While it’s easy to judge that a comedian, a teen star and a beauty queen would be miscast in a single movie, Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla and Pia Wurtzbach are out to prove they can and will be a hit in “Gandarrapido: The Revenger Squad.”
Directed by Joyce Bernal and written by Danno Mariquit, Star Cinema’s official entry to this month’s Metro Manila Film Festival has actually staged a coup in gathering three of the most talked about showbiz personalities in a superhero movie.
In the Revengers, Comedian Vice—who has conquered both the big and small screens with blockbuster hits “Praybeyt Benjamin” and “The Super Parental Guardians,” and “It’s Showtime” and “Gandang Gabi Vice” respectively—has the role of “Gandarra,” the appointed protector of the Earth. Unfortunately, the story finds him with temporary memory loss and thus lives as the simpleton Emmy.
Padilla, meanwhile, plays Chino, Emmy’s younger brother who lived a normal life until his quick super powers manifest. Hailed as showbiz’ “Teen King” with a string of romantic flicks opposite perennial partner Kathryn Bernardo, Padilla becomes “Rappido” in The Revengers.
Finally, Miss Universe 2015 Wurtzbach’s big return to the big screen—having started a career as a teen with ABS-CBN—finds her as “Kweenie,” an eccentric superhero who suddenly comes into the lives of the siblings. The Revengers is Wurtzbach’s first lead role on the big screen, having previously appeared in “All My Life” (2004) and “All About Love” (2006)before focusing on pageantry.
On the surface, it would seem like the trio of stars are poles apart, not just in talent but also personality. Vice is well loved for his loud and frank nature; Padilla is idolized for his cool, kilig and serious roles; and of course, Wurtzbach is worshipped for her beauty, grace and poise, as well as admired as a champion of HIV awareness and the LGBT community.
Happily though, the actors revealed at The Revengers’ grand press conference all the way in Enchanted Kingdom that they get along well on the set.
“It actually felt like we were playing—ang daming tawa sa set! Sobrang saya lang at hindi ako nahirapan sa movie na ito,” Wurtzbach divulged.
“But of course, we respect each other on set so kahit may kulitan, we know when to get into business mode for our scenes,” Vice Ganda assured.
Pia’s new reign, Vice’s extended role
Besides enjoying themselves on set, their director related on her part that the casting worked for the camera with nothing but praises for each actor’s performance.
According to Bernal, Wurtzbach—who The Manila Times previously reported took a refresher acting course—“can make fun of herself” given the comedy entailed in The Revengers.
“She doesn’t come on set with an attitude that ‘I am Miss Universe,’ not even a bit of that. I also admire that she really puts in the time to study her role,” she commended.
“At saka si Pia, wala sa timing, but that’s what actually made her funny,” Vice butted in, unable to control his laughter.
“Pia is a natural, she has been surrounded by gays throughout her journey in the pageant so kumbaga, immersed na siya!” Vice further enthused, adding they instantly felt a connection ever since she guested on his Sunday night talk show after winning Miss Universe.
“But seriously, right from the first time we were put together on screen, Pia and I had chemistry na, kaya hindi masyadong mahirap to work with her.”
Wurtzbach returned Vice’s praises whom she considers one of the key people who made her return to acting easier.
“More than being a co-star, Vice has guided me to help improve my acting,” she said gratefully.
She further expressed admiration for the work Vice has given the movie beyond his capacity as an actor.
“He really is the brains of all the jokes. Sometimes he comes up with a joke on the spot, while we’re doing a scene. Talagang napabilib ako sa kanya kasi ang dami kong natutunan and since then, I’ve become a fan,” Wurtzbach shared.
Even Padilla—who caught the tail-end of the press conference what with his tight taping schedule for prime time drama “La Luna Sanggre”—attested to Vice’s talent. The young actor also credited the comedian for taking an active part in designing the superhero costumes.
Promting Vice to talk about it, the comedian obliged and said, “From the very beginning, I wanted my costume to be very colorful so that kids can easily recognize my character Gandarra.
“For Pia, I fought for her to be in a two-piece because she can confidently wear it, she has a very different energy when wearing one.
“And for Daniel, we decided to highlight his manly image, pang-balanse sa outrageous outfits namin, ika nga,” Vice finally noted with a rightful hint of pride.
Now that Vice has returned to arguably the most profitable season for the movie industry, he did not hesitate to say he wants P1 billion in revenue for The Revengers.
A consistent top grosser in the festival since 2012, his starrers have always hit the P300-million mark at the very least—Sisterakas” (2012) earned P393-million; “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy” (2013) P421 million; “The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin” (2014) P455 million; and “Beauty and the Bestie” (2015) P529 million.
Had his film “The Super Parental Guardians with Coco Martin”made it to last year’s festival—an edition that hogged headlines for carrying mostly indie films—his MMFF record of P529 million would have been toppled with P590-million box office receipts.
As such, it can be argued that Vice is in the right mind to aspire for a figure that has never been made by a single movie in local cinema.
Finally asked what draws him to make movies for the MMFF, having limited himself to a single big screen project per year, the comedian wholeheartedly replied, “Christmas is the happiest season of the whole year. I have always loved to have a movie in the MMFF because I want the whole family, children included, to have a movie they can watch and enjoy altogether.”