Direk Theodore Boborol on making James & Pat & Dave: “Nag-enjoy ako!”

In life, it’s definitely impossible for us to not have fallen in love at least once. However, while there are some of us who are blessed to have already found the “one” for them, others seem to have a different fate when it comes to romance. While, some have opted to remain single, others aren’t just lucky after they were not chosen or being loved back by the person they love. But what really happens to the latter after being rejected?

That’s what the Valentine’s Day 2020 movie offering of Star Cinema – “James & Pat & Dave” – is all about. And a day after its theatrical release last Tuesday, February 12, Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com was granted the opportunity to have an exclusive chat with its brilliant director Theodore Boborol.

Serving as a spin-off to the successful 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Vince & Kath & James,” “James & Pat & Dave” follows the life of James, impressively played by Ronnie Alonte, after he got dumped by his former ‘apple of the eye’ Kath (Julia Barretto) for the dashing Vince (Joshua Garcia).

While we assumed that it was already the end of his story, Direk Ted divulged that the creatives team of Star Cinema came up with the idea of creating a plot about the ‘unchosen ones’ or ‘mga hindi pinili’. Thus, “James & Pat & Dave” was born.

On the conceptualization of James & Pat & Dave

“I guess kailangan ng sequel because it’s interesting. It’s very interesting to find out kung ano naman ‘yung nangyari do’n sa hindi napili. Because sa mga pelikulang may love triangle, alam mo naman na pure din ang love nila e, so parang ano’ng nangyari rin sa buhay nila? Bakit hindi sila napili? May happy ending din ba for them? so do’n nagsimula ‘yong interest to make a sequel,” he started off.

Then he continued, “Na-develop ‘yong story basically do’n sa konseptong ‘yon. Do’n nag-start na ‘yon. You know, parang si Maja Salvador sa “One More Chance” or si Dominic Ochoa sa Claudine-Rico movies, si Matteo Guidicelli sa Sarah [Geronimo] movies. Parang naisip lang ng creatives na what if gumawa naman tayo ng istorya ng mga hindi napili. So ‘yon talaga ‘yong pinaka-basic concept kung paano nagsimula at paano nabuo ‘yong [istorya].”

On Loisa, Ronnie, and Donny’s performances

When asked regarding his assessment of the performances of the three lead stars, the renowned filmmaker was all-praises to Ronnie Alonte, Loisa Andalio, and Donny Pangilinan amid the challenges that they encountered.

“In terms of performance, at first it was a bit of a challenge because LoiNie (Loisa and Ronnie’s loveteam name) is already a real couple in real life. Alam mo naman sa movie, they’re not yet lovers so kailangan mong maramdaman ‘yong sexual tension, kailangan mong maramdaman ‘yong cat-and-dog [quarrel], which is a staple naman in these romcoms. But thankfully, itong sina Ronnie at si Loisa, tama ‘yong sinabi ni Donny, pagdating sa set, ‘di sila nag-uusap. Akala ko nga nag-aaway or ‘di sila mag-jowa. It’s because they were already preparing for their roles. Mas more of ang nag-uusap, si Donny at si Loisa. Or siguro napunta do’n because prior to shooting the movie, we did some workshops. And sa mga workshops na ‘yon and sa mga one-on-one ko with them, mas nailatag na naming ‘yong characterization, kung ano ‘yong kapupuntahan ng movie, and ‘yong intention ng bawat eksena,” the 40-year-old director explained.

He also noted how he was surprised and impressed with Ronnie’s initiative of not speaking to his beloved girlfriend while they were on the set as they prepare for their roles. According to him, he admired how he’s gotten more serious and mature as an actor and how he became more committed to the craft, which is totally different from how he was before

READ: Ronnie Alonte says first major film with Loisa Andalio a dream come true

Direk Ted, meanwhile, regarded Loisa’s versatility considering that it’s her first comedic role. This actually posed as a challenge for them, but having worked with her before in the daytime series Be My Lady, he knew that he would be able to get something from her and unleash her character through her genuine personality.

READ: Loisa Andalio, overjoyed, thankful for immense break on James & Pat & Dave

And as for Donny, he affirmed how “tailor-fit” the role of Dave was for him since “he’s really a good boy in real life.”

READ: Donny Pangilinan feels grateful, blessed for James & Pat & Dave

“He’s genuinely kind, he’s genuinely nice, he’s genuinely good to everyone so when he says his confession of love to Loisa, sobrang sincere. Kahit hindi nakikita sa movie ‘yong talagang buong journey, kung ano ‘yong nangyari sa relationship nila, pinakita lang through flashes, talagang maniniwala ka pa rin because of his sincerity,” he said.

