Brillante Mendoza

Brillante Mendoza Comments On Coco Martin-Julia Montes Rumored Romance

Here’s why Coco Martin replaced the supposed lead actor of “Apag,” a Summer MMFF 2023 entry

Director Brillante Mendoza says Coco Martin had no qualms about being second choice as the lead actor of the movie “Apag.”

This family drama film is an official entry to the 2023 Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) which will run from April 8 to April 18 nationwide.

READ ALSO: Here Are The Entries Of The First Summer MMFF

In “Apag,” Martin plays the son of an affluent Kapampangan businessman (Lito Lapid). Martin’s character commits a crime and the character of Lapid sacrifices himself in order to save his son from being put in jail.

It was actually Martin who volunteered to become the lead actor of “Apag” when Aljur Abrenica suddenly backed out from the role.

During an interview with Brillante Mendoza on March 21 held at Mandaluyong City, he narrated why Abrenica backed out and how Martin managed to squeeze in shooting days during the Christmas break.

Brillante Mendoza on Coco Martin
Coco Martin in “Apag.”

A few days before shooting “Apag”, Mendoza said he received a phone call from Abrenica regarding his decision to back out from the movie.

Mendoza recalls, “Tumawag siya at nag-backout. According to the manager, natakot siya kasi nung nag-Kapampangan raw siya, pinagtawanan raw siya ng kapatid niya at tatay niya. Hindi authentic. Siguro na-insecure siya.”

Mendoza also admits, “Siyempre, nataranta ako kasi naka-setup na kami. Nagkataon nasabi ko kay Coco, ‘May problema ako.’ Kapag may problema si Coco sa set ng ‘Ang Probinsyano,’ tumatawag yan. ‘Tapos sinabi ko kay Coco, si Aljur nag-back out. ‘Tapos sabi ni Coco, ‘Kung hindi lang ako nagte-taping, ako na yan, e.”

At first, Mendoza did not believe Martin. “Magpa-Pasko nun tapos sabi ni Coco, ‘Hindi, may break ako.’ Then, tinawagan ko siya the following day at tinanong ko siya, ‘Seryoso ka ba?'”

Martin confirmed and he sacrificed his Christmas vacation in order to shoot “Apag.” He had eight shooting days in Pampanga for this movie which also stars Gladys Reyes, Julio Diaz, Joseph Marco, Mercedes Cabral, Carlos Canlas, Vince Rillon, Jaclyn Jose, and Gina Pareno.

“I guess it’s not really meant for Aljur,” says Brillante Mendoza.

Coco Martin shoots kissing scene with Julia Montes in “Pola

During the interview, Brillante Mendoza has also showed a brief trailer of the film “Pola,” the upcoming reunion movie of Coco and Julia Montes that was shot in Pola, Oriental Mindoro.

When FreebieMNL asked Mendoza to describe the dynamics of Montes and Martin on the set of “Pola,” he answered, “Normal ang [dynamics] nila. Although si Julia ang more na kinakabahan.

“Although second time ko na siyang nakatrabaho. Una yung para sa ‘Doctors to the Barrio’ kunsaan isa siyang doctor.”

The Cannes award-winning director observed that the stars of “Pola”–namely Martin, Montes, and Raymart Santiago–developed a close bond on the set.

Para nga silang magbabarkada. Minsan, naguusap-usap sila tapos enter frame ako tapos bigla silang tatahimik. Pero noong una, nanibago sina Raymart at Julia. Pero nung second day, naka-cope na sila.”

Does Martin give pointers to Montes on the set? “Off-cam, nag-uusap sila,” Mendoza answers.

In the film “Pola,” Montes is cast as the girlfriend of Martin’s character.

When FreebieMNL asked Mendoza if Martin and Montes shot a kissing scene for “Pola,” he answers, “Meron sila.”

How many takes were done for the kiss between Martin and Montes? Mendoza points out, “Hindi naman ako nagte-take two.”

When asked about the room assignments of the stars of “Pola,” Mendoza says with a laugh, “Ay, hindi ko alam kasi nakahiwalay ako nang bahay. Magkasama kami ni Julia sa room.”

Does Martin open up to Mendoza and shares secrets regarding his personal life? “Hindi naman lahat.

Martin and Montes have long been rumored to be in a relationship. When Mendoza was asked if he was happy for the two of them, he says, “Siyempre, basta masaya yung tao, dapat masaya tayo para sa mga tao.

Does Brillante Mendoza think Martin and Montes are happy now? “Oo, with the way things are going, sa career ni Coco, blessed siya. Makikita mo naman. Blessed sila sa career.”

Words and Interview Jocie Dimaculangan

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