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Award-winning director Dan Villegas on working with international and local artists for “Almost Paradise”

For award-winning director Dan Villegas, the ego is the biggest killer of dreams. Find out why as the master storyteller talks about his craft as well as past and present projects in this interview for Kapamilya Chat.

The episode opens with Dan sharing his directorial experience for the action series “Almost Paradise” which has international screenings and is also shown every Sunday on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.

Full of humility, Dan confessed that he was intimidated with working with foreign filmmakers. But the output, of course, turned out excellent. He thanked the actors and crew for that. “It’s showcasing your talent on an international level so kinabahan talaga ako at first. At the same time, I am very thankful that I was one of the Filipino directors they chose to do an episode,” he said.

Almost Paradise has American actor Christian Kane playing its central character. Dan is all-praises for the Hollywood star’s professionalism and collaborative efforts. He shared that Christian is devoted to the project, always on his toes and open about his ideas.

He has nothing but good words for the local artists, either. “Almost Paradise” also stars Nonie Buencamino, Raymond Bagatsing, Art Acuna, Ces Quesada, and child performer Sophia Reola. According to Dan, the Filipino cast members did not disappoint in performance and professionalism. The teamwork even helped him feel more at home on the set.

For the episode he directed, Dan worked mostly with foreign artists from New Zealand. Thus, he witnessed how international stars take on their craft with passion and commitment. They report on time and have already memorized their lines during rehearsals. There was an instance when one of his actors forgot a few lines from a four-page scene. Dan considered it just a slight mistake that’s why he was surprised when the actor was very apologetic.

This superb professionalism, according to Direk Dan, is what sets Hollywood actors apart. Although he can name competent local artists, he would admit that most Filipino actors have a poor attitude on the set. “Hindi katulad ng ibang actors dito sa Pilipinas, pagtapak ng set ‘tsaka pa lang magbabasa ng script.” As a visionary, Dan aims to cut the mediocrity and help local stars be at par with Hollywood professionalism. One of the most effective ways he thought of is requiring the artists to have their scripts memorized before going to the location.

Dan added that there was no barrier between local and international stars on the set of “Almost Paradise.” Everyone bonded like a team and it made him feel at home. He directed the show’s fourth episode which revolves around a mysterious death in the sea.

In that episode, he witnessed the brilliance of Ketchup Eusebio. He said Ketchup’s performance is one of the most exciting parts to watch out for.

Asked to name local celebrities he wishes to direct, Dan mentioned Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, although he worked with them as a cinematographer for “She’s Dating the Gangster.” He directed James Reid and Nadine Lustre’s TV series “On The Wings Of Love” but he also hopes to ‘collab’ with them in a movie. He also named Liza Soberano, Enrique Gil, John Lloyd Cruz, and Joshua Garcia.

Dan is among the four Filipino directors of “Almost Paradise” together with Francis Dela Torre, Hannah Espia, and Irene Villamor. Check out his work on episode 4 “Pistol Whip,” written by Calvin Sloan, this Sunday (April 11), 8:45 pm on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, Kapamilya Online Live, and iWantTFC.