On its difference to Vince & Kath & James

Even though it’s presented as a sequel to the well-loved romantic film “Vince & Kath & James,” Direk Ted personally deemed of “James & Pat & Dave” as a standalone since its narrative is totally different and not connected to the former.

“I think ang difference nila is this one is more comedic, ‘yong appeal niya mas masa. ‘Yong “Vince & Kath & James” kasi intimate. Mas intimate, ‘yong world mas nando’n sa milieu ng social class nila kasi technically parang parehong social class eh. Parang middle-class – upper middle-class and lower middle-class.

“Ito, mas nag-lower class talaga ‘yong character ni Loisa tapos rural ‘yong setting, probinsya. For me, it’s a deliberate creative decision not to make it the same or similar to “Vince & Kath & James” because ‘yong “Vince & Kath & James,” ayoko nang galawin eh. This is more of a spin-off. Kaya okay ako sa ginawa ng writers, talagang tinanggal si James do’n sa milieu na ‘yon para ‘pag napanood ng mga tao ‘tong pelikulang ‘to, even if they don’t watch the first movie, stand alone. Maiintindihan pa rin nila kung ano ‘yong istorya,” Direk Ted elaborated.

He also noted how “James & Pat & Dave” is his most “pang-masa” project to date, compared to the other movies he helmed in the past.

“Ito ‘yong pinaka-masa kahit ‘yong jokes alam mong more appealing sa broader audience. Parang ‘yon ‘yong parang pinaka-difference niya. At the same time, nag-enjoy ako sa pelikula kasi sobrang light lang niya. Sobrang gaan sa set, ang gaan lang din ng tone ng movie. Inaalis ko ‘yong pressure na higitan ang “Vince & Kath & James.” More of kino-consider ko siya as a standalone movie. May iba siyang flavor, may iba siyang tono. So nag-enjoy lang ako,” he revealed.

On why James & Pat & Dave is a must-watch

Just on its first two days, the movie has already amassed positive comments from netizens who already saw it, which the director found really encouraging and surprising. Since most of the moviegoers were composed of youth, he’s hoping that people from other age brackets will also check out the film.

“Of course, ‘pag napanood naman nila, hindi naman siya ‘yong light-light lang, meron ding issues on family and self-love and self-worth na hindi nakikita sa trailer. Hindi siya fun-fun lang, may meaningful experience din silang makukuha sa movie. So ako, hoping ako na sana hindi lang teenagers ‘yong manood ng movie, kahit ‘yong parents o mga nanay, mga lolo’t lola kasi nasho-shock din kami. ‘Yong mga nakapanood na lolo’t lola, kahit ‘yong mga nanay, nagustuhan nila ‘yong pelikula,” he said.

When asked on how he would persuade those who haven’t watched it yet, Direk Ted gleefully enumerated the reasons.

“Dapat panoorin nila ‘to kasi for me, lahat tayo dumaan sa buhay natin na na-reject eh. So the characters are very relatable, relatable to all ages. You don’t have to be a teenager para ma-attach o ‘di maka-empathize o sympathize with the characters because alam mong napagdaanan mo rin ‘yong mga napagdaanan nina James, Pat, at ni Dave. And at the same time, ako feeling ko, ang tagal na ring walang ganitong klaseng romcom.

Then he added, “Parang two years since parang merong all-out, no-holds barred, non-ironic na romantic comedy. Gusto mo lang manood na ‘di ka nag-iisip masyado. Gusto mong matuwa, matawa, kiligin, ma-touch – parang matagal nang walang gano’n sa genre ng romcom and we’re blessed na medyo apt din siya sa mga nangyayari ngayon. Pinapalabas kami sa time na parang malungkot mga tao dahil sa mga pangyayari sa paligid. ‘Yon naman ‘yong gift ng entertainment eh. Sana sa two hours nila na mapanood ang pelikulang ito, kahit papaano mapatanggal naming ‘yong stress, ma-relax sila, ma-entertain sila. Sana panoorin nila ‘yong movie.”

While Direk Ted is currently busy in promoting his latest masterpiece, he amazingly juggles it with his job as a co-director to the primetime series Make It With You, starred by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. He revealed focusing on the series and chilling a bit for now since he was fully-loaded last year after doing “James & Pat & Dave, his Cinemalaya entry “Iska,” and the iWant series “Taiwan That You Love.”

However, he still aspires to do another independent movie – a rom-com spoken in Visayan language, which is his way of paying homage to his Visayan roots – and a documentary that he’s still unsure of what the subject will be.

Congrats on “James and Pat and Dave,” Direk Ted!