Ai Ai de las Alas, who briefly headlined two independently-produced dramas via “Area” and “Ronda,” has polished off the dust from her Comedy Queen crown as she returns to the genre that made her a star. Opening in cinemas on October 18 is “Bes and the Beshies” from Cineko Productions, which should delight de las Alas’ fans who have been waiting to roll with laughter again.
The comedienne, however, was quick to point out that Bes and the Beshies is not just her film alone. On Monday’s grand media conference, she proudly declared that she headlines the comedy with three very talented actresses in Carmi Martin, Beauty Gonzales and Zsa Zsa Padilla. And “laugh out loud” as the movie promises to be, the four leading ladies agreed their characters and the story that brings them together show real life struggles of women too.
De las Alas’ role as Charla hits pretty close to home. She plays a single mother from experience having raised her children on her own for many years. But unlike Ina, de las Alas’ most famous role in the “Ang Tanging Ina” movie franchise, her portrayal of Charla focuses more on relationship issues rather than maternal concerns.
“I can relate to my role because I have worked many jobs before I became an actress. I did so many things so I can send my children to a good school, same as Charla does here in the movie,” the Comedy Queen shared.
“At the same time, the role touches on women empowerment because we fight for the love of our family, and our roles are not submissive to men. We fight for our rights as a woman,” she added.
Visayan Zsa Zsa
While Zsa Zsa Padilla is more identified in doing dramas, the singer-actress is not exactly new to comedies. It will be recalled that she essayed the title role of “Zsa Zsa Zaturnah” and her famous Filipino-Chinese character in “Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife,” which won her the grand slam for Best Actress.
In “Bes and the Beshies,” Padilla’s performance as a martyr wife Mabel is something to watch out for.
“I cannot personally relate to my role as a martyr wife because of course there should always be a give and take in every relationship,” Padilla expressed. “All the same the only challenging part of my role here is talking in the Visayan language. During the first few days [of shooting], our director Joel Lamangan was always getting angry with me because I found it hard to pull of the accent. It was a struggle for me to be consistent, but eventually I was able to get it and I think the result is believable.”
Comedy Carmi, versatile Beauty
No stranger to comedies herself, Martin—who was unable to make it to the media conference—has also made a career out of making people laugh since starring in the Ishmael Bernal classic “Working Girls.” In Bes and the Beshies, Martin plays Tisay, a role that is a throwback to the mostly ditzy and sexy characters she has mastered for the camera.
Finally, Gonzales, who became a household name as a favorite housemate in “Pinoy Big Brother” proves she is a versatile actress by seamlessly switching from dramas to comedies.
Though the youngest among the four leads, she holds her own in Bes and the Beshies as Sophie, a beauty contest regular, or in gay lingo, a “beaucontesera.”
Finally, what makes Bes and the Beshies a cut above your average comedy flick, besides its power women cast, is the fact that it is a collaboration between two award-winning movie bigwigs in Joel Lamangan and Ricky Lee.
The two respected showbiz personalities may have made a name for themselves in dramatic movies and politically themed films, but they have also succeeded in comedies in between their critically acclaimed outings.
Lamangan directed “Zsa Zsa Zaturnah,” “Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife” and more recently, romantic-comedies in “Your Place or Mine,” “That Thing Called Tanga Na” and “Foolish Love.”
Lee, arguably the most celebrated screenwriter in Philippine cinema, also served as script consultant for de las Alas’ blockbuster movies “Ang Tanging Ina” and “Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat.”
Letting their creative team speak for their work in Bes and the Beshies, Alpha Habon who is one of three scriptwriters said, “What is more important for us is the message of the film other than the medium. Our goal is to make people laugh while also touching their hearts. We just want to make sure there is truth in the story even if it’s a comedy.”
“The message of the movie is no matter how many lows you experience in life, so long as you fight, you will be happy. The title of the film as you might see is from the Filipino expression ‘Bes, may nanalo na’ so what we want is to let everyone know that all of us can be a winner in the end as long as we try hard enough to push ourselves to better our lives,” another young writer, Rod Marmol, added.
That said, Lamangan and Lee guarantee the audiences can expect Bes and the Beshies to be a comedy that goes beyond offering more than just escapist entertainment, presenting a piece of reality like every good movie should, regardless of genre.
Completing the cast of Bes and the Beshies are Emilio Garcia, Sancho Vito delas Alas, Alan Paule, Nikko Natividad, Jon Lucas, Wilbert Ross, Mark Joseph Tam and Heaven Peralejo.
The film opens in cinemas nationwide on October 18 and will be distributed by Regal Entertainment.