‘Citizen Jake’ director Mike de Leon gets real on Atom Araullo, says he’s disappointed in him
Mike de Leon is back on the big screen with “Citizen Jake,” his first movie in almost 20 years. The flick also marked the acting debut of journalist Atom Araullo.
But the director got real about his lead actor as he narrated his working relationship with Araullo on the set. He told this through the official Citizen Jake Facebook page on Monday, two days before the movie came out.
De Leon started off that he only came across Araullo when he resigned as a reporter from ABS-CBN. The director thought it would be interesting to get him in the movie as he was not a professional actor, his background being in journalism and sharing the same political convictions as he.
“I have known and worked with outstanding journalists before when I was politically active during the latter years of the Marcos era,” De Leon stated. But he came to realize that Araullo’s type of journalism “was not exactly the kind of journalism I had in mind.”
“It’s not the gritty kind but more of the celebrity-centered schlock that sometimes verges on entertainment, even showbiz,” he explained. “Looking back, I can see why he wanted to become a movie actor. Perhaps the journalist was really a closet movie star.”
Despite his remarks, De Leon acknowledged that Araullo’s role in the movie was “substantial.”
When it came to Araullo’s acting, De Leon believed he did a good job, adding, “I won’t say the usual ‘in spite of…'”He described his acting in the film thus: “There were scenes where he acted unevenly but there were also scenes, many of them major, where he was terrific.” He added, “Perfect for the role of Jake, the self-absorbed millennial.”
Citing that “Citizen Jake” is his “most personal film,” De Leon felt that it was a movie that he and Araullo made together “through thick and thin, through upheaval after upheaval and unfortunately there were many.”
“But I hoped that in the end, we would still share the same convictions we started off with,” De Leon expressed. “Alas, that was not to be.”
De Leon said: “Now I find myself alone in speaking for the film, defending the film against those who would exploit it for political mileage and those who would wish it harm, two types of people of basically the same mold.”
“I think atom and i are both relieved to close the book on this collaboration and finally get out of each other’s lives,” De Leon said with dismissal. “What is important in the unique world of cinema is that Citizen Jake has now acquired a life of its own, separate from us.
Some netizens aired their disagreement with the director. Delia Peneyro thought that Araullo “was a revelation” and said that he did not disappoint moviegoers. De Leon’s reply? He simply said: “he disappointed me.”
Peneyro complimented Araullo once again, saying: “He did well for someone who’s not an actor.” The director expounded his previous reply with: “Not as an actor but as a person.”
Their exchange went on with the netizen asking De Leon to be more patient with him. He answered back by stating he thought he was not the right person to mentor Araullo. He explained: “he is young and i am old and haven’t got much time left. i don’t need this in my life anymore.”
Another netizen, Edna Jean Coricos, said that she was more disappointed with De Leon’s extensive post. She thought Araullo did great, and told De Leon: “You could’ve gotten a professional actor rather than comment on how this newbie performed.”
De Leon defended himself, explaining that he only posted his opinion on social media since he was asked numerous times about the actor’s performance. He said: “Atom knows and will be the first to admit that it was not easy to act professionally in a difficult movie like Citizen Jake. But he did his best and to a certain extent even created his own character.”
As of this writing, Araullo has not reacted to De Leon’s post. /ra
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