The return of Kimmy and Dora

Super talks to actress Eugene Domingo and screenwriter Chris Martinez about their friendship, their new film and why Dora is stealing Kimmy’s spotlight

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SEOULMATES. Production designer Mitoy Sta. Ana, Geraldine Villamil, Director Joyce Bernal, stylist Katie Dilao and Eugene Domingo

Ang sarap ng buhay ni Dora,” Eugene Domingo said. “Gigising lang siya, kakain siya ng carbs on carbs on carbs on carbs, magbibihis lang siya ng baliw, tapos may boyfriend!”

It’s the day after Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kiyeme opened in theaters across the country and we were in Unitel Studios about to sit down with Chris Martinez, the real-life Kimmy to Eugene’s Dora.

Chris and Eugene go way back—they met in UP when Eugene joined The UP Repertory Company and have been best friends since. They’ve collaborated on countless projects and their winning tandem has resulted in some of the most successful Filipino films in the past years—“Kimmy Dora: Kambal Sa Kiyeme,” “Here Comes The Bride” and “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank,” which raked in awards at last year’s Cinemalaya and has been making the rounds at film festivals all over the world.

Their newest completed project, the sequel to the highly successful Kimmy Dora, is an enjoyable treat both for fans eagerly awaiting the return of the Go Dong Hae twins and people who didn’t see the first film. “This movie can really stand alone,” Eugene said.

Writing the sequel wasn’t easy for Chris who decided that comedy just wasn’t enough this time—he wanted to add horror to the mix. “Mahirap magpatawa, mahirap manakot. When you put the two together, you’re doubling the challenge,” Chris said.

BFFs. Eugene Domingo and Chris Martinez

But both Chris and Eugene enjoy the many challenges thrown their way. Long before they finished filming the Kimmy Dora sequel, the two already started working on another project, “I Do Bidoo Bidoo,” a musical movie that will pay tribute to the timeless songs of Apo Hiking Society. Chris wrote and is directing the film.

And although they still have five shooting days left, they’re already discussing future projects they want to tackle next including the third film in the Kimmy Dora franchise. “Parang gusto mag-solo ni Dora next,” Chris said.

Like Kimmy and Dora, there are a lot of things to love about Eugene and Chris and on top of that list is their desire to share the spotlight. They are quick to give credit to the people they work with, saying “Hindi namin kaya ‘to kung kaming dalawa lang. It’s always a team effort.”

Super spent an afternoon with Chris and Eugene to talk about their friendship, their dreams and why Dora is stealing Kimmy’s thunder.

Did you feel any pressure while writing the sequel given that the first movie was so successful?

TRIPLE THREAT. Moi Marcampo, Eugene and Miriam Quiambao

Chris: ‘Yung pressure galing sa success ng first. How do you up the ante? Siyempre kailangan mas malaki siya. There has to be something new. May sinubmit story line kay Direk Joyce Bernal. Somewhere along the way nagbago ako ng isip. I felt that what I submitted was just a repetition of the first. I decided to mix the genres—comedy and horror—but still in the “Kimmy Dora” mode. I thought that would give the audience something different. Nakaka-pressure on my part as a writer— paano mo uulitin? (turns to Eugene) Magsalita ka.

Eugene: Essentially, the first movie was an introduction to the characters. Yung ugali nila ine-establish pa lang so magandang paglaruan with mistaken identity. And then ’yung mga susunod papunta na sila sa iba-ibang adventures. You open them to many many possibilities. Tapos magkakaroon na ng Kimmy Dora dolls.

Chris: Pangarap mo talaga Kimmy Dora dolls!

“THIS photo sums up our relationship, Eugene said. “Lagi lang ako nakikinig kay Chris.” Eugene and Chris at the Udine Film Festival in Italy where “Here Comes The Bride” won third place audience choice. FREDERIC AMBROISINE

Eugene: Of course! Lahat naman ng tao may Kimmy at Dora sa kaloob-looban nila.

So that’s the dream, magkaroon ng dolls?

Eugene: (laughs) Oo, di ko lang alam kung sino magmamanufacture.

Chris: Mattel.

