Paolo Ballesteros takes on Joey de Leon’s ‘Barbi’ role
MANILA, Philippines – After the success of 2016's Die Beautiful, Paolo Ballesteros is back on the big screen as he turns into a gay superhero in Barbi D’ Wonder Beki.
Dubbed the actor's "birthday movie," the comedian/host is set to showcase his make-up skills and acting once more, following his 2016 award-winning film, Die Beautiful.
Die Beautiful, where Paolo played a transgender beauty queen, won Best Picture at the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and won him the Best Actor award at the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival.
In Barbi, Paolo plays Billy, a closeted gay man, who works as a bodyguard. The role was originally played by Eat Bulaga co-host Joey de Leon in the 1990s.
In a November 9 press conference for the movie, Paolo said that Billy wants to prove his worth to his family, which is comprised of top police officers. He will later meet Joey de Leon’s character, who becomes his mentor.
On working with Joey de Leon
The actor said that working with his Eat Bulaga co-host in the movie inspired a mix of fear and joy.
“Iba talaga kasi siya ‘yung original niyan eh. Parang medyo nakakatakot na, alam mo ‘yun, kahit naman sa Bulaga eh. Before magbigay ng joke or something, iniisip namin kung pwede ba itong ibato or maganda ba ‘tong sabihin sa isang tao or something. (It’s different because he’s the original. It’s a little nervewracking, you know, even in Bulaga. Before we say a joke or something, we still think about if it's okay to throw it out or to say it to someone),” he explained.
The experience is made even more nervewracking because he taped one-on-one scenes in Barbi with someone he considers one of his bosses on the noontime show.
“’Yung original [movie] is 20-plus years ago na eh, tapos biglang isasabak mo naman siya sa shooting. Maghihintay siya kasi nagme-makeup ako. So parang nakakatakot, in a way, pero nakakatuwa kasi hindi naman siya umuuwi eh. Inaantay niya (The original [movie] was released 20-plus years ago, and suddenly you're going to make him work on a shoot again. He has to wait for me because I’m doing makeup. So it’s frightening, in a way, but it makes me happy too, because he doesn't go home, he waits),” Paolo said.
He added that Joey enjoys working on the movie, even when they have have to film up to late at night.
On being a movie actor
After getting recognized here and abroad for his make-up transformation skills, Paolo said that he did not expect that his fondness for it would end up with him bagging more movie roles.
“Hindi ko akalain na isa ‘yun sa magiging daan para maging isang movie actor kasi bago pa lang ako gusto ko na talagang mag-perform. ‘Yun na talaga gusto ko eh, pa-star na talaga eh, (I didn’t expect that this will lead me to become a movie actor because even when I was new, I already wanted to perform, to be a star),” he said. “So I guess parang naging daan ‘yung pagma-makeup para mabigyan ng chance, so pana-panahon (I guess doing makeup paved the way for me to be given a chance).”
His young co-star, Miguel Tanfelix, lauded Paolo's makeup prowess, saying he and his onscreen partner Bianca Umali were both amazed by his makeup transformations.
“Before, yes napapanood ko si Binaca mag-makeup pero para sa ‘kin ‘pag napapanood ko si Kuya Paolo, ang hirap pala talaga ng ginagawa niya (Before, yes, I would watch Bianca put on her makeup, but for me, when I watch Kuya Paolo, what he does is really hard),” he said. Miguel plays Cyrus, the brother of Ejay Falcon’s character Larry.
Bianca Umali, who plays Miley in the movie, also expressed how much she enjoyed her and Miguel’s first movie together, especially because Paulo was fun to work with.
Barbi D’ Wonder Beki was produced by OctoArts Films and T-Rex Entertainment. Aside from Paolo, Bianca, and Miguel, the movie also stars Joey Marquez, Nikki Valdez, Smokey Manaloto, Ejay Falcon, and Kim Domingo.
Babri D’ Wonder Beki opens on November 29. – Rappler.com