MANILA, Philippines?To prepare for the role of a gay couple in the movie ?In My Life,? Luis Manzano and John Lloyd Cruz spent hours in New York City gay bars, director Olivia Lamasan revealed.
Luis plays Mark, an advertising executive based in New York. He recently discovers that he has colon cancer. John Lloyd is Noel, Mark?s lover and an illegal immigrant.
?They went bar-hopping to get a feel of the gay lifestyle there,? the director told Inquirer Entertainment over lunch. According to Lamasan, Luis and John Lloyd also joined two acting workshop sessions prior to shooting?one with her and another with actor-director Laurice Guillen.
Lamasan added that she sat down with the two actors to help create the backstory for their characters. ?Before flying to New York, we shot a couple of scenes of the backstory?when they first met, their courtship, their first anniversary as a couple and their first big fight,? Lamasan explained. ?They played out the scenes, which I recorded with a digital camera. That made the rest of the story easier for both of them to interpret. Mayroon na silang pinaghuhugutan.?
Lamasan, however, said there are no overly intimate scenes between Luis and John Lloyd because ?it?s not necessary; more than anything, this is about a mother and her gay son.?
First in 6 years
Playing Shirley, Mark?s mother, is Luis? real-life mom, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos. Lamasan said, ?Shirley is a very controlling mother. She thought she was the best mother in the world but when her husband left, she become so embittered, nadamay na pati ang mga anak n?ya.?
?In My Life? is Lamasan?s first film in six years. She directed the critically acclaimed ?Milan,? about overseas Filipino workers in Italy.
?A lot of my time was spent working in television. I was part of the creation of teleseryes,? she explained. ?Recently, I told Malou (Santos, senior vice president and managing director of Star Cinema) that I realized I was depressed after a long time of not directing, and that I hungered to create again.?
Lamasan added: ?Also, I waited for Ate Vi for three years. It took us a while to finish the story. There were about three other stories before we came up with this. As a director, I want the concept to excite me, too. I want Ate Vi to take on a different character. I still want to see her in a drama but with a lot of light scenes. I said, why don?t we show the other side of our mothers?their being flawed??
Lamasan?s debut film ?Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie? was released in 1994. The following year, she directed Aga Muhlach and Lea Salonga in ?Sana Maulit Muli.?
She went on to direct Sharon Cuneta in the award-winning drama ?Madrasta? (1996) and in ?Minsan Minahal Kita? in 2000. Then she did the box-office hit, ?Got 2 Believe? (2002), featuring Barretto and the late actor Rico Yan.