It was a Friday afternoon when screenplay writer, movie, and TV director Antoinette Jadaone confirmed the set location where she and director Dan Villegas will be the next day. Direk Dan, who happens to also be Direk Tonet’s boyfriend, is currently shooting his upcoming entry for QCinema, the movie adaptation of Juan Miguel Severo’s The Virgin Labfest play Hintayan ng Langit. It will star veteran actors Eddie Garcia and Gina Pareno. I haven’t been in a movie set in a while, so it made me a bit excited and anxious as I didn’t want to intrude too much in their process. The set was in a library at a university somewhere in Manila. “Follow the cables,” says Direk Tonet in a text message as to where I could find them, which was rather easy because as I entered the university, I immediately saw said cables trailing to a building on my right.
To give you a brief background on how I’ve come across Direk Tonet, it’s probably the same as most of you, it’s from her runaway hit That Thing Called Tadhana. She has a flair for writing and directing romantic comedies that are relatable; making sure that her viewers understand the painful realization that sometimes relationships doesn’t end with wedding bells and romantic gestures. Not everyone gets a happy ending. But in conjunction with this, she’s also been giving us stories that would leave you cackling and hopeful, like her movie Love You to the Stars and Back and English Only, Please, in which the latter was directed by Direk Dan.
That’s how I met Direk Dan, on the set of English Only, Please, because I was asked to tag along by my friend Derek Ramsay who played one of the lead characters of the said movie. Both directors share the same vision when it comes to telling their stories that’s why it’s not a surprise that they’ve worked with numerous projects together. They’re the dream team of Pinoy romcoms.
I sat down with Direk Dan and Direk Tonet during their lunch break on set. I brought them their drinks, both Coca Cola—one regular and one zero. I would usually drink together with my interviewee when I do this, but I already gave up on drinking soda and it’s been a while since I drank Coke. Watch these brilliant directors as they talk about how they started doing what they do best, where they can stay for a week, and what movie would Direk Tonet would like Direk Dan to watch soon.