Ogie turns serious on Regine’s plea to Du30, the Gilas meme and going indie
We seldom see singer-actor Ogie Alcasid seem so serious and no-nonsense, but it’s only natural for him to rush to protect his family when the going gets tough.
In a rare moment of earnestness, he shares his thoughts on wife Regine Velasquez’s plea to President Duterte to stop dragging God’s name in scathing speeches.
Ogie told the Inquirer: “I will always defend my wife and her beliefs [on] the love of God.”
On a lighter note, he and ex-wife, former Miss Australia Michelle van Eimeren, became a Facebook meme, as a result of the basketball brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australia Boomers.
The viral photo was captioned, thus: “Hindi kami kasali diyan!” (We are not involved in that fight!)
“That’s hilarious,” Ogie said of the meme.
As for the baller brouhaha? “I didn’t get to watch the game,” he remarked. “I only saw the clips the morning after. It was an unfortunate incident that I believe both camps have learned much from. Now that they have both apologized to each other and to the sporting world, it’s time to move on.”
Ogie is keenly aware that performers often have to wear the two masks of tragedy and comedy, onstage and off. In next month’s Cinemalaya fest, Ogie will get to show off both his comic and dramatic chops in James Robin Mayo’s entry, “Kuya Wes.”
The role marks quite a departure for Ogie who is mostly known for laugh-out-loud flicks.
In the bleak dramedy, he plays an unremarkable employee in a remittance company whose only source of happiness is seeing his crush (Ina Raymundo), a customer who goes to his workplace to claim the money sent by her husband who works abroad.
“He leads a very sad life,” Ogie described his character. “He’s a very insignificant person. No one really cares about him.”
Friends who had seen the rushes told Ogie that the film seemed bittersweet.
“Everybody in the film is lost … and very lonely,” he related. “I guess, that’s what attracted me to the script. Beyond the apparent sadness, it’s funny and quirky.”
After reading the script, he excitedly reached out to the “Kuya Wes” team who had e-mailed the material even though they didn’t personally know the star. The script came with a note: “Sana magustuhan n’yo po.” (Hope you like it.)
Ogie owned up that he gets a slew of scripts for consideration. “Usually, I’d feel it’s not me anymore.” But this time, it was “different.” “I couldn’t drop the script. I kept reading and reading … and laughing and, at the same time, I felt sad for the character.”
In his initial meeting with the youthful crew, he asked them point-blank if they had the funds to make the film.
“They admitted that they had no money,” he recalled. “So I told them I would try to help out.”
While doing the “ASAP” road show in Toronto last year, he pitched the project to costar Piolo Pascual in the loo, of all places. “He was then riding high on the success of ‘Kita Kita.’”
Coproduced by Piolo’s Spring Films, “Kita Kita” is the highest-grossing indie film in the country.
“Then, I didn’t hear from him for a long time,” Ogie recounted. “When Piolo finally came back to me, he said that he liked it and would like to produce it with me … 50/50.”
That was how he ended up not just acting in but producing his first Cinemalaya film, as well. He called himself a “newbie,” twice over.
Winning best actor is the furthest thing from his mind, though.
“Oh my goodness,” he quipped. “There are so many good actors this year. I am just happy to be here … to be in the company of great artists who love what they do.”
Going indie has taught him to value his craft all the more. “The conditions were not easy. We were not pampered. We were treated like ordinary actors. But I like working in that kind of environment, where everyone is serious and dedicated. And if we need to give up sleep … so be it.”
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