Several changes in entries ahead of MMFF
MANILA — Piolo Pascual will no longer be joining the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) as a lead actor, with Sam Milby replacing him to act opposite Eugene Domingo in the third entry to the “Kimmy Dora” film franchise.
The 36-year-old Pascual opted to pass up his role in the Chris Martinez-directed prequel to the comedy series, citing his packed schedule leading up to the annual film festival in December.
The Kapamilya star will nonetheless remain as one of the project’s producers under Spring Films, which is also behind the last two “Kimmy Dora” installments.
Talent manager Erickson Raymundo, Pascual’s co-producer, explained that constraints in schedule, considering the actor’s ongoing commitments, forced him to “beg off” from the project.
“He can’t do the movie anymore because of his schedule kasi may ginagawa rin siyang mga pelikula ngayon. So meron kaming mga kailangang habulin schedule at hindi na siya nagma-match, so nag-decide naman kami to allow him not to do it na rin,” Raymundo told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday.
Pascual, who is currently engaged in promotions for the internationally acclaimed film “On the Job,” is also busy filming his first big-screen project with actress Toni Gonzaga.
Raymundo likewise clarified that Spring Films, which is co-producing the “Kimmy Dora” prequel with ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema, was not penalized by the MMFF committee for the change in casting.
He explained that while they sought to make adjustments in Pascual’s schedule “up to the last minute,” the film outfit was still able to formally submit the changes ahead of the festival organizer’s deadline.
Milby, meantime, admitted he feels “pressured” to be tapped as replacement for Pascual in the film. The 29-year-old actor’s part in the project will mark his first starring role in an entry to the MMFF.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News on Tuesday, the “Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala” star nonetheless expressed confidence in the film’s success, citing the box-office performance of the first two entries in the series.
“Syempre excited ako at kinakabahan. Exciting at medyo nakakatakot din. May kaba, but of course this is a… syempre ‘yung success ng first two, nakakatulong talaga ‘yun.
“I mean, ‘Kimmy Dora’ is already established and people really loved it, accepted it. Ako rin, I’m a fan, so I think that will also help a lot for this third sequel,” Milby said.
He added that his participation in the project fits right into his schedule, citing the nearing conclusion of his primetime series co-starring Judy Ann Santos.
Milby said he also anticipates a seamless working relationship with Martinez, who will also direct him in a Viva Films production.
The recast in the “Kimmy Dora” prequel is the latest shake-up among the entries participating in the 39th MMFF.
Since the eight competing films were unveiled in June, several entries have undergone changes, including the Kris Aquino-produced bet “Torky and My Little Bossing.”
Co-produced by OctoArts, MZET and APT, the fantasy-comedy film originally had Joyce Bernal attached as director.
As per MMFF rules, a participating director can only helm one competing project.
Bernal, who was also identified as the director of the Robin Padilla-starrer “10,000 Hours,” also one of the eight entries, eventually picked the action-thriller to take up.
The production team behind “Torky” has yet to announce the director replacing Bernal in the project.
Similar to the case of “Kimmy Dora,” the biopic “San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir” also had a change in casting after lead actor JM de Guzman was pulled out by his father citing “health reasons.”
Young actor Rocco Nacino has since been tapped to replace de Guzman, who is said to still be recovering.
Showbiz veteran Gabby Concepcion was likewise originally attached to co-star in the Wenn Deramas comedy film “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy.”
He was earlier announced to portray lead star Vice Ganda’s father, but comedian-host Joey Marquez was eventually introduced to take on the role during a recent story conference for the Viva Films and Star Cinema co-production.
The film entry starring Bong Revilla, “My Super Kap,” on the other hand, was pulled out from the festival in July, citing the conflicting schedules of leading ladies Toni Gonzaga and Ai Ai delas Alas.
While Laguna Governor ER Ejercito expressed hopes that his film submission, “Boy Golden,” would be tapped as a replacement entry, the MMFF has yet to announce the film that will compete in lieu of “My Super Kap.”