Three Barbi movies and Joey de Leon said, “Enough already!” The first film, Barbi: Maid in the Philippines, was shown in 1989, followed by Barbi for President and then in mid-90s, Run, Barbi, Run.
So what prompted Joey to dust off his iconic character and revive her in Barbi D’Wonder Beki with Paolo Ballesteros in the title role?
“It’s not really a revival of Barbi,” clarified Joey. “They just used the name Barbi but Paolo’s character is different. I like the script. Maganda ang pagkakasulat.”
Produced by OctoArts Films, M-Zet Films and T-Rex Entertainment, the movie is directed by Tony Reyes, a name to be reckoned with in that genre (slapstick comedy), who has directed Joey in several comedies.
“The story is interesting,” continued Joey. “Paolo’s character is accused of a crime. I play the owner of a club where Paolo hides. Paolo sees my Barbi picture on the wall and he disguises as Barbi. Ako bale ang nag-makeup sa kanya to turn him into Barbi.”
But Joey conceded that Paolo is the better makeup artist who can transform himself into whoever he wants to look like, mostly Hollywood stars including Marilyn Monroe whom Paolo impersonates in a scene (from The Seven Year Itch, directed by Billy Wilder) with her skirt flying wildly as she and co-star Tom Ewell exit a moviehouse and a breeze from a passing subway below lifts Monroe’s skirt.
In D’Wonder Beki, Paolo’s character attracts a big crowd of guys.
“I enjoyed doing that scene,” said Paolo, “even if my corset was getting tighter and my feet were aching on my heels. But it was fun, it was worth it. It’s my tribute to Marilyn Monroe who is one of my favorite actresses.”
Paolo is grateful that Joey agreed to be in the movie.
“His Barbi is one of the well-loved characters in Philippine Cinema,” said Paolo, “at masaya ako kasi ipinag-katiwala niya si Barbi sa akin. He didn’t give her to me; pinahiram, lang niya sa akin. My treatment of the character is different. Very millennial siya, that’s why she is described as D’Wonder.”
In Joey’s time, it was James Cooper who helped him with the makeup.
“Balahura ang portrayal ko kay Barbi,” explained Joey. “Paolo’s talent in make-up siguro came from Amorsolo who was his grandfather. He does his own make-up. It usually takes him two hours to do it. Another difference is that my Barbi is a man pretending to be a woman while Paolo’s Barbi is gay, talagang beki.”
After Die Beautiful (DB), a top-grosser in the indie-dominated 2016 MMFF, Paolo said that he’s pressured because people are expecting him to equal, if not surpass, his achievement in DB which won him several Best Actor awards including one at the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), more so since he has just scored another hit as Lola Tidora in Trip Ubusan: The Lolas vs Zombies with fellow lolas Wally Bayola (Lola Nidora) and Jose Manalo (Lola Tinidora), which is still drawing big crowds in theaters nationwide.
Incidentally, Paolo revealed that as a kid, he first dreamed of being Dyesebel and then Wonder Woman.
“Playing Barbi is more challenging and harder than playing Trish in Die Beautiful,” added Paolo. “In Barbi, I am always fully made up so it took longer to do, including my hairdo.”
Joey said that he did Barbi in support of Paolo.
“Ayoko na talaga mag-movies,” he said, “Pa-guest-guest na lang ako.”
Opening nationwide tomorrow, Nov. 29, Barbi D’Wonder Beki also stars Kim Domingo, Ejay Falcon, Benjie Paras, Joey Marquez, Smokey Manaloto, Epy Quizon and Ruby Rodriguez, plus the BiGuel loveteam of Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix.
Fascinated with flowers
Because she loves flowers, Carissa Muñoz’s solo exhibit is lit up by her floral-inspired paintings at the Fernando B. Sena Buenas Artes Art Gallery at Unit C-1, Windsor Villas, #348 Tandang Sora Avenue corner Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City, until Thursday, Nov. 30. Carissa developed her passion for watercolor painting through years of practicing her profession as interior decorator/designer. She’s the niece of the late theater/film/TV actress Tita Muñoz, and the sister of actors Leandro and Carlo Muñoz who are both living in the US with their families.
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