Eugene: Barbie lang ang level! Puwede na rin yung nag-produce ng cabbage patch. ‘Yun talaga ang peg ko.

Chris: Hindi, si Kimmy Barbie, tapos si Dora, Cabbage Patch! (laughs)

Eugene, back when Kimmy Dora first came out we asked you if it’s hit you that you’ve become a star. You said no, nothing’s changed. Have things changed since then?

Eugene: Hindi pa din, ganon pa din eh. Halimbawa nag-shooting kayo, nakakapagod pa din. Mas lumalaki pa ’yung responsibilidad, expectations, naglalako ka pa rin, nagpo-promote ka pa rin. Mararamdaman kong star na talaga ako kapag one day, after shooting a film, nasa bahay lang ako. Ni hindi ko kailangan i-promote. And that is only Fernando Poe Jr.

EUGENE and Chris in their college years, with friend Mike Rivera

Chris: At si Tom Cruise.

Eugene: Si Tom Cruise. Napaka-imposible nun. Napakakonti na lang talaga nung mga stars na ganun. Nakita mo ba si FPJ nagsayaw, nag-mall show? Never! Basta Fernando Poe Jr., tapos! Sa tingin ko wala nang ganun ngayon. Wala nang stars. Sila lang ‘yun. The King, Fernando Poe Jr., Dolphy, Vilma Santos, mga once a year gumagawa ng pelikula. Eh di ba ako kung puwede lang linggo-linggo may bago akong pelikula. I don’t think may nabago sa akin. Ganito pa rin ako, gusto ko pa din ng bagong challenges. Kaya nga hindi ako humihiwalay kay Chris Martinez.

Chris: Asan na yung blank check ko? (laughs)

Eugene: (laughs) Kasi siya lang ‘yung nakakakilala sa akin mula college. Although ang nagrelaunch talaga sa akin especially when I felt really ready was Direk Wenn Deramas. Actually marami sila. Kaso si Direk Chris, kasama ko siya sa personal na buhay eh, papunta na siya sa kamag-anak, hindi mo na siya matatanggal sa sistema mo.

Chris: But it was really Spring Films na nagsabi na i-launch siya.

WINNING TEAM. Eugene and Chris

Eugene: They gave me the freedom to choose. ‘Yun ang nangyari sa first Kimmy Dora film. Ganun din naman yung nangyari sa second, mas difficult lang ‘yung naging proseso.

Why?

Eugene: Ang dami naming agam-agam.

Chris: Oo, nakakatakot gumawa ng sequel.

Eugene: Pero sabi namin hindi, kailangan mong pagdaanan yan. Humanga ako sa kanya when he finished writing the sequel. Because I knew how difficult it was. Ayaw na nga niyang gawin pero wala siyang choice. I think he’s going to direct the third one.

So you think the third one is going to be easier?

Chris: Ang plano namin, since masyadong hyper si Dora dito sa sequel, parang nag-audition siya eh, si Dora. Parang, “Kaya ko to, Chris Martinez.”

Eugene: Pero hindi pa to alam ni Kimmy ha so ‘wag niyong sasabihin sa kanya. Walang  magsasabi sa kanya.

Magwawala ‘yun.

Eugene: Super.

Chris: Parang gusto ni Dora siya muna eh. Magpapa-launch si Dora.

Eugene: Parang sabi niya, ’tong si Ate napakalandi, parang gusto niya si Barry na lang, nasa farm sila. Eh di sa farm kayo.

Chris: So we’re playing with the idea na baka si Dora kailangan ng solo movie. Hindi pa to alam ni Ma’am Kimmy pero baka special participation lang siya. Parang Dora’s big adventure.

When will this be? Will we wait three years again?

