Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend the presscon for Empoy’s comeback movie, The Barker (after the blockbuster hit, Kita Kita) at the Le Rêve Pool Party Venue and Events Place in Quezon City. The location, atmosphere, and food were great, special mention to the awesome pesto seafood pasta, which everyone seems to keep mentioning on our table. The presscon was attended by top Entertainment news writers and bloggers so it was an honor to be amongst those invited for the event.
The event was hosted by MR. FU, radio DJ of 106.7 Energy Fm and a talent of TV5.
For the opening number, violinist Earlmond Moss Lee (#MisterViolin) serenaded everyone with his rendition of Don’t Know What To Do, which was the official theme song of the movie, THE BARKER (Don’t know what to do).
Incidentally, the title of the song is also the tagline of the movie. Maybe because Empoy’s character didn’t know what to do regarding the romantic conflict or he was a clueless action hero who didn’t know what to do in most situations, similar to Johnny English, or maybe both.
Here is a video preview of the presscon for “THE BARKER (Don’t Know What To Do)” so you’ll get a quick glimpse of what happened during the presscon:
INTERVIEWS BEFORE THE PRESSCON OF THE BARKER (Don’t know what to do):
Ace Comedian, Dennis Padilla arrived first. The Barker is his directorial debut as he transitions from being one of the country’s best comedian to a film director. Since it wasn’t an official presscon but a casual conversation with some reporters on the scene, let me just mention some of the things he said during the interview.
DID THEY GET EMPOY AS THE LEAD ACTOR OF THE BARKER BECAUSE OF THE BOX-OFFICE SUCCESS OF KITA KITA?
When asked whether Empoy was their first choice for the movie, THE BARKER (Don’t know what to do), and whether they chose Empoy because of the box-office success of his latest movie, KITA KITA. Direk Dennis denied that they got Empoy because of the successful run of Kita kita and he said, “Sya na talaga… Talaga! Hindi kasi, shinoot naman namin yun wala pa yung KITA KITA.” (Translation: “He’s really the one we chose. We were already shooting our movie prior to the success of Kita Kita.”).
He also disclosed that they had several actors to choose from with regards to the main role for the movie, a few stars mentioned were Long Mejia and Ryan Bang.
However, they decided to go with Empoy as the leading man. When asked why they chose Empoy, Direk Dennis has this to say, “I heard from Viva that they will be coming up with a new movie na ang title, Kita kita, na ang bida ay si Empoy at Alessandra. Syempre nag-iisip ka pa pero sige si Empoy na lang ang gawin natin, so it’s still a gamble. Eh nag positive yung Kita kita diba? Eh kung nag negative? We will deal with… wala na eh nagshu-shooting na kami eh. Syempre namuhunan ka na syempre itutuloy mo parin. So ang akin, we already got Empoy, wala pang Kita kita. Yun ang paliwanag ko.” (Translation: “I heard from Viva that they will be coming up with a new movie na ang title, Kita kita, wherein Empoy will be the lead along with Alessandra. I was still thinking that time but decided to go for Empoy so it was still a gamble. Kita kita turned out to be positive. But what would happen if it turned out negative (not successful)? We would have to deal with our decision because we were already shooting THE BARKER at that time. We already invested in him so whatever the case, we had to stick to our decision. So for me, we already got Empoy even before Kita kita (was shown in cinemas). That’s my explanation.”
Incidentally, since the success of Kita kita may mean an immediate following for Empoy’s follow up movie, The Barker, Direk Dennis decided to promote and support Kita kita as well since that was Empoy’s first major role in a movie. He used his social media to support Kita Kita and even joined the premiere night so he can promote Empoy in preparation for the marketing of their movie, THE BARKER.
