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Raymond Bagatsing back full speed

/ 09:16 PM July 31, 2011

Actor Raymond Bagatsing can very well relate to Filipino-American filmmaker Benito Bautista, director of his latest independent film “Boundary,” big winner in the Netpac [Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema] competition at the recent Cinemalaya fest.

Like Bautista, Bagatsing has just returned to the country after living in the United States for a while, and is thus seeing the Philippines with new eyes.

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“Direk keenly observed what was happening on the streets, imbibing the atmosphere and the city vibe,” Bagatsing said of the director. He himself sought to capture that on-screen. “Even though I’m from here, I had to look at the country as an outsider as well.”

For his role as a mysterious taxi passenger in “Boundary,” Bagatsing tapped into his past. He admits that coming from a political clan helped. “I had to exude quiet authority, the aura of a leader who is both kind-hearted and cold-blooded.”

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In this indie film, Bagatsing worked in a cramped cab with Ronnie Lazaro, who played the conflicted cabbie. “Ronnie is a generous coactor,” Bagatsing relates. “He’s a lot like me, though we have different work styles.”

No socializing

Lazaro recalls that he and Bagatsing chose not to socialize on the set so they could maintain a certain degree of detachment and unfamiliarity while cameras were grinding.

“I wanted our conversations on-screen to be awkward and tentative,” Bagatsing recounts. “We had to be convincing as strangers. Ronnie said he respected my way of preparation and went along with my method.”

Although he finds his roles in indie films fulfilling and meaningful, Bagatsing is thankful for mainstream projects—like his TV shows on GMA 7, “Amaya,” and the coming “Time of My Life.”

“I was away for four years… being welcomed back makes me all the more appreciative,” says Bagatsing. He is particularly thrilled by “Time of My Life,” a dance drama, because, he says, it allows him to “showcase” a different facet of his craft. “Dancing was my first love,” said the actor, who performed with Ballet Philippines in the 2000 production of “La Revolucion Filipinas.”

“When I was younger I was into break-dancing and gymnastics. Later, I got into ballet and Capoiera,” he related. “This new show is not just a monotonous acting gig for me. I’ll get to do some flips, stunts and dances.”—Bayani San Diego Jr.

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TAGS: Boundary, Celebrities, cinema, Entertainment, Philippines, Raymond Bagatsing
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