‘Combative casting’ trend revivedBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – The trailers of some new movies reveal that local producers may be about to try something “new” to entice us to view their upcoming releases.
We put “new” in quotation marks because the film format is actually as old as the hills of Hollywood. Remember Bette Davis and Joan Crawford being pitted against each other in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte”? That’s the ticket.
Think pitting one diva against another virago. Think “combative” casting. That appears to be the thematic driving force behind “Momzillas,” in which Eugene Domingo and Maricel Soriano play feistily fighting and feuding mothers of two lovebirds about to get married, portrayed by Billy Crawford and Andi Eigenmann.
It’s no surprise that the balae-to-be don’t get along (that’s par for the course)—what’s a hyper-hoot is how totally they detest and abhor one another, waging their own vitriolic and venomous version of World War III—and amping it up to 10!
Eugene’s portrayal here is no dazzling epiphany, since she’s already done the honors in this wise “versus” Zsa Zsa Padilla in the Apo movie musical last year. What takes the cake now is the fact that Maricel has been persuaded to let her hair down, grow her fingernails and fangs long, and involve herself in this unusual cinematic enterprise!
Let’s put it this way: For years now, Maricel’s career handlers haven’t been all that clear about how her TV-film career should go, now that she’s on the wrong side of 40. Now too mature for her signature ack-ack delivery and palaban acting style of yore, she needs to do something new, something else to regain viewers’ attention and interest. Her still feisty but mature role in “Momzillas” could be “it”!
Meanwile AiAi delas Alas and Marian Rivera have their own play and ploy for viewers’ hopefully excited attention going in their exercise in combative casting, the comedy-fantasy-actioner, “Kung Fu Divas.” Right off the bat, the flick piques viewers’ interest because it’s the first time that the two stars are acting opposite and against each other.
This time, their bone of spirited and spiteful contention isn’t a wedding that nobody wants, but the crown in a beauty pageant. At first glance, Marian would seem to have a clear edge in the pulchritude department—but, we surmise that the obviously spoof-y production has made some loopy faux-premises kick in to “explain” its far-out cinematic conceit.
Will the two movies’ “combative casting” ploy work? If the productions do exceptionally well at the tills when they both open this month, it could lead to other over-the-top flicks topbilling similarly contentious divas of the silver screen being rushed to take advantage of the incipient minitrend’s hoped-for success.
Their planned TV pairing didn’t happen, but why not a Susan Roces-Amalia Fuentes film? A Jericho-Piolo thespic square-off? Nora versus Vilma? A three-way filmic fracas involving Sharon Cuneta, Hilda Koronel and Zsa Zsa Padilla? Yum!
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