Direk Dennis also said this, “That’s why nung pinopromote pa lang yung Kita kita, sa social media, nagpopromote din ako ng Kita kita. Tapos umattend ako ng premiere night ng Kita kita para mainterview ako. Nagkita tayo diba? Tapos pag uwi ko yun ang una kong ginawa, sinabi ko sa mga kaibigan ko na mare, suportahan natin ang Kita kita. Eh nagkataon pa na ako yung nagreview sa MTRCB. Nakita ko talaga yung pelikula kaya bago ko pa napanuod yung sa premiere night, napanuod ko na yung sa MTRCB.” (Translation: “That’s why while Kita kita was still being promoted, I was already promoting Kita kita on social media. I attended the premiere night so they can interview me. We saw each other right? Then when I got home, I told my friends to support Kita kita. Incidentally, I was asked by MTRCB to review the film so I saw Kita kita because of MTRCB even before the premiere night.”)
HOW IS EMPOY AS A PERSON?
Direk Dennis mentioned that Empoy was really blessed because, after the success of Kita kita, he has several new movies lined up, he also has a teleserye (drama series). He also mentioned that Empoy deserved all the blessings he’s receiving right now because he is a good person. He narrated how he went to Empoy’s birthday at Baliuag, Bulacan. Direk Dennis noted that he was the only showbiz personality at Empoy’s birthday party so he observed who Empoy’s friends are. He even had the chance to talk with Empoy’s mother and siblings and they said that Empoy was really very kind. He gave his mother a business (didn’t mention what it was) plus Empoy sold different products, all to help support his family. He’s also helping his siblings and he’s even the one who pays for the tuition of some of his nieces & nephews. No wonder he’s blessed.
The presscon started with Empoy Marquez and Shy Carlos, including the rest of the cast arriving on a jeepney instead of luxury cars, which was perfect because the movie was about a barker.
A Barker (if you’re not familiar with the term) is what we Filipinos call a person who shouts out the destination of a public vehicle (like a bus, fx or jeepney) so as to attract possible passengers. They earn money based on what drivers give them.
Those who were present during the presson include Empoy Marquez, Shy Carlos, Director Dennis Padilla, Producer Arlyn dela Cruz-Bernal, Gary Lim, and newcomers Jemina Sy & Raffy Reyes.
NATURAL & UNDENIABLE ON-SCREEN CHEMISTRY OF EMPOY & SHY (#EMSHY):
As Empoy and Shy entered the stage, everyone got excited and a barrage of photographers populated the front of the stage. Before the photo ops though, the two weren’t aware they were already “live on screen” so I was able to capture this really cute banter by the two. This shows their natural and amazing chemistry and Empoy once again proved that “FUNNY” is really the “NEW POGI” as he manages to get his leading lady to not just smile but laugh out loud. They were also a loveteam during their TV5 stint (Kapitan Awesome) so hopefully they would be able to work again soon. I’m not sure if they have a Love Team name so, in the meantime, I’ll just call them “EMSHY”.
Before starting the question and answer portion of the presscon, they showed the official trailer to us first. The trailer was already published on Facebook last October 3. Right now, it’s already garnered 1.2M views! You can view the official trailer below, courtesy of Viva Entertainment’s YouTube channel:
Q & A PORTION OF ‘THE BARKER’ PRESSCON:
EMPOY WASN’T PRESSURED WHILE SHOOTING ‘THE BARKER’:
Asked if he was pressured in his newest movie, THE BARKER, Empoy said that he wasn’t pressured during the shooting because he just wants to make people laugh and Kita Kita wasn’t showing yet when they started taping for The Barker. He said that all of them were just enjoying the shooting & it felt like they were just playing around.
When asked about how he felt towards his director, Dennis Padilla, Empoy said that they were old friends and that as a director, Dennis was cool and a “no-pressure” director since they had the freedom to suggest and do things their way. Below is a clip of what Empoy said. Note that the video is in black and white because the lighting was too violet & distracting on this video so it was a little unflattering for the two so I changed the color to monochrome.
HOW DIFFERENT IS ‘THE BARKER’ FROM ‘KITA KITA’?
Empoy mentioned that THE BARKER is different from KITA KITA since he tried a new theme, which is Action Comedy. “ACTION STAR po ako dito.”, he added. (Translation: “I’m an action star in this movie.”) The other tagline for THE BARKER is “BARKER sa umaga, ACTION HERO sa gabi).
Empoy also mentioned that he didn’t use any “double” during the fight scenes.