Eugene: No. Agad-agad. Baka singkwenta anyos na ako nun. Diyos ko, katakot-takot na vitamins ang ininom ko, nagtanggal ako ng sangkatutak na bisyo, ang aga-aga ko matulog, lahat ng vitamins ininom ko. It’s very physical. And si Direk Joyce, ayaw niya ng emotion na peke. Doon ako nagagalingan sa kanya, ang galing-galing niya gumabay. ‘Di siya pumapayag na peke ‘yung luha. Sasabihin niya talaga, “Pangit, Uge, isa pa. Gusto ko ‘yung hindi ka na makahinga.” Pero ang sarap gawin, kahit mahirap. Alam mo kasing masarap panoorin sa sine, na sa sine lang nakikita. Sayang naman ang ibabayad ng mga tao kung ang ipapakita mo pwedeng makita sa TV. You always think of the ticket buyers. Magkano ba ang sine? Kakain pa.

Chris: Pamasahe pa, gasolina.

Eugene: So gusto mo ibigay sa kanila ‘yung kumpletong experience.

We loved that while the original cast remained intact, there were also a lot of new cameos.

Eugene: Ang cute cute ni Kris Aquino, ‘di ba? Hanggang ngayon memorized pa namin ‘yung dialogue niya. (laughs)

We loved the clothes too. Three years ago, you told us you kept some of Kimmy’s clothes from the first film. Did you keep any of the clothes from this movie?

Eugene: Wala pa pero parang gusto ko ‘yung bathing suit ni Dora.

Was that customized?

Eugene: Ang gumawa nun kapatid ni Rachelle Ann Go, si Oz Go.

And I loved the dress Kimmy wore at the hospital.

Chris: That was Rajo Laurel.

Eugene: Same team ‘yan. Jay Lozada for makeup, siya ‘ata ang pinakamahusay na nagme-makeup sa akin. Kasi alam mo, nagsisimula ‘yung pag-internalize ko pag nakikita ko na ‘yung itsura ko. Ang galing niya. Hindi lang niya ako nilalagyan ng kulay, hindi ko alam kung papano niya ginagawa ‘yung mukha ko. ‘Yung false eyelashes ko iba ‘yung gupit, iba ‘yung kilay, iba ‘yung lipstick. Ang galing.

Chris: Painter kasi siya eh. Dapat pala nagme-makeup sa’yo mga painter.

Eugene: Mukha kasing canvas yung mukha ko. (laughs) Importante ‘yun eh, dapat itsura pa lang alam mo na ‘yung pagkakaiba nung kambal. Sa pananamit, si Katie Dilao naman ang stylist. Nag-research pa si Katie sa mga Vogue Korea tapos sinasabi ni Direk Joyce ano ‘yung mga peg. Group effort talaga ‘yang si Kimmy and Dora.

Chris, when they were shooting in Seoul, you were here shooting I Do Bidoo Bidoo. Was that hard for you not being there? Na-OC ka ba?

Eugene: OC siya!

Chris: Oo, nagte-text ako!

Eugene:Nagme-message siya sa Facebook. So ako naman, report naman ako nang report. Ang lagi kong nirereport ’yung nararamdaman ko, ‘yung pinagdadaanan namin. “Ang hirap! Ang lamig! Diyos ko sana kayanin namin, baka mamatay na kami!”

Chris: “Ang hirap ng script mo! Ang lamig!”

Eugene: “Ang hirap ng script! Nakakaloka ang snow! Ang lamig!”

Chris: Tapos sabi kong ganun, “Paki-review nga yung script kung merong word na snow?”

Eugene:(laughs) Makikipag-away pa ako dapat so chineck ko ‘yung script. Binasa ko. Sh*t walang snow. (sheepish) Wala ngang snow. (laughs)

Chris:Kayo lang ang mahilig diyan sa snow. Idea niyo yang snow, wala ‘yan sa script, bahala kayo diyan.

Eugene: So sabi ko, “My F, sayang naman. Andito na rin lang kami ng winter, mas cinematic kung may makikitang snow.” So hindi na ako nagreklamo.

Did you get to have fun in Korea?

Eugene: Super. Kasi legal kaming nagshoot. We had the support of the Korean Film Organization, Film Line and Seoul Film Commission. Meron talaga kaming guide.

What were your favorite scenes?

Eugene:Si Kimmy…. ‘pag kasama si Barry. Ang sarap eh. Alam mo nasasarapan talaga ako kahit hindi kami umaarte. (laughs) “Sino’ng artista ngayon sa set?” “Si Zanjoe.” Ay nae-excite talaga ako!

