There’s something magical about the pen Chris Martinez wields. This screenwriter/director has managed to create some of the most memorable Filipino films in the past years, including “100,” “Kimmy Dora,” “Here Comes The Bride” and “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank.”
In his most recent offering, “I Do Bidoo Bidoo,” which was produced by Unitel and Studio 5, Chris forays into the world of musicals and emerges triumphant.
The film, which centers on two very different families brought together by a young couple in love, brilliantly uses the beautiful songs of APO Hiking Society to tell its story.
At the premiere at SM Megamall last Tuesday, fans of the movie’s many stars came in full force. Teenage girls screamed for Sam Concepcion, placards were held high for Zsa Zsa Padilla, a lot of love was given to the rest of the cast and to APO. And they deserve it.
“I Do Bidoo Bidoo” will take you on a delightful musical ride, offering surprises along the way.
Wonderfully cast, skillfully edited and lovingly made, it’s a film that you would want to watch over and over again. It’s more than just a film, it’s a love letter—to Apo Hiking Society, to OPM, to Filipino artists and to music and movie fans.
And, like most love letters, it will leave a smile on your face.
The day after the premiere at SM Megamall, we sat down with Chris at a coffee shop to talk about the film, APO and that crazy Ogie Alcasid-Eugene Domingo love scene.
How did the idea for I Do Bidoo Bidoo start?
It was Unitel founder Mr. Tony Gloria who commissioned me to do it. It was his idea; it was his dream project. He saw Mamma Mia and he told me, gawa ka ng script using APO songs. Syempre excited ako. This was three or four years ago. I finished the final script two years ago. Medyo mahirap. It took another year for us to start the production.
How did you choose which songs to include in the film?
Pinakinggan ko lahat ng songs ng APO. I picked the most popular ones, kung ano yung pinaka-recognizable sa mga Pilipino. I picked 21 songs. Eventually I had to trim it down to 17 or 18.
How hard was it to trim it down?
Hard. Pero eventually malalaman mo naman alin yung kailangan tanggalin. I had to take out “When I Met You” and “Anna.” I had to take out all the English songs para lahat Filipino. Consistent.
Meron bang song na masama sa loob mong tanggalin?
“Huwag Masanay Sa Pagmamahal.” That’s one sequence na natanggal due to the total running time. We had to take out one scene where Ogie and Uge are taking care of a drunken Sam. They’re trying to sober him up while singing, “Huwag na huwag masanay sa pagmamahal. Kapag nasanay ka naku kawawa ka.” Editing decision yun na talagang masakit. Ganun talaga, you really have to be ruthless sometimes. Ilalagay yan sa DVD bilang deleted scene.
Was your writing process different this time since you had to include songs?
Pareho lang naman except I had to go through the essence of the APO songs. Kailangan ko muna malaman ang essence nung lahat ng kantang napili ko. It’s really about love. “I Do Bidoo” is a love story. Nung nagsusulat ako pag hindi ako kinikilig, hindi ako nata-touch, hindi ako naiiyak, ibig sabihin hindi okay. Nandun ako sa love story, sa kilig, sa touching, tenderness, sweetness. Yun kasi yung APO eh. Yun yung essence niya.
Did you know who would play the characters when you were writing the script?
Ang sure na sure lang ako was Zsa Zsa.
Did you know from the start that you were going to direct it?
So how did that happen?
I think Mr. Gloria saw “Here Comes The Bride” and “Temptation Island” and he saw what I can do, he saw na kaya kong gumawa ng bigness. Ang tagal, ang tagal niyang dina-dangle-dangle sa akin yung project. Gusto ko talaga, syempre di ba! Tapos when he said na: “O, you’re going to do it na.” “Aba thank you naman.” Hindi lang naman ako yung director sa Pilipinas, marami naman siyang choices. I had to prove to him na I could do it.
Who decided on the casting?
Ako, si Mr. Gloria, si Madonna Tarrayo, the president of Unitel. To some degree, si Noemi Peji, our supervising producer. Si Ogie (Alcasid), Uge (Eugene Domingo), Zsa Zsa (Padilla), Gary (Valenciano) and Jimmy Fabregas, sila lang yung hindi nag-audition. Everyone else did. I went to a friend’s wedding and nandun yung The Company. Nag-perform sila ng “Take A Chance On Me.” Nakita ko si Sweet Plantado. Sabi ko, bagay sila ni Uge! Nag-audition siya. Sweet Plantado, kumanta ng “Awit ng Barkada.” Pasok! So dapat uma-attend ka talaga ng weddings. Pag ininvite ka, punta ka ng wedding. You’ll never know kung sinong madidiscover mo dun. Si Frenchie, pinahanap ko upon the recommendation of Vincent. Sabi niya, “Pahanap mo si Frenchie. Magaling siya sa Avenue Q.” I wanted performers. Gusto ko kumakanta, sumasayaw, umaarte, nakakapag-multitask. Kung may theater experience, mas maganda.
