In the upcoming movie "Here Comes the Groom," hunk actor Enchong Dee will be seen by fans portraying for the first time ever a transgender role.
In an interview, Enchong was asked if it was something he avoided doing in the past.
He answered: "Bale ang nangyari po kasi may mga pangyayari sa buhay natin na unexpected. Na akala ko, kapag meron nangyari sa buhay ko at kapag nawala yung mga bagay na yun, I will be broken, I will be shattered. Pero na-realize ko na: 'Ah, when things started to change, when things started to fall, it wasn't that bad.'"
"And na realize ko na: 'Okay, since nandito na ako sa sitwasyon na to ngayon, lalo na sa taon na to ngayon, I want to surprise my audience," he continued.
"I want to do something new for my audience so that they will appreciate my craft, they will look at me as an actor, not as someone who's holding on to the, you know, past, the reputation."
Enchong is only too eager to move forward.
"So whatever is holding me from the past, let it hold onto me," he declared. "Pero whatever is going to happen in the future, nasa sa akin yun, kontrolado ko yun. Hindi ko hahayaan na masira just because something happened in the past."
Though Enchong didn't expound on the matter further, it can be recalled that a decade ago, the 34-year-old star's sexuality was questioned.
He reiterated he's not gay.
In the same interview, Enchong also talked about his character in the film, Junior.
There, Junior’s soul was swapped with that of Kaladkaren's Wilhelmina, a transgender woman.
He related: "Bawat isa po sa amin dito, umabot kami sa point na kinukwestyun namin yung kakayahan namin bilang artista."
But he's thankful the film's writer and director Chris Martinez and co-star Kaladkaren gave him ample support.
"Yung kalahati po ng trabaho kay Direk kasi buong-buo yung script nung binigay po sa amin. At kalahati po ng pelikula dahil po kay Kaladkaren."
Enchong has nothing but good words for the TV host and impersonator.
"Yung generosity ni Kaladkaren para ibahagi kung paano niya gagawin si Wilhelmina, siya po talaga ito," he noted.
"And I will always be thankful for Kaladkaren, for Jervi (the latter's real name), for being so generous. Kasi po bawat eksena kahit po (tulog) na siya, gigisingin po siya ng produksyon para tanungin kung paano niya ito i-de-deliver. Ganu'n po siya ka generous. Kaya Kaladkaren, I love you, I love you, I love you!"
Of course, the TV personality echoed the same.
She said: "Ako rin nagpapasalamat din ako ng buong puso kay Enchong. Ako rin tinatanong ko siya kung paano niya i-de-deliver yung lines. So thank you so much Enchong for helping me become a man at least on film."
"Kasi sa totoo lang po, napakahirap po para sa isang transgender woman na katulad ko na magpaka lalaki or maging lalaki kasi yun na nga po yung bagay na tinalikuran ko na. Ayoko ng... ayokong maging lalaki pero sa pelikulang ito, hinugot ko lahat ng kaya kong hugutin para mag-boses lalaki, kumilos lalaki. Because I don't walk like that. I dont talk like that. I don't stare at someone like that. So parang 'Tinalikuran ko na to e, ta's lalaki na naman ako?' Katulad ng sinabi ni Enchong (yung line from the movie): 'Blast from the past!'"
Kaladkaren quipped: "Parang ako, ramdam na ramdam ko yun as transgender woman na: 'Oh my god lalaki ako dito! Paano ko ba to gagawin?"
And if she would rate Enchong's performance, it will be a perfect 10.
"Kasi I know how hard it is for him na maging katulad ko nga - maging girl, maging isang transgender woman. Kasi yung mga pagpitik ng kamay bago mag-action, alam mo yun, inalalayan ko siya tapos siya naman very willing to learn," Kaladkaren said. "Yun ang importante sa isang artista I think e. Yung you step out of your comfort zone. Get out of the box. Learn something every day. So I think with Enchong, 10 talaga yung performance niya kasi ang hirap maging transgender woman kung ikaw ay talaga straight at matigas na lalaki."
She then shared the technique they used in portraying their respective roles.
"Bago niya gawin, gagawin ko muna," Kaladkaren said, relating how she would even demonstrate her reaction to Enchong.
"Tapos nagagawa niya! Tuwang-tuwa naman ako. Ang galing mo dun, sabi ko sa kanya," referring to Enchong's “walling” as seen in the film.
As for the most challenging part, Enchong shared it’s that of minding even the smallest of details.
"Kunwari yung mga tingin... the way you stare is different," he related.
He added: "Si Direk Chris, mabilis yung proseso niya. Gusto niya in five seconds napakita mo yung nuances na kailangan niya."
Enchong noted how the director also clarified to him that a trans woman is much different from gays.
Asked if he'll be open to doing similar roles in the future, Enchong teased: "Sa tama pong halaga."
On the other hand, Enchong expressed reticence when told he has a big chance of snatching the Best Actor plum on the awards night for the first Summer edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival.
Note that "Here Comes the Groom" is an official entry.
"Parang maaga pa po para sa ganyan. Pero sabi ko nga po, I always say sa lahat ng cast, we always accept the goodness of the universe. Whatever it will offer, we will accept. So maraming salamat po pero yun nga, the awards will not happen until the April 11...,"
Realizing it’s the same date as the wedding of his character in the film, he said in jest, "It's a sign."
"Sabi ng universe: 'Okay, fine."
"Here Comes the Groom," the sequel to the 2010 hit movie "Here Comes the Bride” opens in theaters April 8.
It is produced by Quantum Films, CineKo Productions, and Brightlight Productions.