Aug 9, 2007

Tarantino in, Hartnett out

MANILA, Philippines -- Hollywood actor Josh Hartnett flew out in the midst of a storm, while maverick filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was just getting a taste of it.
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“I have probably seen more than I ever had in a week in my life,” Hartnett said before he left for Hong Kong after a weeklong visit to the Philippines, where he shot the movie “I Come With the Rain,” directed by award-winning Vietnamese filmmaker Tranh Anh Hung.

Hartnett left Wednesday as Tropical Storm “Chedeng”

(international codename: Pabuk) blew out of the Philippines after sideswiping the country’s northern sections and dumping much-needed rain across Luzon, including Metro Manila, after weeks of a dry spell.

Storm or not, director Tarantino would not be bogged down by a pre-arranged schedule on his first day in Manila.

The maverick Hollywood filmmaker -- known for such genre-redefining movies as “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” the “Kill Bill” series and “From Dusk Till Dawn” (as writer and actor) -- arrived on Tuesday to attend this year’s Cinemanila International Film Festival.

On Wednesday, Tarantino made it clear to event organizers that he had his own mind, too, away from the cameras, and his own plan for the brief visit.

Tarantino was scheduled to meet sponsors and attend a film screening set for him by Cinemanila director Tikoy Aguiluz, prior to Wednesday night’s festival opening at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City.

Romero, Santiago

Instead, he decided to take it easy, had a massage at his hotel, according to a source, and sought to meet three people: National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, director Cirio H. Santiago and former Congresswoman Imee Marcos, head of the newly launched Creative Media and Film Society of the Philippines, a coalition of leaders from the independent film, animation and digital media industries.

For the Gateway event, the carefree director was gifted with a piña barong by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), according to council vice chair Christine Dayrit.

Dinner at the Pen

Tarantino was measured in the morning and Reesa Tesoro-Guerrero had the outfit delivered at sundown. In character, he turned up in jeans and a T-shirt.

The FDCP also hosted a dinner for him on Tuesday night at the Manila Peninsula hotel, from where the party proceeded to the French Embassy for a short reception and was joined by Imee Marcos.

In an earlier interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer LA correspondent Ruben Nepales, Tarantino said he came to know the Philippines through the films of Romero and Santiago.

The filmmaker, who is being given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Cinemanila, reiterated Wednesday in television interviews that he was an admirer of the two Filipinos’ works.

The source said Tarantino was keen on visiting popular party places in Manila.

Tarantino flew in from Japan, where he promoted his latest movie, “Death Proof.” It is about two women who take vengeance on a serial killer. The women in his movies are typically strong and fearless.

Man and woman

“I was raised by a single mother,” he told reporters in Tokyo before his departure for Manila. “I grew up believing more or less that there’s nothing a man can do that a woman can’t.”

Cinemanila runs until Aug. 19. Tarantino’s first public appearance was at the festival opening night Wednesday at the Gateway Mall in Quezon City.

Tarantino is set to give a press conference on Saturday, and conduct a workshop on film and filmmaking Aug. 17-19 on Boracay Island in Aklan province.

Diwalwal ‘gorgeous’

Rain or shine, fans cheered their idol Hartnett during his visit to Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley province.

The actor described Diwalwal, home to about 40,000 people, as “such a gorgeous part of the world.”

“It’s only 25 years old but they built an interesting community,” he said of the mine area.

The narrow roads of Diwalwal were clogged with fans screaming “I love you ‘Josh’!” when Hartnett came.

Filipina production coordinator Joann Bañaga even overheard one fan scream: “I love you Black Hawk Down!” -- referring to the war movie that top-billed Hartnett.

Upon seeing Hartnett, a 70-year-old woman in Compostela Valley quipped: “Such a handsome boy you are! I love you!”

Fan love

The 29-year-old actor blushed and flashed a wide grin, Bañaga said.

The actor encountered fan love everywhere.

Arriving at the Centennial Airport in Manila from Davao before his flight to Hong Kong, Hartnett, simply clad in black sweatshirt and wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat he had bought in Davao, was again accosted by snapshot-hungry fans -- mostly airport employees.

He graciously accommodated the fans.

After a fan took his picture, he joked: “I think I blinked in that photo, better take another one.”

Director Tranh told the Inquirer that he and Hartnett also shot scenes on the Philippine Airlines plane that took them from Davao to Manila.

“He was totally committed to the project,” Tranh said.

“Even though he was very tired, he still managed to work on the plane and smile at everyone,” Bañaga said.

“He hardly slept throughout his weeklong stay in Diwalwal,” Bañaga recalled. “He said that the roosters’ crowing kept him up.”

But Hartnett apparently loved the food in Diwalwal.

Hartnett told the Inquirer he stopped being a vegetarian two years ago and had been eating meat since.

During the weeklong filming of “I Come with the Rain,” Hartnett said he ate all the food served him.

“I had rice, chicken and all that. I haven’t had a meal I didn’t like.”

Hartnett said he also enjoyed most of the fruits served him, including mangosteen and the little bananas locally known as señorita.

According to Bañaga, mangosteen was his favorite.

Even liked durian

Maricar Zamora, daughter of Compostela Valley Rep. Manuel Zamora, who owns a fruit farm in Moncayo where the actor stayed, said she tried giving Hartnett durian on the night of his arrival but he politely declined.

But Bañaga said Hartnett later tried durian “and liked it.”

Hartnett discovered that reports about security concerns on Mt. Diwalwal were not true at all and said that the heavy security provided him “was completely unnecessary.”

About 1,000 men were provided Hartnett and company for their security, according to Bañaga.

The actor said he would always treasure his Mt. Diwalwal experience.

“Acting is but a collection of experiences. It takes a long time to become a good actor. So you need to experience life. As you get to know more people, get to know more of the situation, you love, you travel, you see things young people have not seen, and you become textured and more mature. So I guess daily life is my muse,” Hartnett said.

The cast and crew intend to spend nine weeks in Hong Kong before flying to Los Angeles.

Apart from hiring local residents as extras and crew members, the producers donated a foot bridge, a public shower facility and funds to refurbish the barangay hall.

The producers also plan to send computers to the village, said Bañaga.
Marinel Cruz, Bayani San Diego Jr., Dennis Jay Santos
Inquirer, Mindanao Bureau

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