Chris: Ako favorite ko ‘yung packing scene. Super favorite ko ‘yun.

Eugene: Kay Dora ‘yung packing scene. ‘Yung packing scene my god, that packing scene. Oh my god, favorite ko din ‘yung kumakain! Ang sarap! Breakfast time talaga ‘yun kinunan eh! Tapos ‘yung production designer namin si Mitoy Sta. Ana, talagang kinareer niya, pagkain kung pagkain. Ang sarap. Mga tuna hotdog. Kaya ganun kasarap ‘yung kain ko. Eh I love suman, I love pancakes. Whoo, sarap.

Chris: Gusto ko din ‘yung suha.

When you were filming the first Kim my Dora film, you said Mikki wasn’t easy to work with.

Chris: Okay na siya.

Eugene: Oo saka ang dami na niyang tricks. And may good news ako sa ’yo. May block screening ‘yung fans ni Piolo (Pascual), ‘yung Team Pasionistas and fundraising ‘yun for PAWS. It’s going to be on June 17 at Resorts World.

You guys are still filming I Do Bidoo Bidoo right?

Chris: Five days pa.

Eugene:  Meron pa kaming mga all-star cast sequences. Konti na lang. Tapos na ‘yung mga major production numbers na pasabog. Hindi madali. Pero ’yun naman ang importante di ba? Kung madali lagi eh di matulog ka na lang sa bahay, manood ka na lang ng DVD.

You will sing in I Do Bidoo Bidoo. Do you really sing?

Eugene: Oo. Pero nag-voice lessons ako uli. Kasi naman ’yung mga kasama ko naman, career nila ‘yun forever. Ang galing galing ng choreographer namin —si Nancy Crowe.

Will the soundtrack be released?

Chris: Yes. Recording star na rin si Uge ngayon.

Eugene: Naka-duet ko si Ogie Alcasid, hindi ako makapaniwala!

Chris: Enjoy ang musical. Gusto ko na nga puro musical na lang gagawin ko eh. Sarap ng musical. Kasi ginagamit mo lahat ng pinagdaanan mo sa buhay eh, ‘yung theater and yung fascination mo sa musicals nung bata ka. Mahilig kami manood ng musicals!

You guys went to New York together recently right? Which Broadway did you watch?

Chris: Lahat! Grabe! Na-max out yung credit card ko sa ticket! Tapos habang nanonood kami, sasabihin ko sa kanya, “O alam mo na kung paano.” Kailangan yung ending high note, humihingi ng palakpak.

Eugene, you’re returning to theater soon with Bona right? I remember you told me you wouldn’t go back to theater unless you could fully commit—does this mean you’re ready?

Yes, August/September. Rehearsals ko July. Full ‘eto. Wala akong TV, walang movie. Inayos ko ‘yung schedule. First love ko kasi ang theater and naniniwala ako sa Peta. Ngayon inaayos ko na ‘yung schedule ko for 2013 and some for 2014. Soon I’m going to Czechoslovakia for the “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” screening at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Tapos pupunta ako sa echoserang Prague. Para masabi ko lang na “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” Czech na Czech. ’Yun lang naman ang gusto ko mangyari sa Facebook. (laughs)

How many festivals has “Septic Tank” been a part of?

Chris: Around 30 na.

Have you ever said no to Chris?

Eugene: Yes. Gusto niya ako mag-play ng Lola Basyang. Lola na agad?! (laughs)

Do you still have a dream role you haven’t done?

Chris: Yes!

Eugene: Yes. Iba kasi ‘yung dream role niya for me eh. Gusto ko gumawa ng isang historical film na ala Rizal. For my country. Na malaking-malaking-malaki. Pinagkagastusan. Gusto ko ng role na Pinoy heroine. Na hindi lumilipad ha.

Chris: Tandang Sora! Matanda na naman! (laughs) Or the young Tandang Sora. The secret of Tandang Sora bago siya tumanda.

Eugene: Tapos kagabi, eto na naman. Nakita mo na yung trailer ng Les Miserables? Si Anne Hathaway kinakalbo?

