July 13--After starting the whole new "maindie" (mainstream-indie) genre with Bromance: My Brother's Romance, Amorosa: The Revenge and Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang, Skylight Films now puts a dark new twist in comedy via the upcoming movie Tuhog.
Although the title has been used before in a sexy movie, Skylight Films executive director Enrico Santos and director Veronica Velasco insisted on using the title because it best fits the movie both figuratively and literally.
"Tuhog depicts how the stories of the characters are connected, it also means piercing or impalement, a situation which our characters find themselves in," Santos told reporters during the movie's recent press conference.
Velasco, a Cinemalaya award-winning director, says she feels very fulfilled calling it a true labor of love by the entire cast led by Eugene Domingo, Enchong Dee, Jake Cuenca, Empress and Leo Martinez.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, I can say na 12 kasi ang hirap-hirap gawin ng pelikulang ito. When Jinky Laurel and I were writing the script, it seemed like a good idea on paper but getting it on the screen, was a totally different story. Hanggang ngayon nagugulat pa rin ako na nagawa namin siyang tapusin in 23 days despite all the logistical problems," Velasco shared.
Velasco was talking about shooting the bus scenes at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, which is one of the busiest streets in the country.
Tuhog, she added, is inspired by a news story she read many years back. "I thought of the movie after coming across this tabloid picture involving a bus accident, but it was a challenge to write, pitch and to produce this movie. Kapag inisip mo kasi, bus accident so baka horror, but it's not," she explained.
The producers describe it as a dark comedy with a bit of drama, about family, and how the characters lived and valued their lives--up until the accident.
Eugene Domingo is Fiesta, a cranky bus barker, who became an old maid out of dedication to taking care of his ailing and demented father; Leo Martinez plays Tonio a confused retired old man who suddenly decides to pursue his life-long dream of becoming a baker; and Enchong Dee is Caloy, a young man who preserves his virginity for his girlfriend (Empress)-whose screwed lives are further "screwed" by a bus accident.
Surprising everyone with her slimmer, tanned physique, Domingo said she hopes the movie will be invited to international film festivals, as she was very impressed by the script when it was presented to her.
Uge says out of all the films she has made, Tuhog is one of the most difficult and standout projects she has done. "Kung magsusulat ako ng libro ng buhay ko, isang chapter itong paggawa ng Tuhog. Isa ito sa mga pelikula na sana maipakita sa maraming festivals abroad."
Besides driving a bus, Uge said her kissing scenes with Jake Cuenca, who plays her love interest Nato, was challenging, but perhaps the most difficult was the emotional pain she was suffering as she disclosed that her father passed away while she filming the movie last year.
The award winning actress shared that knowing her father had always been proud of her accomplishments helped her move forward. "Sa kanya din ako kumuha ng lakas ng loob. Kasi iisipin mo lahat ng mga napagusapan namin, yung kanyang tiwala sa akin, sa pagiging artista ko, sa pagiging anak niya. Medyo naguluhan lang ako ng konti kasi I'm shooting this film about a daughter and a father, then that thing was happening to me at the same time. Iba yun."
Tuhog is part of Star Cinema's 20th year celebration and will open in theaters on July 17.
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