Sam Concepcion also auditioned?
Yes. Sabay nag-audition si Sam and si Tippy. I asked them to read the whole “Panalangin” sequence. May chemistry eh, may chemistry agad. They sang “Panalangin” on the spot. Ang ganda ng combination ng boses. Tiningnan ko silang mabuti. Sabi ko, yeah, they’re the right age. They don’t look old enough to get married, they don’t look old enough to get pregnant. Bata pa tong mga to. Pag kinanta mo yung “Batang-bata,” bagay talaga sa kanila. Mukha talaga silang hindi pa dapat magpakasal.
Did you know Tippy Dos Santos before this?
They tell me who’s coming. “On this day, you will have Tippy and Sam.” Who’s Tippy? “She’s the Wendy in Peter Pan.” Ako naman Google. Uy, mestiza. Grabe, parang young Jackie Lou Blanco, parang young Zsa Zsa Padilla. Mukhang pampered, mukhang lumaki sa aircon, kapani-paniwalang mayaman, may hacienda. Si Sam, alam ko magaling siya kumanta. Hindi ko pa siya nakita sumayaw. So nag-YouTube naman ako. Wow, ang galing sumayaw. Kaya lang pagdating niya, sabi ko: “Ay ang puti.” Mukha ring lumaki sa aircon. Kailangan ko yung medyo oily. So pinaitim namin siya. Every take, kailangan siya lagyan ng makeup to make him look darker, yung lumalabas ng bahay, nagba-basketball sa kalye. At Ingglisero si Sam. I always had to remind him na ibaba pa niya yung pagsasalita niya.
Where did you discover Neil Coleta?
Talent ko siya dati sa Nestea commercial.
Talk about Eugene’s performance.
Nakipagsabayan siya. Nag-voice lessons siya and she took the rehearsals seriously. Yung dance number niya sa mall, even the love scene. Kasi di ba, may sayaw din yun?
Let’s talk about that love scene.
Sigawan talaga yung maririnig mo from the audience. Si Uge yung pinaka-kabado kagabi kasi first time niya mapanood. Ang higpit higpit nung hawak niya sa akin, masakit na. Holding hands kami kahapon. Sabi ko: “Aray, aray.” Tawa siya ng tawa.
Did they both say yes to that scene kaagad?
Wala, wala silang karekla-reklamo.
Where did you find that beautiful house?
In Liliw Laguna. Sobrang layo. Yung entrance na mga gate, sa Bulacan. Mine-marry namin yung mga location.
What about the church?
Dito lang yun, sa Sampaguita.
Which are your favorite scenes?
I appreciate the quieter ones. Like “Nakapagtataka” at “Batang-Bata.” I like “Nakapagtataka” because that’s the only time you hear all the lead characters singing together. So you see the combination of voices. And of course, “Blue Jeans.” And of course yung eksena ni Uge and Ogie.
What’s it like directing your own script?
When I direct, I try to separate it from being a writer. I attack the script as a director. Sometimes jino-joke ko sila, “Tawagin niyo nga yung writer! Sino ba sumulat nito? Ang hirap hirap!” Yun naman yung masaya when you’re the writer and director, you can adjust it on your own. When I write a script and I’m supposed to direct it also, nilalayo ko yung sarili ko as a writer. I’m crazy like that. Kasi di ako pwede magpatali kung ano yung sinulat ko lang, mali-limit ako eh.
How long did it take you to shoot the movie?
27 days in a span of six months.
Who chose the choreographer?
There was an audition for choreographers too. They sent videos. Ang audition piece nila was “Do Bidoo” and my criteria was kung naintindihan ba nung choreographer yung kanta and kung ano yung gusto kong mangyari. Yung audition piece ni Nancy Crow was simple, charming, nakakatuwa. Approved kaagad. Masarap siyang katrabaho. Isa siyang hyper na babae.
Did you collaborate with her?
I’ll tell her kung anong point nung eksena. For example, yung “Blue Jeans” it has to be about angst, may galit, may angas, kailangan maangas. Sa “Salawikain,” I wanted formation, bumubuka, sumasara, maraming maids na iikot-ikot, Esther Williams.
What was it like working with Vincent De Jesus, the musical director?
