Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, March 29, 2009
By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
After announcing that his much-awaited fight against Ricky Hatton will be aired on ABS-CBN, Pacquiao made an apologetic announcement honoring the exclusive rights of GMA-7 and Solar Sports to broadcast his May 2 title bout.
It’s a mission accomplished for GMA Network vice president for entertainment Wilma Galvante, who personally flew to Los Angeles to have a serious talk with the boxing champ. In a text message sent by the executive, she said, “God is good and Manny Pacquiao will remain a Kapuso.”
Pacquiao, who is part of the series Totoy Bato that also stars Robin Padilla and Regine Velasquez, is having his rigid training in the States to prepare for his fight scheduled in May. He made a controversial announcement that surprised both GMA Network and Solar Sports.
“We were very very surprised and at the same time very disappointed because we looked at all angles and we felt that wasn’t a smart decision,” Solar Sports’ vice president for sales and marketing Jude Turcuaco told Standard Today last week.
Solar Sports immediately held a press conference to discuss the matter with the media and to answer questions hounding the issue. According to Turcuaco, the network’s president and chief executive Wilson Tieng and chief operating officer Peter Chanliong flew to Los Angeles to talk to Pacquiao.
The major development happened after the executive had a thorough discussion with the boxing champ and convinced him not to rescind his contract with Solar Sports because it’s binding and valid.
Meanwhile at the same press conference, the lawyers who are handling the issue stated that Manny Pacquiao’s announcement and attempt to cancel the license agreement was based on the misinterpretation of facts. They added that Pacquiao may have been misled or misguided that Solar Entertainment has committed a breach of contract, but the fact is that Solar has complied with the agreement.
The sports cable channel signed a block-time agreement with GMA-7 to telecast all the fights of Pacquiao until May 2011.
The controversy started when Solar Sports apparently didn’t fulfill its financial obligation to Pacman who was supposed to receive 25 percent of the payment 10 days after the fight contract was signed last January. The boxer made a decision to rescind his contract to Solar Sports and chose ABS-CBN to cover his bout with Hatton and his three remaining fights scheduled within the next two years.
It was reported that Pacquiao also chose ABS-CBN because it can give better coverage and bigger exposure in helping him for his bid for the elections in 2010.
Solar Sports, however, denied that it was negligent to its financial obligation to the boxing icon. But the cable channel apparently deposited the money, which Pacquiao was asking in advance, only last March 17.
The sports cable channel executive Turcuaco stated that legal means are its last option, the initially prepared P150-million lawsuit against Pacquiao was supposed to protect all parties involved in the contract. Now that Pacquiao has decided to cooperate with Solar Sports and GMA-7, everything is well and all parties are back at work.
On the latest development, ABS-CBN made an announcement that it respects the decision of Manny Pacquiao to reconsider his contract to GMA and Solar Sports. The network made this decision to ease things out and avoid for the matter to reach the courtroom.
By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
Is Cesar Montano going to run for a political post again? Well, the right person to answer this question is no other than Cesar himself.
The actor plunged into politics when he made a sudden decision to join the Senate slate in the 2007 elections under the administration’s TEAM Unity. Critics said it was an immature and bad decision. Apart from the fact that actors are no longer popular in winning the elections, Cesar’s senatorial bid was unexpected and his platform was too limited to arts and culture development, relatively unpopular among voters.
“No regrets at all. I learned a lot of things from that experience,” said Cesar during a short talk with the press after the launch of Western Union Gold Card at Teatrino in Greenhills recently.
Cesar is challenged by a clamor asking him to enter politics again. This time, Boholanos are asking him to run as a governor in his hometown.
“I’m almost considering it,” said the 46-year-old actor and occasional movie director. “What delay my decision are questions that I need to answer like, ‘Can I live there for five days and stay here in Manila for just two days to check on my kids?’ Or ‘Can I just transfer my kids there to study, what about my shows and shooting?’ And there are more questions that I need to discuss with my wife,” Cesar explained.
The actor is considering other matters that do not just involve his family but also the people and the province he would be serving in case he’d be voted for a government position. He mentioned that his presence in Bohol would be greatly needed as the father of the province.
The finality of his answer also depends on the decision of his wife, Sunshine Cruz. The Singing Bee host said he is consulting Sunshine and that they are both going to decide on the matter.
“We’ve talked about this thing but I told her that there’s no need to hurry deciding on it. I told her that we could decide later on, maybe on the last quarter of the year,” the actor said, noting the sentiments of his wife and family.
Once final with his decision, Cesar would be up against congressmen from the province who are in their last terms. There is also a strong possibility that the incumbent vice governor of the province would be his strong rival. When asked about the qualifications that suits him for the position, the award-winning actor exclaimed, “The island of Bohol is a tourist zone, I’m in [the] film business. Movie is a great and a very powerful medium to elevate the tourism of an island. I’m saying that because na-prove ko na ’yan with Panaghoy Sa Suba that won 37 awards from abroad. I was able to introduce Loboc River through the film, and dumagsa ang mga tourists sa lugar after that.”
