Saturday, June 16, 2012

The 'kyeme' between Chris and Eugene


Had scriptwriter/director Chris Martinez and his signature actress Eugene Domingo been a romantic couple and not bosom buddies,they could have produced twins and, you guessed it, named them Kimmy and Dora, the poles-apart main characters in their successful collaboration (with director Bb. Joyce Bernal) whose Part Two, Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kyeme (jointly released by Star Cinema and Spring Films), is expected not just to equal but to surpass the record of the first one.

The friends have gone a long way, sharing a room when they were studying at UP, still sharing confidences and together savoring their (some people say) unexpected huge success at the box-office.

No wonder they work together so smoothly, so seamlessly, because they know each other inside-out, familiar with each other’s eccentricities as they are with the lines on their palms.

“I first met Eugene when we were in second year at UP Diliman,” recalled Chris who was taking up Business Administration and Eugene a course in Theater Arts. “We were together in Dulaang UP. Marami kaming pinagsamahan sa theater where I directed her several times. We lived together for four years, sticking to each other through our ups and downs, through tears and laughter, ke may trabaho ke wala.”

Before Kimmy Dora, they have done several projects together including 100; an episode in Shake, Rattle & Roll; My Valentine Girl; and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank which won Eugene a People’s Choice Award at the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. (Chris is now finishing work as director of Tony Gloria’s Unitel Pictures’ Do Bi Do, Bi Do, the local answer to Broadway/Hollywood’s Mamma Mia!, featuring the songs of The APO. Yes, Eugene is in the cast.)

The idea for Kimmy Dora is a group effort.

While Chris and company were throwing ideas on the table, he thought of an angle.

“Locally kasi,” related Chris, “halos every actress has done dual roles sina Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes, Vilma Santos. So I said, ‘Why don’t we let Eugene play twins, one good and the other evil… isang mabait at isang hindi mabait?’ So ganyan lang ‘yon.”

In Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kyeme, the twins are forced by Korean tradition to marry men of the family’s choices, even if the sisters are already in love with other men, played by Dingdong Dantes and Zanjoe Marudo who were also in the original cast. And that’s where the conflict begins.

What does Chris think sets Eugene apart from other comediennes?

“Her theater background is a big factor,” said Chris. “She has training in theater kaya nandoon ‘yung discipline. She’s a hard worker even before she ventured into film; she takes her craft seriously. Even in college, talagang nakakatawa na siya; she’s a born komedyante. And at the same time, kaya niyang mag-drama.”

Chris cited Night Mother when they were in UP, the two-character play with Anne Bancroft as one of the actors.

“Doon pa lang,” added Chris, “I was convinced that Eugene could also do heavy, serious character roles.”

The fact that Eugene is good in the art of adlib helps a lot.

“She knows how to play the crowd,” agreed Chris, recalling the Hong Kong Filmfest awards night when Eugene stole the show by kissing Hong Kong actor Andy Lau while taking a shot of her winning/winsome act with her celfone camera. “She knows how to bring the house down.”

As a person, Eugene is funny most of the time although, Chris conceded, “she can be serious kung kinakailangan, especially if she wants to prove something concerning her art. Every year, mayroon siyang gustong gawin at patunayan sa kanyang sarili.”

This year, Eugene wants to clinch a “title” as Box-Office Queen. Not too far-fetched, isn’t it?

“I know what she has done and what she can do so I am giving her new material to work on,” said Chris, suspecting that Eugene might be tired of doing Kimmy and Dora. “I know how to challenge her. She loves challenges.”

For a breather, Eugene will do theater, reprising the title role played by Nora Aunor in Lino Brocka’s Bona (inspired by the Fellini classic La Strada), this time with Soxy Topacio as director and Edgar Allan Guzman in the role played by Phillip Salvador in the movie.

What’s up?

• The St. Jude Catholic School Batch ’89 is sponsoring the musical Rock of Ages, with MiG Ayesa in the title role, on June 22 (Friday), 8 p.m. at the RCBC Plaza, Makati City. For tickets, call 0922-8307172.

• From Dr. Welson Yap: The greatest test of faith is when you don’t get what you want but still you are able to say, “Thank you, Lord, for what I have.”

• From Dr. Roland dela Eva: The smartest thing that Mr. Bean ever did was change his password to “Incorrect,” so whenever he forgets the password, the computer reminds him, “Your password is incorrect!” Life is so simple. Some people just make it complicated.


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