minutes to prep myself up, to immerse myself and do it. Siguro naka-limang take kami bago ko nagawa, bago ko na-perfect.”
And how does he deal with failure? After a pause, he replied, “The best part of my career — the falling down and how I get up. When you fall, you really feel the falling down; that is a realization for me. The lessons from that fall, ‘yun ang what gives me strength. I know it’s just a season. I know the bad times make the good days even better. So when I go back to the time when I failed, there are no regrets. I charge it to experience and learn from it. It makes me a stronger person. I believe in seasons. There is a season that your career will dip, but eventually it will move up again. Hindi puwedeng mataas palagi. I really try to enjoy moments na andun ka,” Rosales expounds,
He added: “I go with the flow, I now have a better understanding and appreciation of my life stages. I’ve done everything in my career — love team path, the matinee idol, heartthrob and hunk phase.... you know. I force myself to evolve as an actor and performer. I have no problems accepting my age. As an actor, may competitive spirit ako. I have my own skills and abilities, but I am never content with what I have. I always improve them. The things that I don’t know, I learn them. Learning, observing and loving what I do, these are the constants in my career.”
By this month, Jericho is set to have a story conference for a drama that will involve kids and animation in an earlier primetime slot.
In the middle of the year, there is another mammoth drama that will involve a lot of water, a wallop of a love story and an unforgettable pop anthem. He is all set to do an independent film, a mainstream motion picture fare and, hopefully, another MMFF entry.
When he turns 40, he wants to be the man behind the cameras, either as a director or producer.
As for the arrival of little Kims or mini Echos, Rosales brightened up: “I don’t know when exactly. Our plan was to have them in two years. We are in our second year now.”

Read more about Jericho in StarStudio magazine, available in leading bookstores and newstands nationwide.
 

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