Sunday, June 01, 2003

Zsazsa Zaturnnah: The Movie?

Over the past few days, there has been speculated interest in the making of the Zsazsa Zaturnnah movie adaptation. Mention of Zsazsa has allegedly been made on People’s Tonight and Private Conversations with Boy Abunda. While I personally feel it’s too early to have a Zsazsa movie, I have thought about how the piece would translate onscreen and what I’d like to see, given the opportunity. Following are my six ‘requests.’

1. Please do not play for laughs. A majority, if not all, Filipino comedies bank on physical puns to elicit laughter – slapstick, extreme face contortions on punchlines, the ‘hwehwehweeeh’ track. I do not recall a Pinoy movie that relied on the wit of dialogue, save perhaps for Barbie with Joey de Leon, or the late Ading Fernando’s fantastic sitcom Duplex. I tried my best not to overkill the physical puns in Zsazsa, and allow characterization and dialogue to supply a good dose of humor. I must repeat here that comedy is really not the first word I’d use to describe Zsazsa Zaturnnah. It’s a spoof, yes, which should translate as ‘comedy,’ but I really aimed for ‘amusement.’ An absurdist slice-of-life, if there’s such a thing. So if I were to be asked, the actors should not play for laughs. Stick to character, avoid as much extremes as possible, and let the absurdity itself take the audience for the ride.

2. TV ad director wanted. My personal impression is that TV commercial directors have a honed sense of brevity in film making, packing all sorts of information about a product in a minute or less. They are constantly conscious of the need to keep an audience’s attention, using all sorts of techniques in editing, lighting, cinematography, etc. to make a commercial engaging and interesting. This is not to say that Zsazsa: The Movie ought to be shot to appear like a commercial, but the essence of one should be there. The comedic timing is important, not just of the actors, but of the director as well.

3. The spirit of Zsazsa should rule. The story of Zsazsa Zaturnnah is again an absurdist slice-of-life, about normal people who are subjected to extreme situations. These people hardly philosophize about the Universal Plan, nor do they question the fates much. Rather, they decide to do something about it, not because of any high-brow morality issue, good vs. evil, but because they just want to get on with their lives normally and productively. This Filipino ‘fatalistic’ mentality, coupled with the desire to overcome, is at the core of the Zsazsa Zaturnnah story. The atmosphere of Zsazsa: The Movie ought to reflect this; the punchlines are bonuses and are at best secondary.

4. The fight scene between Zsazsa and the Amazonistas should kick ass. The climactic encounter should be bitchin’ and frenzied. Hongkong wirework martial arts with complex choreography are preferred. In the movie, the battle scene in Cielo’s Kakanin factory should be characterized by ‘organized glamorous chaos.’ Given this, the actors should be willing to subject themselves to training and should, at least, have some sort of dance or gymnastics background. Stunt people will be required. The director should be familiar with the kind of camera work needed for this fight scene, which should come out as ‘astig’ and ‘mataray’ at the same time. Tough call on this one. Let’s face it: the Amazonistas are intergalactic warriors and Zsazsa is our superhero protagonist. They deserve a real fight scene.

5. Wanted: a sizeable budget for special effects, and highly-experienced effects wizards. Goes without saying.

6. Feedback on Zsazsa Zaturnnah the comic book is encapsulized thus: “We’ve never seen anything like it before!” The movie version should generate the same. Enough said.

Casting Call

I have no particular preferences on this one, so I’ll run a few I have in mind right now:

Zsazsa Zaturnnah – Rosanna Roces, Michelle van Eimeren, Ruffa Mae Quinto
Ada – Epi Quizon
Didi – Allan K., Chocolate, John Lapus
Dodong – Piolo Pascual, Carlo Muñoz, Wendell Ramos
Aling Britney – Caridad Sanchez, Anita Linda
Father Bernie – Vic Sotto, Francis M
Ben Bolroco – Bentong, or that Yakult ad guy (forgot his name)
Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux – Dawn Zulueta, Mylene Dizon, Pops Fernandez
Nora A. – Gelli de Belen, Gretchen Barreto
Vilma S. – Miriam Quiambao, Ynez Veneracion
Sharon C. – Belinda Bright, Lara Fabregas
Dina B. – Aubrey Miles, Angela Velez

1 comment:

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