Saturday, November 26, 2016

ABS-CBN Reporter ATOM ARAULLO Tapped for Lead in “CITIZEN JAKE”

Well, it’s quite rare for me to be covering the local movie scene, but the subject matter was quite fascinating enough for me to do a write-up. Filmmaker Mike De Leon has been out of the Philippine movie scene for quite some time, but it turns out he’s merely been making careful preparations to make his blockbuster comeback. Known as a maverick in the industry, De Leon embraces the reputation fully, especially when it came to casting his latest movie. When the protagonist and title character is a reporter, then who’s the star that is best suited to play him?

Well according to Inquirer.NET, the chosen lead is a star alright, but it’s not a movie star at all. Rather, to portray a reporter De Leon has topped the services of a real-life media man in Atom Araullo of the media giant ABS-CBN. Drawing upon his directorial chops and filmography, De Leon got into negotiations with Atom and his superiors, ultimately announcing to the public that “Araullo is firmly on board, having been given the all clear by his bosses.” This was a case of casting the expert that hasn’t been seen since R. Lee Ermey was cast by Kubrick as the quintessential nasty drill sergeant in “Full Metal Jacket”.

As for Atom himself, he says regarding his unexpected movie leading role: “I just couldn’t say no to Mike de Leon. I am taking this leap of faith because I believe in his ability to produce films of exceptional quality that are always imbued with social relevance.” De Leon of course is collaborating with Araullo regarding the transition from real-life to reel-life for the titular character Jake. Writer Noel Pascual is on hand to transform their story ideas into screenplay.

With regards to how he’ll approach his role, Atom remarks, “As journalists, our job is to shine the light on important issues in the hope of inspiring people to act…But sometimes, fiction actually does a better job at this, especially in the so-called post-truth era. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and we have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Although De Leon has admitted feeling he has entered unfamiliar territory with casting Araullo, who has never acted before, he’s very confident in his casting decision. “This is a strange, but interesting experience for me,” he tells the Inquirer. “Not only because it will probably be my last film, but because I’ve got an interesting subject matter.”

Owing to the star being a non-actor, “Citizen Jake” will have its billing as not “starring” Atom Araullo but “featuring” the ABS-CBN reporter instead. The rest of the cast will not be finalized, according to De Leon, until this coming December.

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