COMPARISON BETWEEN WORKING WITH ALESSANDRA (KITA KITA) & SHY (THE BARKER):
Empoy made everyone laugh when he said, “Parehas naman pong malambot ang labi nila. Okay naman po sila. Sa akin naman po sa mga eksena, okay naman po ako. Hindi, joke lang. Wala naman pong problema kasi ginagawa ko lang naman po yun trabaho ko po at mabait po sila parehas at mga kaibigan ko po sila.” (Translation: Both of them have soft lips. They’re both okay on all of our scenes. I’m just joking. There’s no problem since I’m just doing my job. They’re both nice and we’re friends.”)
Shy also expressed his gratitude that Viva and Blank Pages Productions chose her to be the leading lady of Empoy. Since many actresses wish to be partnered up with bankable stars such as Empoy Marquez. In a post-presscon interview, she even thanked her co-stars, director and the whole staff for being accommodating and supportive.
When Empoy was asked to choose between Shy and Alessandra, he answered with another joke, “Kung sino pong unang magpapahiram sa akin ng ATM.” Seriously though, he said that both are very close and familiar to him since he worked with Alessandra before in an MMFF movie and he also worked as Shy’s leading man in Kapitan Awesome of TV5.
EMPOY IS NOW TIED TO STAR CINEMA FOR TWO YEARS:
Empoy Marquez is now an exclusive talent of STAR CINEMA, he signed a 2-year exclusive contract with them. When asked how many movies he was promised by STAR CINEMA, he jokingly said 104, so everyone laughed.
He said that though he’s a contract star of STAR CINEMA, he can still work with other production companies as long as they collaborate with Star Cinema.
EMPOY TALKS ABOUT HIS MRI SCAN:
Empoy was asked about the result of the MRI Scan which had him crying. He said he’s okay and that the result was negative (which was good), and he needed to go to a dentist. He also mentioned having a GAOC sponsor, and after being checked up, he was diagnosed with TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. This is what’s causing the numbness of his jaw and cheeks. When asked again why he cried when he saw the result of the MRI scan, a natural comedian, he said he’s concerned that his kissing scene with Shy might get affected. He wanted his face to be “ferfect (with an f) for the moment”.
For those who are concerned about Empoy, TMJ disorder has something to do with pain on the jaw’s joint. It is temporary and is not considered fatal. It can be relieved with self-managed care & nonsurgical treatments. However, for extreme cases, surgery may be involved. Empoy is currently receiving treatment for this and hopefully, he would recover soon.
KISSING SCENE WITH SHY CARLOS:
Empoy was told that Shy told reporters that kissing Empoy was like kissing Piolo Pascual. He tried passing the mic to Shy but ended up reacting to the said comment. He said, “Of course, same! Same lips, same feeling!…parang gusto mong, hindi, maharot lang talaga si Shy.” (Translation: “Of course, same! Same lips, same feeling, I think you want something, no, Shy was just joking around”.)
Q & A with Direk Dennis & Producer Arlyn:
PRODUCER ARLYN CONFIRMS THAT ‘THE BARKER’ WAS ALREADY ONGOING EVEN BEFORE KITA KITA BECAME A BOX-OFFICE HIT:
Producer Arlyn dela Cruz-Bernal confirms that they were already doing the meetings and shooting ‘The Barker’ before Kita kita was shown in cinemas and eventually became the box-office hit with more than 300M, even surpassing Heneral Luna to become Philippines’ Top grossing Indie Film. On the third day of their shooting day for ‘The Barker’, ‘Kita kita’ was shown in cinemas and since then, they had a hard time shooting because they saw some changes in the way the public treated Empoy. If before he wasn’t being noticed and the shooting went smoothly, it changed and people started noticing him and coming in droves to see Empoy so they had to do some crowd control.
DIRECTOR DENNIS PADILLA TALKS ABOUT HIS GREATEST INFLUENCES IN TERMS OF DIRECTING:
Direk Dennis Padilla mentioned that he made a lot of successful movies with VIVA Films. He was launched in 1992 in the movie, MANDURUGAS, directed by Eddie Rodriguez. All his movies with Andrew E were directed by Ben Feleo. He also mentioned other directors such as Felix Dalay & Jet Espiritu. He said he worked with almost all of the great comedy directors and learned a lot from them. So he wishes to pass on his knowledge in terms of comedy to what he dubbed as the “newest superstar comedian”, which is Empoy.
