“The film is brave and bold. It can be an eye opener for the younger generation and it can be a reminder to an older and seasoned generation.”
Mike de Leon’s latest film Citizen Jake, was shown twice at the UP Film Center’s Cine Adarna last Saturday, with jam-pack audience. However, no one knows when will it be released for commercial screening. Because until now, no distributor is certain. If it will be submitted to the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB), there’s no assurance it will merit a good grade.
On the other hand, will de Leon submit it to the MTRCB for classification? Will the reviewers classify the film fairly and accordingly, knowing that dialogues and images presented in the movie are bold, stirring and powerful? But what is clear from this point, the more than two thousand movie goers who flocked to Cine Adarna and had the golden opportunity to watch the much-awaited motion picture, would undoubtedly remember the character of the bodyguard and hitman played by Richard Quan.
Working for the first time with de Leon, Quan shared the audition process for the film. “It was very casual, very cool. In my 20-year career, I rarely go to auditions. Dennis Evangelista, our line producer then, informed me about the audition. During the audition, he just made me read the lines.”
Richard added, “I do not know what exactly he was looking for and if there was really a part for me. Prior to going to the audition, someone told me, that he wants everything internal, coming really from my emotions. In all my roles, I always played for truth, I do not want the audience to see me as RIchard, I want them to see me as my character.”
“After the audition, no one called me. I said, to myself, probably I did not get it,” Quan continued. “Well, I think someone from the production made a mistake about the information given to direk Mike. He was told I was busy with TV or something. But a week before my shoot, another person from the production told him that I was available. And as we were talking, nakakakilig to know from him that I got the part from the first audition.”
The actor carried on, “Hiyang-hiya nga ako when he said sorry, na dapat I should have been on the set earlier. I am thankful that he really wanted me to do the role of Enchong, I was the bodyguard and hitman.”
Quan added, “I know Mike de Leon is a special director. I have to admit, the only film of him that I had watched, yung movie about incest, Kisapamata. But I didn’t know that he was the director. And when I learned that he was the one, ,napa wow talaga ako. Prior to the shoot, pinanood ko talaga yung mga iba niya pang films, like Sister Stella L, Kung Managarap Ka’t Magising, Kakaba-kaba and Batch 81.”
Richard said, “His greatness, for me, came from the experience of working with him, so many days of learning, a lot of experiences of working and guided by a film master, yes, I missed a few days, but I’ll never forget the rehearsals which lasted for two hours. You know, I do not remember, in my 20 years in the business, this was the first time, after exhausting his actors, in a rehearsal, he would ask you, ‘are you all comfortable with the scene?’ Wow! Iba and dating nun sa akin. Grabe ang respeto niya sa amin bilang mga artista. He gives you your artistic space to explore and he makes sure that you’re comfortable with what you are doing. Saludo ako sa kanya.”
Are people really afraid of him in the set? Richard answered said, “In 11 days or so that we were shooting with him, I can say he’s so cool as a director, contrary to rumors that he has his tantrums. I’ve never experienced that though.”
Quan related, “You know, this came initially as a shock or a pleasant surprise to everyone. I was able to approach him right away. When I arrived at the shoot, I had my script so I wanted to ask him what’s my scenes for the day. To whom do I talk to? Of course, with him, our director. As I was approaching him, I can see from my peripheral vision, as if everyone was stunned. Tt seemed like they were all jolted and shocked to see me heading to where direk Mike was. Parang ang nangyari, may batas akong hindi sinunod. He was quite hot-headed that day, so when I approached him, he said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I felt that he was not feeling great. So, I said to him, ‘I’ll ask about my role. ‘ He said, ‘Ah okay.’ And since that time, everything was smooth after that. ”
Richard admitted that he will not forget his experience working with direk Mike de Leon, “After watching the whole movie, I was surprised. I did not know that this will be the outcome.”
He divulged, “During the shoot I told Atom that Direk Mike gave us a different working atmosphere. If on TV, we do 20 to 25 sequences in a day, in this film, we do only 2, and we shoot it in a chronological order. How can you make a mistake? You shoot your scenes in a chronological manner, in Baguio and Manila, that’s how he work. Such a manner of shooting helped all of us. You will not go wrong with such a shooting system.
Then he concluded, “. I’m really grateful to be one of the Citizen Jake artists. It’s a great honor for me to be directed by Mike de Leon. When we finally land in cinemas, please give us your love and support. Direk Mike de Leon may have been away for the past 18 years, but this film is his gift to us. He wants to wake us up.”