The art of ‘Deadma’ » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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Anticipating comparison to other gay films, the people behind ‘Deadma Walking’ are prepared to practice what they preach

The success of gay-themed films means more of the same are on the way.

Edgar Allan Guzman and Joross Gamboa

The latest of these is “Deadma Walking,” an adaptation of the 2nd Prize winner in the Screenplay division of the 2016 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

While some might think it is run-of-the-mill gay film tackling love or sex, “Deadma Walking” focuses on friendship.
Director Julius Alfonso shared in a recent interview, “Ito ay kwento ng dalawang magkaibigan. ’Yung isa ay straight (na gay) bent of finding the meaning of life, while ’yung isa ay ’yung medyo hindi ganu’n ka-open.”

The story is about gay BFFs (best friends for life) John and Mark (played by Joross Gamboa and Edgar Allan Guzman) whose friendship is put to the test when one of them has a terminal illness and asks the other to help him stage his fake death, wake, and funeral as his dying wish. The result is a comedy of “deadly” proportions.

The movie is from T-Rex Productions, producer of the historical “Ang Hapis At Himagsik Ni Hermano Puli,” and the comedy “Patay Na Si Hesus” which won the Audience Award at last year’s QCinema Film Festival.

“Deadma Walking” will grace the big screens towards the end of 2017.

Happy wake?

Screenwriter Eric Cabahug said the curious thing about staging your fake death and being there at the wake is learning what people really think about you.

“’Yung lead character kasi may sakit siya, cancer. So gusto niyang makita how people will react during his wake,” he explained. “Actually no one knows na it was a fake one, pupunta siya du’n sa wake niya ng naka-disguise tsaka siya mag-o-observe.”

He shared the film is personal to him.

“Ako kasi I’ve always been thinking of my own death and wake. So, naisip ko na gusto ko ’yung wake ko may ganito, may ganyan. In a way, ini-in-corporate ko siya dito sa film,” Eric said.

But why use gay characters?

“Para masaya.”

Julius Alfonso (mb.com.ph)

Julius Alfonso

According to Eric, he wants to treat the film in a light way maintaining “it is like celebrating the life of the one who died.”

“Sa personal experience ko kasi of lamay, parang reunion ’yan eh,” he explained. “Parang may kwentuhang umaatikabo, tapos mga jokes.”

Not really

The death of a gay character was also tackled in the 2016 MMFF entry “Die Beautiful.” Are they inviting comparison?

Julius clarified they have a totally different approach.

“Yes it’s about death din but eto ay fake lang naman,” he explained.

“Ipi-fake niya ’yung wake to witness that, kumbaga nandu’n siya pero nagmamasid lang.”

Joross added, “Actually hindi talaga sumagi sa isip ko na parang katulad siya ng ‘Die Beautiful,’ kasi napanuod ko ’yun eh at nabasa ko ’yung script nito, magkaiba talaga.”

If comparison persists, they would take it simply as compliment.

“Dedma na lang kami sa negative,” he said, laughing.

Playing gay A-OK

Edgar Allan, who has done several gay roles in the past, relates to gay life as “meron akong kapatid na bakla.”

“Nu’ng nag-start akong tumanggap ng mga gay role, actually I’m proud,” he said. “Dahil may kapamilya ako na gay, alam ko ’yung feeling nila. ’Yung masaya na malungkot na buhay.”

“Alam ko din kung gaano sila nagstra-struggle para tanggapin sila sa lipunan,” he added.

Joross, on the other hand, enjoys portraying gay roles, deeming them challenging.

“Ako kasi hindi ako sanay na humuhugot sa sarili kong buhay lang dahil puro kalokohan ako eh,” he said.

“’Pag kasi ganitong gumagawa ako ng mga beki roles, parang kailangan ko pang gumawa ng isang tao na merong konti ako. So in a way, nakakatuwa kasi ang layo talaga nu’ng character sa personality ko.”

Joross claimed his and Edgar Allan’s roles were offered first to Dingdong Dantes and John Lloyd Cruz.

“Kaya lang sobrang blessed sila na hindi kaya sa schedule nila, kaya hindi nila kayang gawin. Mabuti na lang, busy sila kaya sa amin napunta ang project,” he said.

Joross is thankful that he is being given a chance to work with Edgar Allan anew.

Eric Cabahug (mb.com.ph)

Eric Cabahug

“Magkakakilala na kami 14 years old pa lang siya,” he revealed. “Siya ’yung isa sa mga pinakamagaling sumayaw na nakilala ko at sobrang thankful ako na makaka-trabaho ko ulit siya.”

More stars

Don’t look now but the movie might be star-studded.

According to Julius, several showbiz friends, including Eugene Domingo and Judy Ann Santos are in the movie.

If it pushes through, it might just augur well for the film, which is intended for submission to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.

“Within June pa naman ’yung submission ng script, so we’ll see,” he maintained. “If ever naman na hindi matanggap, we could still submit a finished film for second screening by October.”

The stellar production team also includes award-winning cinematographer Lee Briones (“Baler,” “Tanging Yaman”), production designer Angel Diesta (“Die Beautiful”), and editor Vanessa de Leon (“Kimmy Dora,” “The Gifted”). (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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