Siya naman talaga yung unang-una kong choice. Sa start pa lang excited na siya. Bago pa ang lahat kami munang dalawa ang kailangang magkaintindihan. Since I worked with him in “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” and “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,” alam ko na he is the perfect guy for the job. I wanted it to be theatrical, but at the same time it had to be pop and contemporary. Nadeliver yun ni Vincent. And alam ko namang kayang-kaya niya. There are times na marami kaming arguments. Yung parang, “Vincent, kailangan pa nitong tumaas! Wala akong maramdaman! It has to swell! Hindi ako kinikilabutan! Kailangan kilabutan ako!” Naloloka sila sa akin. (laughs) Sasabihin naman niya, “Ah okay okay okay, dadagdagan ko yan ng French horns, wag kang mag-alala.” They have their own specialization. Yung director kasi siya lang yung nakakakita ng lahat, na magsasabi: “Ah yung gawa mo ico-combine ko sa gawa niya, sa gawa niya.” Feeling ko yun naman talaga yun yung trabaho ko eh. I’m just doing my job.
What was it like working with Unitel?
Masarap mag-work sa Unitel kasi masarap ang pagkain. Ibang saya ang dulot ng masarap na food sa shooting, promise. Kaya siguro kami masaya sa set. All out yung support nila. Minimum of three cameras pag dance number, may days na apat kami. Makikita mo naman na pinaghirapan, pinaggagastusan.
Yung Tupperware ni Frenchie, san naman nanggaling yun?
Nanay ko ganun. Di ba, mga mommy ganun? Very middle class yung mga concern. Di ko alam what it is with moms and their Tupperware. I don’t know.
Why did you name the puppy Buboy?
Kasi ang cute ni Buboy Garovillo. I’ve always seen him as cute with puppy eyes.
Did he know you were going to do it? How did he react?
No, he didn’t. Sabi niya, “Ikaw ha, ginawa mo pa akong aso.”
When was the first time APO watched the movie?
The first time they watched was at the Resorts World screening. Masayang-masaya naman sila. I made sure katabi ko si Jim (Paredes). Of the three kasi, si Jim yung palaging dumadalaw sa set. Siya yung kausap ko palagi. When we shoot a scene tatabi siya sa akin and then he’ll tell me the story behind the song, para kanino sinulat yung song. Sa screening katabi ko siya and si Buboy. Mga third song pa lang umiiyak na si Jim. Sabi ko, “Jim, pangatlong kanta pa lang.” Sabi niya: “I can’t believe how you did this. This is so sweet.” I was touched na I was able to give them that kind of honor. It was an honor to give them that honor. Si Danny (Javier) naman kagabi. Si Danny kasi hindi ko siya masyado nakakausap. Kahapon natiyempuhan ko siya paglabas ng theater. He hugged me. He whispered to me: “Ang galing galing mo.” Sabi ko: “Hindi po, sir, maganda po talaga yung mga kanta niyo.” Tapos sabi niya: “Kalimutan mo na yung kanta namin, it’s a great movie.” “Thank you po, sir.” Tapos sabi niya: “Be honest with me, galing sa puso mo yan no?” “Opo.” Tapos naiyak na ako. Happy ako na happy sila. Para sa kanila talaga yon.
Has Zsa Zsa seen the film?
No. But when she comes back we’ll have a special screening for her.
Now that the movie’s open, how do you feel?
I want to watch it with different people again and again. I want to see the audience’s reactions. Gusto ko sila makitang masaya. Basta gusto ko makitang masaya yung mga tao.
How has the feedback been so far?
Maganda. Maganda yung mga tweets nila. They say this is the best Filipino film they’ve seen in years. Na kaya naman pala natin gumawa ng musical. Naloloka sila kay Uge, kay Ogie. Yun yung mga tweet ng mga tao. Hopefully, sana, word gets around. Natutuwa ako na may mga tao na they watch it in groups, with their barkada.
Do you have other projects lined up?
I’m doing “Lola Basyang,” the “Mariang Alimango” episode. For kids naman. May gagawin din ako sa Viva, this year din.
I think I Do Bidoo will work as a stage production. Are there plans?
May plano. I think it’s part of the contract.
Will the soundtrack be released?
I think so. Pero baka for download, hindi CD. And then si Jim humihingi na ng part two kasi madami pang songs. Sabi niya: “Part two na, part two na ha.” Sabi ko na lang: “Ah hahaha.” Nervous laughter.
Pwedeng part two yung English songs.
“I Do Bidoo Bidoo” is now showing at theaters nationwide.