DIRECTOR DENNIS PADILLA: MORE CUTE, LESS SLAPSTICK ON ‘THE BARKER’
Direk Dennis stressed out that ‘The Barker’ has less slapstick comedy, & is more on the cute side and funny scenes. Empoy would show people how to love someone and he even jokingly said that he wished that after the movie, Empoy would be in a relationship with Shy. He even laughed as he asked Empoy to buy a piece of land in Baliuag and to give it to Shy so she can stay with him. Truthfully, he noted that even on the first day of shooting, the chemistry of the two is off the charts. Direk Dennis even asked Shy if she was willing to do a certain ending scene with Empoy because she was about to leave him. Direk Dennis was happy because they did the scene willingly.
DIREK DENNIS HOPES TO BRING BACK ‘ACTION-COMEDY’ GENRE:
Empoy and Dennis worked together in MTB (Variety show), Mr. Suave, and Bora. Dennis saw how Empoy’s career took off when he became a star in TV5. So he’s quite sure that Empoy can handle and start the resurgence of the action-comedy genre. For many years, Direk Dennis noted that the romantic-comedy genre dominated the entertainment industry so he thinks it’s about time to bring back the Action-Comedy(with Romance) into the limelight.
As for the pressure, he mentioned he was pressured during the first few days of shooting because it’s his first time directing but eventually the pressure dissipated and he became quite relaxed especially when he was already editing the movie. He’s also happy about the positive reaction of the public and comments on social media when the trailer of THE BARKER came out.
EXPECTATIONS REGARDING HOW MUCH ‘THE BARKER’ WILL MAKE CONSIDERING ‘KITA KITA’ WAS A 300M BLOCKBUSTER HIT AND A BIG CHUNK OF THE REASON WHY IT WAS SUCCESSFUL WAS EMPOY:
Producer Arlyn said that she didn’t want to have expectations, but hopes that this movie is something that people would react to favorably. She hopes that the people would enjoy the movie since when she previewed the movie, she noted that the comedy and punchlines weren’t forced and too slapstick. She’s really happy about the outcome of the movie since she really enjoyed it so she’s quite sure others will enjoy it too.
WHY DID THEY CHOOSE EMPOY?
From the way questions were asked that day, I think that some, if not ‘most’ people thought that Empoy was chosen as the leading man of ‘THE BARKER’ because of how successful his previous movie was. Some questions asked were kind of hinting that the movie was trying to ride on to the success of ‘Kita kita’, which is why the same question was asked multiple times. But as Direk Dennis, Producer Arlyn, and Empoy himself kept repeating, he already signed and agreed to do the movie (plus one other undisclosed movie) and was already filming ‘THE BARKER’ when Kita Kita suddenly became a hit.
Since a lot of people loved him in ‘Kita kita’, evidence of which is it became the #1 Romantic Comedy Indie film of the Philippines. It’s only natural to see some scenes that provoke a sense of continuity of his character as Tonyo, which we all loved. It’s understandable too that some people might think this movie is riding on the popularity of ‘Kita kita’ but aside from the fact that they already got Empoy prior to the showing of Kita kita, this movie is a totally different genre since it’s an action-comedy love story. As Coco the Barker, Empoy once again relies on his naturally sweet, playful and funny banters, witty one-liners and his “FUNNY is the NEW POGI” demeanor to make the audience love him more and accept that he’s the top male comedian and lead star right now.
Producer Arlyn further clarified that the movie ‘THE BARKER’ was supposed to be produced by someone else but backed out at the last moment and Direk Dennis and Gary Lim pitched their movie to Ms. Arlyn so they sat down and conceptualized the whole story in a restaurant. She asked both of them to give her one week after the original produced backed out, so that they can continue the project. After a week, they went ahead with the project without the leading man. Direk Dennis picked Empoy as the leading man after working with him for several years and seeing that it was a good opportunity since Empoy will be fresh from starring in a movie from Viva by the time ‘THE BARKER’ hits the cinemas. They had no idea at that time that KITA KITA would be successful.
