Why RK Bagatsing didn’t want to meet Rey Valera before filming screen musical
RK Bagatsing, who plays singer-composer Rey Valera in the screen musical “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko,” said he purposely did not meet the iconic artist prior to filming because he was sure he’d “give in to pressure and commit major acting mistakes.”
“I said I’d rather meet him when we’re done with the film. Anyway, there were enough materials on him to study—YouTube clips, his concerts and his interviews. I also believe that there’s a part of him in all the songs he wrote and sang, you only have to listen. When you play music, your mood shifts instantly. It’s the same when you’re acting,” RK told reporters during a recent gathering where Rey was also present.
Joven Tan’s “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko: The Music of Rey Valera” is an official entry to the 1st Summer Metro Manila Film Festival, which will run from April 8 to April 18.
RK, who said he was aware that he wasn’t the first choice for the role, added that he also doubted his acting capabilities in the beginning. “I told them (producers) that I sing, but I’m not that good, so I might not be the actor for the project. But they explained that the songs were prerecorded and that they just want someone to give heart to each of these songs. ‘That’s why we need you,’ they said. At this point in my career, I don’t want to always be in my comfort zone. The idea of starring in this movie is making me nervous, which is exactly what I want to feel before I agree to take on a project,” RK explained.
Filming, however, was surprisingly “light and easy,” according to the actor. “I’m actually trying to remember which part was difficult to do, but I can’t think of any apart from having to wear a wig because it was too hot on the set. I just felt like I went to the set to listen to good music. I really enjoyed working on this. Direk Joven is also very easy to work with,” he told reporters.
Inspires, gives hope
Prior to the special screening for the media and cast members held last Saturday night at Gateway Cinemas in Quezon City, RK said a more intimate one had been arranged especially for Rey some two weeks ago. This was also where the two personally met. “Coming in, I couldn’t hide my nervousness. When we got together, I couldn’t express well what I wanted to say to him because I was so intimidated. In my mind, I kept saying, ‘This is him … the man I portrayed, the person the entire movie is based on!’ In fact, Sir Rey talked to me briefly, but what he said didn’t register in my head at all. That’s how affected I was.”
He continued: “While we were all watching the movie, he would look at his side—to where Direk Joven and I were seated—and would flash a thumbs up. After seeing the entire movie, he smiled at us and said, ‘This actually inspires and gives hope to those who are dreaming.”
When asked what songs of Rey he was most familiar with, the 34-year-old actor said: “We are all able to relate to his songs depending on what we’re going through at the moment. At one point, there’s a line, or a verse, or an entire song, that we feel reflects what we’re going through. He doesn’t just write about his personal experiences, but also of the people around him. I kept saying ‘Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” is a favorite, but right now, I am also able to relate to ‘Tayong Dalawa’ and ‘Malayo Pa ang Umaga.’”
‘Works in progress’
RK’s girlfriend, actress Jane Oineza, was present during the media screening and was able to watch the film for the first time. Prior to the screening, RK said: “Jane told me she’s very proud of me and even pointed out that a lot of Hollywood movies on famous musicians have been released lately, like ‘Elvis,’ ‘Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ and ‘Rocketman;’ and this is like our own version.”
“Everything is great,” said RK when asked to share something about the status of their relationship. “If there’s one thing that I’m happy about, it’s her career. A lot of exciting things are coming her way soon. We’d rather focus on that. We’ve been together for a while now and if you ask me, the secret is to always remember that we are both ‘works in progress.’ Nobody is perfect. The more you disagree on things, the more you should promise to give each other your unconditional love.”When Jane was asked to react to RK’s performance in the movie, she said: “I’m so proud, especially because I know how much he prepared for this project. I can’t believe I’ve finally seen the finished product. Rey Valera songs were on loop in all of our speakers. Whenever I’d see him after shooting, he would make me hear a different song by Sir Rey and tell me stories about his experiences related to that song. I not only know the stories behind all these songs, but tonight, I got to see him perform them, as well.”
Jane added: “All RK wanted was to make Sir Rey proud. I guess he has done that. As for me, it’s hard to pick a favorite Rey Valera song but, right now, I keep singing in my head the song ‘Ako si Superman.’ It’s for RK, for being with me, for saving me, and for helping me survive life, especially during the pandemic.”
“Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko: The Music of Rey Valera,” by Saranggola Media Productions, also features Meg Imperial, Ariel Rivera, Gelli de Belen, Christopher de Leon and Eric Nicolas, among others.