What we learned about 'That Thing Called Tadhana' from the Lockdown Cinema Club's live script reading
MANILA, Philippines – Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman reunited on Sunday, April 12 to read excerpts from the script of the hit 2014 movie That Thing Called Tadhana, with director Antoinette Jadaone as narrator and poet Juan Miguel Severo as moderator.
The live script reading and discussion was part of Lockdown Cinema Night's activities, which aims to raise funds for movie workers displaced by the Luzon-wide lockdown and coronavirus pandemic.
During the discussion, Angelica, Tonette, and JM talked about the movie and whether a sequel is possible.
Improvisation. According to Tonette, Angelica and JM adlibbed a lot. One particular improvised scene has since become iconic – when Mace (Angelica) said "Tange, hindi pa start" (It hasn't even started yet!) during the scene at the Victory Liner Bus stopover. Mace and Anthony (JM) in that scene had just agreed to pay a P100 fine for every mention of Mace's ex.
JM, meanwhile, also improvised in one pivotal scene. After Mace's breakdown at the karaoke room, JM decided it was better for Anthony to offer an awkward (but arguably endearing) shoulder, instead of a hug.
A sequel? According to Tonette, she has written a few sequences for a possible sequel. "May nasulat na akong first few sequences pero hindi ko pa siya natutuloy." (I've written the first few sequences but I haven't finished it.)
Tonette said that the sequences involves Filipinos working abroad, with Singapore as a location.
Crowd funding. Tonette said the Cinema One Originals entry had used up all of its P2 million funding when they realized that using Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" would come at a high cost.
Tonette, fellow director and partner Dan Villegas, and producer Bianca Balbuena raised funds and shelled out their own cash so that the song – which is featured in the karaoke room scene – would still be in the movie.
That thing called a different title. Tonette said that the original title of the script was The Mace Castillo Story: Lord Panget Ba Ako, an ode to the masscare films that became popular in the Philippines back in the 80s and 90s.
The locations in the movie are close to Tonette's heart. When asked why she chose Sagada and Baguio as her locations, Tonette said the places are special to her.
"Personal siya para sa akin kasi nung una kong napuntahan ang Sagada... nung nakita ko sa harap ko yung sea of clouds, parang sabi ko in the future, balang araw, gagawan ko ng pelikula ito, yung Sagada." (It wasa personal choice because the first time I went to Sagada, when I saw the sea of clouds, I told myself that one day, I'll make a movie about this.)
Both Angelica and JM loved the script. Tonette gave Angelica the script shortly after the filming of Beauty and the Bottle, which Tonette had also directed. The actress said she didn't read the script right away and only chanced upon it again while cleaning her home office. It was a quote in the script – about love – that hooked her immediately.
"Binasa ko siya. Alalang-alala ako as in nag-panic ako na feeling ko napunta na sa iba yung role or ginawa na yung pelikula," Angelica said. "So hinabol ko yung project na direk ako ito, akin ito."
(I read the script. And I was worried, I panicked because I thought the role had gone to someone else or that the movie was already in production. So I made sure to chase after the project and tell [Tonette] that I wanted to do it.)
JM, meanwhile, had been scouted for the role via Dan Villegas, who was working on another movie which featured the actor in a guest role. The actor immediately loved the script and he eventually went for a reading.
Game changed. JM, Angelica, and Tonette all said the movie changed the way they see movies and how they can be made.
"Ang dami niyang binago. Kasi isipin 'nyo within 6 shooting days, nakagawa kami ng pelikula na babago sa template ng mga napapanood natin ngayon, nakakapag-prove na hindi na kailagan ng best friends... Dalawang artista lang and with a beautiful story, story telling, nabuo ang pelikula na iyon lang ang laman," Angelica said.
(It changed a lot of things. Within 6 shooting days, we finished a movie that changed the template of the movies we now watch. We proved that you don't need best friend roles, you just need two leads, a beautiful story, story telling – the movie was made with just those elements.)
"Nakakataba ng puso na iconic na siya and ikaw pa yung gumanap doon sa pelikulang iyon," she added. (It's heartwarming to know that it's since become iconic and that you were part of such an iconic movie.)
Lockdown Cinema Club continues to raise funds for film workers during the pandemic. Click here for more details. – Rappler.com
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