Chris: Oo, gusto ko siya kalbuhin.

Eugene: Meron kasi kaming gustong gawing pelikula na maja-justify kung bakit ako kailangan kalbuhin.

So you’ll do it?

Chris:(laughs) Pinag-iisipan pa niya. Noong una OK sa kanya pero akala niya prosthetics.

Eugene: Tapos sabi niya, “Hindi prosthetics, totoo! Para maiyak ka talaga.” Sabi ko, kaya ko umiyak kahit hindi mo ako kalbuhin.

Chris: Hindi ka puwedeng mag-retire ng hindi ka kinkalbo onscreen.

Eugene: Ayoko talaga, may trauma ako kasi kinalbo ako nung bata. Isa yan sa mga fears ko. Naiisip ko na ‘yan dati eh.

What about your character in I Do Bidoo Bidoo?

Eugene: Gustung-gusto ko talaga ‘yung character ko, gusto ko maipakita yung pagiging ina. Ang dali kong masaktan sa role na ‘to. Super kayod yung madir. And natutuwa ako kasi ’yung Kimmy Dora parang isang oras na lang pa-cartoons na ‘di ba? Eto tao.

Chris: Tao sila but they sing and dance. Mas grounded siya on reality.

Eugene: At kung gaano naman ang kinaganda ng itsura ni Kimmy and Dora—sa palagay ko lang ha, baka sabihin niyo gandang-ganda ako sa sarili ko—eto Diyos ko papunta na sa basura. Lapot na lapot yung character ko dito. Ibang shift naman.

Chris, do you consider Eugene your muse?

Chris: Oo, Eugene Domingo is my muse. She is my Mia Farrow. Naks.

Eugene: So ikaw si Woody Allen?

Chris: Level. (laughs)

Eugene: Binaon ko ‘yung script ng  I Do Bidoo Bidoo sa bakasyon ko. Binasa ko siya ng diretso. Nung tapos na, tumayo ako at pumalakpak ako. Ang ganda. Kasi Pinoy na Pinoy. Parang magaling na talaga siya magsulat ngayon.

Were you a fan of Apo Hiking Society even before the film?

Chris: Oo naman. And bago ako magsimula, pinakinggan ko muna lahat talaga tapos tsaka ako gumawa ng script.

What’s your dream for Philippine cinema?

Eugene: Gusto kong maraming-maraming-maraming manood ng pelikulang Pilipino kahit ano pa yan. I try to do everything. Kahit sabihin mong formula or TV. Kailangan natin magtulungan at magsuportahan. Isa lang naman ang gusto natin mangyari, magbalik ang tiwala ng manonood para ‘di tayo maiwan.

Chris: Ako ganun din. Nakaka-high talaga ‘yung pagpasok mo ng sinehan ang dami ninyo, tumatawa kayo nang sabay, umiiyak kayo nang sabay, ang sarap nun. Sa I do Bidoo Bidoo nga gusto ko magkantahan ng sabay eh.

What’s one thing you want to change about the industry?

Eugene: I hate the crab mentality among people who are supposedly your peers, people  from the same industry. Ang kailangan natin ngayon suporta, hindi ‘yung ako mas higit sa ’yo o mas powerful. Napaka-talented  natin pero dahil sa crab mentality naghihilahan tayo pababa. Ang lakas kasi talaga ng effect sa akin ng Asian Film Awards. Doon ko talaga naramdaman na Pilipino ako kahit saan ako magpunta. I represent my country.

Chris: Ako gusto ko naman bigyan ng bigger chances yung Filipino films. Kasi kahit pagpasok pa lang sa distribution sa sinehan talo agad eh. The best theaters are reserved for “Harry,” “Spidey.”

Eugene: Kailangan na natin sumabay.

Chris:  Kagaya niyan, Kimmy is released in Digital Cinema Package. Pero konti lang ang cinema na may DCP and priority nila ‘yung Hollywood films.  The industry is trying to catch up. Sayang. Sana suportahan din. Give chance to Filipino films. ’Di lang yung pag-December.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000532465679 Donardo Cuago

    “CZECH NA CZECH!” Hahahahaaaaa!

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