Panaghoy Sa Suba, also referred as Cry of the River, is a 2004 film that earned different accolades here and abroad. Cesar produced, directed and starred the film.
Cesar is excited about a new project that he is willing to do this year even if he wouldn’t get any support from any big film outfits.
“I’m interested to do the [movie on] Francisco Dagohoy, kasi talagang taga-Bohol ’yun. Si Francisco Dagohoy, led the longest revolt in the Philippines, his story is part of our history. Another one is Eskaya, parang alibata ’yan… Alibata [a pre-Spanish writing system] from Luzon, Eskaya from the south,” Cesar discussed.
Eskaya, which Cesar is very excited about, is actually a name of an indigenous group found in the mountainous area of Bohol. Its language Eskayan interestingly has no clear relationship with any known language.
“Many people think that early Filipinos were illiterate. They didn’t know that Filipinos could communicate, we could write, we could read already, even before, way before the Spanish came to the Philippines. We need to share this to the world. I’m thinking of doing it this year, kahit indie I will do it, the Philippines has to do it,” the determined actor said.
Cesar added that he is in regular talk with his Hollywood contacts that would be instrumental in introducing Bohol as good place for location shoot for international movies.
“Two weeks ago, I was in the US. Kausap ko ’yung nag-produce ng The Great Raid [Cesar’s first Hollywood film] and Titanic. I meet people and I gather stories suited for international release. ’Yung mga stories na pwedeng gamitan ng 70 percent na salitang Ingles para maging American picture, parang Slumdog [Millionaire]. We don’t lack talents, we only need to be aggressive, and we need contacts,” the actor related.
He already foresees the project that he might get involved with once elected. To the question that connects him to running as a governor of Bohol in the elections next year, “I’m 70 percent sure,” was his answer.
“Isa pa ’yan na pwede kong gawin sa Bohol . But if I can prove to our Hollywood connections that Bohol is one of the safest places to shoot a movie, then with just one film, ang tourism ay aangat,” he ended and coined the word Bohollywood.
Monday, March 23, 2009
By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
LaMB premieres 8 p.m. tonight. It is the first multi-platform, multi-disciplinary, and multi-media production for online, mobile and television produced by Animax.
This $6-million animated film, the biggest Animax original production, is also the channel’s first production in High Definition to be broadcast across several countries. The story is inspired by the script submitted by Filipino amateur writer Carmelo Juinio to the Animax Awards 2007 pan-Asia scriptwriting contest.
Juinio’s entry entitled Laminated Woman: To the Sand Planet Cerra, won in the Philippine leg of the competition and was sent to the regional competition in Japan where it won second prize.
“I lost in the finals in Japan. I massively missed on the fact that I do not have a strong child character in the script. I think all animés should have a strong child character even if it is just a sidekick. Most animés are really about kids,” Carmelo Junio told us before the special screening of the full-length animated movie.
Laminated Woman lost out to the competition winner Takane’s Bike written by Hayato Takamaga from Japan.
According to Animax, Juinio’s script impressed Japanese industry experts with its dark beauty and soulful depth, and was accorded a Special Award recognition for his amazing talent. Handpicked from over 3,000 entries across Asia, LaMB is centered on the life of a woman in a laminated suit.
“Japanese people have a peculiar way of shortening long words. So from laminated, they made it lamb,” the amateur writer said explaining how the title became LaMB from the original “Laminated Woman,” adding also that lamination is a system of virtual slavery that punishes convicts yet still makes them productive members of the society.
The writer’s meme
LaMB revolves around the story of two protagonists named Eve, a laminated woman or simply a LaMB, and Jack, a scientist who is on a mission to turn the unforgiving landscape of planet Cerra green.
“The real-life inspiration would be two people sitting in the same room, probably colleagues at work, they’re seated right across each other but they don’t communicate. It is the same thing here, but it is more extreme,” Juinio conveyed.
He added that a laminated person can barely speak nor make his own decisions. So the two protagonists are practically in the same room but they are not communicating until they discover something which is very Filipino, a communication tool which is equivalent to text messaging.
“My ideas are accidental; it’s opportunistic in the sense that for example the dinosaurs became extinct and the little furry creatures at that time evolved into large mammals and eventually into us, humans. So I guess it’s opportunism in a grand scale, mine is opportunism in a smaller scale,” the writer related.
Juinio seemed awestricken seeing the animated film for the very first time. He believes that there were changes made in the script to adapt the story to other Asian audiences.
“I tried to control my emotional level because it’s bad for the health, it causes ulcer and all, you know. My excitement is actually gradual; it’s like gradually a rising hill. I’m not overly excited,” Juinio said before the screening.
Juinio, who proclaimed himself as a professional bum (a creative bum that is), said that the idea of the story has been with him all along. Something came to him at the turn of the century but it was only when the contest came around that he took opportunity to evolve the idea into something concrete.
“It came about through evolution, it was a very germ of an idea, I can’t remember what precisely it was but it was a very simple idea like a song in the night, I have this vision of two people holding hands and not touching,” Juinio concluded.
