My first full-length film “The ‘Thank You’ Girls” (TYG for short) is scheduled to be shot on March 28 to April 3 in Davao City, Bukidnon and Cagayan. It’s a Visayan film (using the Visayan gay lingo to be more specific) and I originally wanted non-professional Visayan actors to be cast.
The film is about a group of veteran gay beauty pageant contestants who, after getting tired of losing in almost all the pageants in Davao City, traveled to Cagayan de Oro to join a big pageant, Miss Galaxy 2008. So it’s a road trip movie. A fun, gay film that I hope everyone, regardless of gender and dialect will enjoy. It is produced by James Hohl of Coral Productions, a first time film producer and will be line produced by my good friend, Adolf Alix. THE Adolfo B. Alix, Jr. Yey!
When I flew to Davao last February, we held auditions and when the actors were finally cast, we conducted workshops for them. Eventually, we had to add up one more character to complete the story.
The actor is Jeff Salonga. With his addition to the cast of the film, I expect that this is gonna be a fun, fun shoot. Gie, as we call him, by the way, is the half-brother of Lea Salonga. He’s playing ALLYSON, the 33-year old marijuana smoking beauty pageant veteran who is a die-hard fanatic of his icon starlet, ADORA GRACIA. I haven’t gathered much info about Gie yet but his bio will be posted here soon. As far as I know, Gie graduated Fine Arts in UP and done monologues for Live A.I.D.S. for UP Samaskom. Since he’s an addition, he wasn’t able to go to the photoshoot the last time in Davao.
MOMMY PAOLA will be played by Pidot Villocino. The group’s financier is an expressionless character who just wants to go to Cagayan to find his long-time lover, Carlos.
Pidot is the assistant to the Chief of Staff of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Now, that’s what you call Davao’s who’s who. There were actually four people who auditioned for the role. Pidot was the most expressionless, haha.
He had a bit of experience in theatre and he actually has been announcing his first film starrer all over Davao, hurhur.
Would you believe Pidot is just 5’4? Though I still have to find a perfect Carlos for him, I’m sure Pidot will do a good job portraying the role. By the way, if Pidot has a wig on, he looks like Bella Flores. He’d rather be called Lolita Rodriguez though. He won’t be joining the pageants, thank God.
I know EJ looks like Gollum here but trust me, he looks better in person. EJ Pantujan is a variety show host at the local ABS-CBN 2 in Davao City and I must say, he’s popular there.
He used to host this local show called “KSP”. I haven’t been around Davao for a long time so I didn’t know who EJ was when he went to the auditions.
He will be playing CHRIS, Mommy Paola’s biological son. He’s vain, a provincial metrosexual. And promiscuous. He joins beauty pageants to affirm his narcissism.
I thought of doing a makeover for EJ. I’m not really sold on the emo hair. We’ll see how Santi, our stylist, has to say.
I’m also curious with how he’s gonna look like with wig and make up on, hurhur. Can’t wait.
The world should watch out for July Jimenez who’s playing BERNADETTE.
Personally, Bernadette is my favorite character. A happy-go-lucky, cellphone-stealing character, I initially imagined Bernadette as an ugly, chubby, oily-skinned, obnoxious, mocking character who just wants to have fun in life but has a deep personality inside.
Just think of the comedian Chokoleit and you know what I mean.
I first heard of July’s laugh while me and Yam conducted an audition at Mintal (not to be confused with Mental). His laugh was so contagious I felt I found my Bernadette then.
July is tall, has a slender modelish body, far from my initial peg for the character. But he’s funny, delivers his lines so well and boy, he takes instrictions fast. A feat for someone who has never done acting ever.
Trust me, he’s a scene stealer just by his mere presence. From the auditions to the actor’s workshop and eventually when I upload the audition videos, you know what I’m talking about.
Kit Poliquit (whatta rhyme) was one of the auditionees from Mintal. As soon as we had him read the lines, I knew Kit has a potential.
We actually had a tagalog script and we had the auditionees translate it to Visayan. Only Kit was able to translate it perfectly, in ad lib form.
Both Kit and July had a callback and we merged them with the other shortlisted auditionees for another round of auditions.
Kit stood out from the rest because of his oh well, hair, haha. And his ability to be funny when he delivers his lines.
He will play the acid-tongued VANETTE, the youngest of the group. The character is a Muslim who runs away from home because his father and brothers don’t treat him well, unless of course when he brings home money from the pageant.
He hates Chris so much he wants to devour him. By the way, Kit and EJ have a good rapport you will believe they really hate each other.
Kim Vergara seems to be very bit different in person than the character he’s playing, MACARIO.
Macario is the untalented frustrated musician (and dancer) who joins beauty pageants to show people what he’s worth, to no avail. Of all the characters, I think he characterizes the film’s title.
The character is very ordinary and not outstanding, mostly devoured by the more outspoken and scene stealing members of the group.
But what I like most about Macario is his oozing self-confidence, one that sprung from his family’s undying support, something that the other characters lack.
Kim plays Macario well, even making Macario forgettable when he’s with his group.
Kim had a bit of experience in theater and with his dancing flexibilities and a great voice in real life, he seems to be the anti-thesis of the role he’s playing. The story of his life is even more interesting.
Kim’s parents doesn’t know he’s gay (he’s a basketball player) and he said, he plans to come out through this movie. Woohoo. Or not. We’ll see.