Direk Joel: Sina Richard at KC na nga

PNS — MOTHER Lily Monteverde says she takes her hat off to Richard Gutierrez and KC Concepcion for their tireless efforts to make “When I Met U” a first-rate romantic film that will surely please the crowd.

“Hanga ako sa dedication nila sa trabaho,” she adds. “Parang hindi sila napapagod kahit panay-panay ang shooting at napupuyat sila, tapos they joined the Sinulog pa and still had time to give in to their fans for photo sessions.”

“When I Met U” director Joel Lamangan agrees with Mother Lily. “I’ve worked with a lot of young stars at sila ang dalawa sa may pinakamagandang attitude,” he says. “In Club Paradise at Coron, Palawan, when their seaplane supposedly crashed, pina-dive ko sila sa tubig fully clothed then they have to swim against the huge waves at wala silang reklamo kahit mahirap mag-swim na mabigat ang damit mo. Later, pinalu-song ko sila sa putik at nagpagulung-gulong sila roon, wala ring complaints.”

The past year has been a good one for Direk Joel. January 1 started with the showing of “Desperadas 1” and the year ended with the release of “Desperadas 2” on Christmas Day and both films made money. In between, he also did “Manay Po 2” and “Walang Kawala” that also rated well at the box office. On TV, he did hits like “Babangon Ako’t Dudurugin Kita” and “Una Kang Naging Akin”. He has finished another new film, “Fuchsia” starring Gloria Romero and Eddie Garcia. “Tapos, heto, kauumpisa ng taon, napunta sa’kin ang ‘When I Met U’, that I’m now really enjoying to direct,” he adds.

Did he talk to Joey Reyes before accepting “When I Met U”? “Of course, bumusina muna ako sa kanya. I call him Gunding and he calls me Iska and I called him at sabi ko, ‘Gunding, inaalok sa’kin ang ‘When I Met U’, okay lang ba sa’yo?’ And he said, ‘Oo naman, nag-resign na ako diyan. Kung gusto mong gawin, bahala ka’. The first thing I did is read the script at nagbigay ako ng sarili kong inputs and they rewrote it.”

So how is it directing Richard and KC? “Enjoy ako to do a kilig film. I have not done this kind of movie for a while and I want to make sure hindi pa ako out of touch doing romantic comedies. Ang maganda, there’s also great chemistry between the two leads. Ang ganda-ganda tingnan nina Richard at KC on screen at ang problema mo na lang is how to come up with scenes na kikiligin talaga ang mga tao. It’s easy to direct KC kahit first time namin together because she reminds me so much of her mom, si Sharon Cuneta, the way they laugh and their mannerisms. Very professional sila pareho at very intelligent. Pareho sila ni Richard na ang ganda ng attitude sa trabaho. Close sa crew, lahat binabati, at hindi fake kundi it comes from within. They’re both beautiful persons, inside and out.”

But is there pressure in doing the film? “Yes, definitely. Una ‘yung pressure na matapos kami on schedule as we have a Valentine playdate to meet. Tapos ‘yung pressure na kaila-ngan kumita ito, kung maari much more than their first film. But I love pressure. That’s my middle name. Pag walang pressure sa buhay ko, I get bored. Mas nape-pressure ako kapag walang pressure, kahit inatake na ako, huh.”

What does he think is the real score between Richard and KC? “They’re really so sweet to each other. Laging nagho-holding hands, laughing and talking to each other na parang silang dalawa lang ang tao sa mundo. Kung minsan nga, nakakagalitan ko, kasi take na, parang wala pa ring ibang tao sa paligid nila. I talked to KC nga kasi parang sila ni Richard, they just concentrate on each other when they’re together so I told her: ‘You are my granddaughter, kasi your mom is my anak, so I’m your grandma, so listen to me.’ And she said okay, okay. If you’d ask me, I really think sila na ngang dalawa.”