In this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (2020 MMFF), Heaven’s Best Productions is back after its success with the 2018 MMFF Best Picture, Rainbow’s Sunset. According to the director, Joel Lamangan, the LGBT-themed entry is a testament that homosexuals are capable of true and faithful love.

Considered an icon in the entertainment industry, Direk Joel was entrusted the directorial job for a star-studded cast. The movie features Albie Casiño, Migs Almendras, Dave Bornea, Maris Racal, Joseph Marco, Sanya Lopez, Zanjoe Marudo, Michael De Mesa, Philip Salvador, and the Superstar Nora Aunor. Through the years, the award-winning director has earned the reputation of being strict and meticulous on the set.

With this impression, Random Republika asked Isa Pang Bahaghari stars Zanjoe Marudo, Sanya Lopez, and Maris Racal what it was like to be working with Direk Joel. These three, who belong to the breed young of actors in the movie, debunked Direk Joel’s intimidating image and shared their memorable experiences.

Zanjoe: ‘Yun na nga, unang una, marami akong napanood na magagandang pelikula niya dati. May mga naririnig din tayo na strikto talaga si Direk Joel pagdating sa shooting. Hindi ko pinasok sa utak ko ‘yun. Mas nagtanong ako, mas nakipag-usap ako sa kanya kung paano ko gagawin para tama ang track. Kailangan magmukha talaga akong taga-doon, doon sa gumagawa ng dried fish sa tabing-dagat. ‘Yung kilos, galaw, pagsasalita, dapat mukhang barumbado, bargas talaga. ‘Yun muna inayos niya sa first day ko. Hindi siya papayag na maamo ‘yung mata ko, mabait pagsasalita ko. Hindi naman ako nasigawan pero andun lagi ang kabog ng puso na baka magkamali ako.

Sanya: Totoo ‘yung sinabi ni Zanjoe eh. Kumakabog ‘yung puso namin kada doon kami sa set. Parang ‘Masisigawan kaya ako?.‘ Thank God hindi kami nasigawan. Happy si Direk katrabaho. Tutok din siya sa mga artista niya. Kapag siguro feeling niya kulang, baka ipaulit. Pero so far, hindi naman. Maganda naman mga sinabi niya, natutuwa siya sa bawat eksena namin. Sweet si Direk, actually, after cut. Iha-hug ka niya, ‘Anak, okay ka lang?’ Ganun naman siya.

Maris: Agree po ako dun sa kabog ng dibdib. First project ko po with Direk Joel. Inisip ko ‘yung first scene ko with him, make or break ko yun sa kanya. Alam mo ‘yung first impression talaga so parang I really gave my best. And surprisingly si Direk grabe, nakadalawang projects na po ako with Direk and same production po. Sobrang maalaga po niya. Sobra as in kunyari mapadaan lang siya sa room niyo or sa standby area, tatanungin ka niya, ‘Kumain ka na ba, Anak?’ Tapos Anak talaga tawag niya sayo lagi. Very strict man pero matututo ka talaga in terms of kailangan memorized mo lahat, hindi ka na nagtatanong na pagdating sa set. May mga times na ginagawa ka niyang comfortable talaga sa set para hindi ka naiilang. Maa-advise ko lang sa iba, I would really recommend knowing your character talaga. Ayaw niya ng mga tanong na obvious. ‘Yung mga masasagot mo naman sa sarili mo.

Asked if she was able to verbalize her fear of Direk at any point, Maris, who was playing the young Nora Aunor in the movie, added, “Hindi naman po. Masaya katrabaho si Direk. Marami siyang kuwento about the past.”

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In case you haven’t streamed it yet, Isa Pang Bahaghari is still available via UPSTREAM.PH. The movie revolves around the life of former seafarer Dom (Philip Salvador) who returns to his family after two decades. He is met by coldness and resentment from his wife (Nora Aunor) and children (Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco, and Sanya Lopez). Dom seeks acceptance and forgiveness with the help of his loving and loyal friend Rhey (Michael De Mesa).