LaMB will have special encores on March 25 to 29 for the Part 1, and Part 2 will be broadcast on March 30. The animated movie also features French-Canadian band Simple Plan and the American band The Click Five. Both bands produced songs that serve as title tracks of the movie. Meanwhile, Hong Kong actress Josie Ho and Taiwan’s heartthrob Van Ness Wu are also part of the animated movie as voice actors of the main characters, Eve and Jack.
By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
This year’s most anticipated and ambitious program to be produced on primetime television is the first and official localized version of the story of a fictional character created in the early 20th century.
Zorro, GMA Network’s latest addition to its strong Telebabad block, will be headlined by Richard Gutierrez playing the role of Antonio Pelaez, a nobleman and master swordsman living in the Spanish colonial era.
Gutierrez is set to charm three of the television’s hottest and equally talented young actresses: Rhian Ramos as Lolita, the ladylove of Zorro; Bianca King as Cara; and Michelle Madrigal as Juana.
According to GMA vice president for entertainment Wilma Galvante, this world-class series is shot entirely in the picturesque and Spanish-inspired location in Bagac, Bataan. She added that viewers will have a visual trip into the past with the presence of grand old-style houses, cobblestones pathways and fortifications. The scenes that feature gypsies, carnivals, circus actors, courtesans and pirates are few of the main attractions that will give the series an authentic Spanish-era feel.
Directed by distinguished directors who have helmed numerous top-rating programs in GMA: Mark Reyes, the man behind successful series Encantadia and Codename: Asero; and Dominic Zapata, the virtuoso director whose projects include Mulawin and Captain Barbell, are out to transform the Legend of Zorro into a moving tale that will captivate local audience starting today.
The masked hero
At the grand launch of the series, which was indeed a grandiose event, Richard entered the newly built state-of-the-art Studio 7 of GMA hovering across the venue through a harness connected to a cable. He then gave the entertainment press a peek of what kind of action viewers can expect from the action-packed made-for-television program.
“Our main goal is not to surpass what the original Zorro did. We just want him to look like a Pinoy. With the help and cooperation of the whole team, I think we are on the right track,” Richard related when he was flanked by the press.
Richard will be seen carrying a long, slender, two-edged sword throughout the series, as he reprises the role of the masked hero.
According to the actor, although he knows how to ride a horse, he had to undergo training in horseback riding to prepare for the role. Just like the whole cast, he also had Spanish lessons to prepare his tongue in pronouncing foreign words included in the script. As part of the preparation, the actor even studied fencing that primed him for difficult skirmishing stunts.
The blazing ‘Z’ mark
The original Zorro is famous for branding his tyrants on the chest with a blazing “Z” mark. Will this new series make another mark to GMA’s primetime block?
Zorro is Richard’s seventh collaboration with the station after Mulawin, Sugo, Captain Barbell, Lupin, Kamandag, and Codename: Asero. All of these top-rating programs gave Richard the moniker “Primetime King.” Aside from the established connection the actor has made with the loyal Kapuso viewers, the series’ powerhouse cast is also one of the program’s main attractions.
The star-studded cast are Eddie Gutirrez as Governor Luis Argon, Mark Gil as Capt. Horacio Pelaez, TJ Trinidad as Ramon Pelaez, Jomari Yllana as Diego dela Vega, Sandy Andolong as Maria, Pinky Marquez as Doña Catalina Pulido, Leo Martinez as Don Carlos Pulido, Bobby Andrews as Sgt. Pedro Gonzales, Ricky Davao as Padre Felipe, Sheena Halili as Lena, Bubbles Paraiso as Magda, Maureen Larazabal as Bella, Robert Villar as Pepe, Antonio Aquitania as Bernardo, Elvis Gutierrez as Silverio, Epi Quizon as Shishong, Bodie Cruz as Agustin Manalo, Paloma as Paquita, Shiela Marie as Liza, and Gloria Sevilla as Nana Zita.
The program that also boasts lavish production design and exceptional visual effects tells a story of a skilled horseman who becomes the champion of the masses. Abandoned by his courtesan mother (Marcela, to be played by Lani Meracdo) at a young age, Antonio (Richard Gutierrez) was raised under the care of the well-off haciendero Don Roberto Pelaez (Joel Torre) and his wife Doña Chiquita (Jacklyn Jose).
Amidst being raised by an affluent family, Antonio builds close ties with the commoners called Indios and empathizes with their plight. The romance, on the other hand, starts when Antonio meets the hardheaded Lolita (Rhian Ramos), during his search for his mother.
“I’m excited about this. Even though I didn’t audition, I’m still happy that I got the part,” Rhian revealed. “I’m so happy to be with a leading man I’m comfortable working with.”
The young actress said that because of her busy schedule during the casting of the series, she wasn’t able to audition for the plum role, but it was anyway her intention to be part of the much awaited series. Zorro is the third onscreen tandem of Rhian and Richard after Captain Barbell and Lupin.