“We overshot the budget for the pilot week on our very first taping day,” was the excited and slightly sheepish confession of top TV director Dominic Zapata, when The Manila Times asked him what’s in store for viewers come Monday night on GMA Network.
Later today on prime time, the second installment of Zapata’s action series, “Alyas Robinhood,” starring Dingdong Dantes will begin its weeknights run.
“So definitely, we have bigger action scenes along with a bigger cast, because for me, we have to do this for television to beat the threat of new entertainment platforms coming at us from all angles,” he explained.
Known to push boundaries with radical concepts for TV—the Emmy-nominated gay-themed series “My Husband’s Lover;” a look into lesbian relationships in “The Richman’s Wife;” and grand fantasy series “Mulawin” and its ongoing sequel “Mulawin vs. Ravena”—Zapata said he will stop at nothing to keep TV relevant in this day and age, and on a bigger scale, to push the Filipino series into the caliber of international productions.
“The nomination of My Husband’s Lover at the Emmy’s earned me a seat as a judge for foreign series, and while I am amazed by the quality of soaps in Brazil and Korea among other countries, I know that if Filipino directors just had their technology, we can easily join their ranks. We have good concepts but we need more support in the task of execution.”
As such, Zapata is known to produce makeshift devices on the spot to get his cameras moving as fast as Dantes in chase scenes for example, just to get the best shot possible.
“Imagine what we could if we had the technology that ‘Game of Thrones’ has?” he dreamt out loud. “But like I said, for Alyas, we have pushed the boundaries and we will keep on pushing the boundaries.”
The return of the action series will find Dingdong Dantes as Pepe de Jesus anew, a former vigilante known as Robin Hood, and now a full-fledged lawyer taking on pro bono cases for the poor and the oppressed.
Like Zapata, Dantes has upped his game for the second installment, “Kapag sinabi mong part two, whatever you saw last season kailangan mag double up in terms of the drama, the action, sa comedy, total look, production value. Double up lahat. Biyaya sa amin na nabigyan kami ng second season kaya dodoblehin namin ‘yung saya na maaaring i-expect nila at gagawin talaga namin ‘yan.”
Joining him in the doubled up cast are Ruru Madrid, Edu Manzano, Gary Estrada, Paolo Contis, Jay Manalo, Rey “PJ” Abellana, Gio Alvarez, KC Montero, and female prime time stars Jaclyn Jose, Andrea Torres and Solenn Heussaff.