After 16 years in showbiz, Paolo Ballesteros finally bagged a titular role in a movie which was made specially for him and his internationally-popular makeup transformations.
We usually see Paolo in a supporting role in an MMFF movie starring Bossing Vic Sotto. This year, the table has turned. Sotto was excluded in MMFF and now Paolo becomes a frontrunner for the festival’s Best Actor category for his first titular role in a movie, “Die Beautiful.”
The Jun Robles Lana-film, which is one of the 8 entries in the upcoming 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival, has already earned awards abroad. Last October, it took home the Audience Award at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival. Paolo, on the other hand, won the Best Actor trophy at the same festival. And earlier this month, the Eat Bulaga host also won a Special Jury award for outstanding performance in the said movie at the 21st Kerala International Film Festival in India.
In “Die Beautiful,” Paolo is portraying the role of Trisha, a transgender woman who wished to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake when he dies. This is why his exceptional skills in makeup transformations which have been recognized here and abroad serves as highlights of the film.
During the blogcon for “Die Beautiful” on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at Salu Restaurant in Quezon City, we asked Paolo what he feels about his first titular role and how his talent in makeup transformation becomes the heart of the movie.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
On being meticulous with his makeup transformations for “Die Beautiful”:
“Sa looks and dun sa gagawing mga makeup transformations, nag-aaral kami ni Direk Jun kung ano ang pwedeng gawin, kung sinong pwede, kaya ayan lagi akong may baong ilaw kaya ‘pag nagshu-shoot kami, kailang langing may ganito kasi parang sayang naman kung hindi full effect yung mangyayari pero in fairness with Direk Jun, he’s open for collaboration.”
On getting a titular role in a movie and awards for making makeup transformations:
“Akala ko best in long gown (laughs). Hindi, kasi very personal din sa akin itong movie na ito kasi this is my first title role and parang sinukat sa akin yung film, swak na swak. Pero lahat naman ng project ko binibigay ko ang 100% at everyday din kasi ako nakikita sa Eat Bulaga e so I make sure na iba ang makikita nila dito sa movie. Talagang very personal sa akin kaya pinabutihan ko talaga. Kung sakaling mabigyan ako ng award e thankful but I’m not doing it for the award but because maganda rin kasi ang story ni Direk Jun.”
On Die Beautiful being made specially for Filipino audience:
“‘Yun ngang sa Japan nagulat kami, sabi ko tatawa kaya ang mga ito, feeling ko tumatawa naman sila. Sana ma-appreciate din dito sa atin kasi gaya nga ng sinabi ni Direk Jun, it’s specially made for Filipino audience.”
On preparing for the transvestite role:
“Yun ang lagi kong tinatanong kay Direk kasi meron siyang series of flashbacks, ‘yung college, ‘yung pa-bakla pa lang, so may level siya ng pagka-bakla. And Direk is always there to tell me halimbawa masyadong bakla na ‘yan, so ayun parang team work talaga.”
On preparing for his makeup transformations:
“Alas sais ng umaga naguumpisa na ako magkutkot ng kilay ko and then inaabot siya ng at least 3 hours…16 years na ako sa showbiz tapos parang ito ang culmination e kaya kahit anong hirap at kahit anong pagod, go lang.”
“Siyempre ‘yung looks nila iba iba merong Beyonce, merong Lady Gaga na medyo wild. Merong maganda na si Julia Roberts. Dun din kasi sa story may connect din yung makeup transformation ko. Regarding sa wig, marami na rin naman akong naipon na wig sa bahay ino-order ko lang online.”
On why he chose doing makeup transformations as a special hobby:
“I’m a kind of person kasi who loves challenges so I guess yun yung first reason ko e yung na-chachallenge ako. Di naman for everyone ang makeup transformation e so china-challenge ko ang sarili ko. Bilang artist kapag nagpeperform ka natutuwa sila sa mga ginagawa mo sa same thing with makeup transformation, natutuwa sila sa mga pinopost ko sa Instagram.”
On how he’s handling his hardly-earned popularity lately:
“Same ng professionalism, I guess kaya naman tayo nagkaroon ng awards at nakilala sa ano kasi ayun mabusisi. Wala namang nagbago e, ganun pa rin naman ako gaya ng dati.”
On the brewing commercial success of Die Beautiful in this year’s MMFF:
“Yes I’m confident, lalo na yung mga ginagawa natin gaya ng sabi ni Direk and with your help, di ba, sana mas ma-convince pa natin sila na manood specially now na maraming pagbabago pero it’s the same board pa rin naman e so sana…ok (laughs).”
On being tagged as an ‘underrated’ actor:
“Ako naman I don’t care naman about the titles you know. Kasi hindi naman yun ang priority ko e, gagawa ako ng pelikula at magtatrabaho ako, I will give my 100% Kasi sa akin din naman yun e di naman sa iisipin ng ibang tao. Gaya ng sinabi ko kanila I love to challenge myself so more than anything else kailangan yung magagalingan ako sa sarili ko. So title or not, ok lang.”
Don’t miss the MMFF 2016 entry “Die Beautiful” to be shown in cinemas nationwide beginning December 25, 2016.
Two-time international best actor winner #PaoloBallesteros is not expecting to win in this year's MMFF. Starring in a solo movie that highlights his incredible make-up skills is good enough for him. Bonus na lang kapag nanalo siya sa MMFF. His movie #DieBeautiful, by the way, got an "A" rating from the CEB. Don't miss the award-winning Jun Lana film which is set to open in cinemas nationwide on December 25, 2016. . . . @percinotpercy @junrobleslana #MMFF #MMFF2016 #DieBeautifulMMFF2016 #dramedy #comedy #movie #film #LGBT #BestActor #makeup #LadyGaga
Here’s Paolo inviting you to watch “Die Beautiful”:
Here are some videos from the blogcon…
Paolo Ballesteros Arrives as Lady Gaga at ‘Die Beautiful’ Blogcon
It Took Paolo Ballesteros 3 Hours to Transform to His Character in ‘Die Beautiful’
How the MMFF Entry and Gay-Themed Movie ‘Die Beautiful’ was Conceptualized
‘Die Beautiful’ is a Collaboration Between Paolo Ballesteros and Director Jun Lana
‘Die Beautiful’ Nag-hit sa Ibang Bansa Kahit Ginawa for Filipino Audience
Paolo Ballesteros – From Makeup Transformations to International Acting Awards
‘Die Beautiful’ is Perfect for the New Criteria of MMFF