ARLYN DELA-CRUZ BERNAL WON’T LEAVE REGULAR JOB AS NEWS DIRECTOR OF RADYO INQUIRER:
Correlating Arlyn’s career to the name of the production company. BLANK PAGES PRODUCTIONS, someone asked if Ms. Arlyn will leave her career as the news director of RADYO INQUIRER to concentrate on becoming a movie producer. She cleared that she won’t be leaving her regular job but would still continue to produce movies.
DAUGHTER CLAUDIA ALREADY INTRODUCED JOSHUA TO DENNIS PADILLA:
Dennis Padilla mentions that Claudia already introduced Joshua to him (#JOSHIA loveteam). Direk Dennis is also open for an Empoy-Claudia teamup but he said he’s rooting for Empoy-Shy (#EMSHY) love team instead since he thinks Claudia and Empoy are possibly better as siblings rather than as a love team.
DIREK DENNIS SEES POTENTIAL IN EMPOY AND SAYS EMPOY’S LUCKY THAT HE DOESN’T SHARE THE LIMELIGHT FOR ROMANTIC ACTION COMEDY WITH ANYONE AS OF THE MOMENT:
Director Dennis Padilla sees himself and other comedians of his time in Empoy and also notes that Empoy is lucky that he currently has the limelight to himself and no one else to share it with.
Q&A with the rest of the cast members:
JEMINA AND RAFFY WERE ASKED ABOUT THEIR TRANSITION FROM DRAMA TO COMEDY:
For Jemina Sy, it wasn’t hard to make the transition from Drama to Comedy because she relied on their director to motivate them to do the scenes and most of which were done naturally so it was easy for them to act. Raffy Reyes agrees with Jemina, and credited Direk Dennis for making the transition process & internalization very smooth and simple. Gary Lim was asked about his role, and he mentioned he’s the uncle of Coco (Empoy) & a jeepney driver.
JEMINA SY DENIES BEING A SILENT PARTNER/PRODUCER FOR “THE BARKER”:
Jemina was asked not once but twice about being a silent partner/producer for “THE BARKER”. In both times, she denied it and said that she’s working as a regular talent/artist and not as a producer for the movie.
GARY LIM TALKS ABOUT HIS PRESENT SITUATION:
Gary Lim was asked how he was doing after losing his manager. He says he is doing well even without a manager, he then thanked Dennis Padilla for including him in his projects and he also thanked Viva for the opportunities. Ms. Arlyn mentioned that Gary helped with the conceptualization of the Barker as well. He plays Coco’s (Empoy) uncle who is a jeepney driver and who helps Coco transition to becoming a jeepney barker.
That’s all folks. Mark your calendars, THE BARKER is going to be shown on OCTOBER 25, 2017 in all major cinemas nationwide!
THE BARKER is an action comedy romance movie that will definitely appeal to people of all ages. And if Kita kita is a gauge of how bankable Empoy is right now, Direk Dennis has very high expectations and he hopes that they would hit a sizable movie gross. Empoy’s follow up movie is honestly something that I am looking forward to.
The barker stars the ‘Kita Kita’ star Empoy Marquez and ‘Viva princess’ Shy Carlos and directed by Ace Comedian, Director Dennis Padilla.
The Barker’s tagline is “jeepney barker by day, action hero by night”.
The Barker will soon be showing in cinemas on October 25, 2017.
The movie is produced by Viva Films and Blank Pages Productions.
Special thanks to Ms. Ferlin and her group as well as Viva Entertainment for the presscon invitation.
Most of the pictures and videos posted here were all taken personally by me during the presscon for the movie, THE BARKER. You may use them for your sites and share them in social media, just as long as you give credit to my site (joysofasia.com) and help promote this movie.
Other promotional pictures & GIF-converted videos are owned by Viva Entertainment & Blank Pages Production.
The background music in the very first video, “Don’t know what to do” is the official theme song of THE BARKER. Don’t Know What To Do was sung by Janine Teñoso and is owned and copyrighted by VIVA ENTERTAINMENT and VIVA RECORDS CORPORATION. No copyright infringement is intended.