DERRICK Monasterio was last seen as a special guest in the pilot week of “Dragon Lady” opposite Bea Binene. He doesn’t know yet as to when he will get a new soap from GMA-7. “But okay lang kasi I’m busy with two new movies,” he says at the storycon of “G! LU” (which means ‘Go! La Union’), a youth-oriented film intended for release this summer produced by Arnold Vegafria with Ben Chan and Rein Entertainment, the production company of Lino Cayetano and Philip King. King is also the film’s writer and director. “Aside from ‘G! LU’, I’m also in the comeback movie of GMA Films launching comedian Tekla in his first starring role,” adds Derrick.
In “G! LU”, he will co-star with five other young hunks: Ruru Madrid, Kiko Estrada, Enzo Pineda, David Licauco and Teejay Marquez. Their leading ladies are beauty title holders managed by Arnold: Miss Philippines World Katarina Rodriguez, Bb. Pilipinas runner-up Chanel Morales, Miss Eco Tourism Cynthia Tomalla, Miss Multinational 2017 Sophia Senoron, Miss Multinational 2018 Kimi Mugford, and model Michelle Dee, the daughter of Melanie Marquez and Derek Dee. Shooting will start soon on location in San Juan, La Union, now the new in place for young people as far as beach resorts are concerned.
Is Derrick aware that they will be required to show off their bodies in the movie? “Yes, of course. It’s a beach movie and we will be shirtless in a lot of scenes as we will be shown surfing. We'll be in swimming attire, especially the girls who will be in bikinis.”
Is he doing any special preparation for his beach scenes? “No, I always work out naman three times a week so I just need maintenance to be in good shape. Siyempre, I have to be ready kasi all the guys here are buff and into physical fitness so for sure, we’ll be compared with each other.”
The movie’s director, Philip King, is a newbie and this is his directorial debut. We ask him why chose such a difficult project with such a big cast, and to be shot on location at that, for his first project? “I’m aware that it’s a demanding project but I think I’m ready. And the material is near to my heart as it’s about a barkada and, when I was single, I had my own barkada so the material is near to my heart and I can relate to the characters in the movie.”
Arnold Vegafria says the movie is different from other youth films shown recently as all the members come from rich families. No one comes from a life of poverty. They belong to a group called the Valley Boys Club and the movie is about the last seven days of summer when they’re about to graduate from college and have to push the limits of their youthfulness.
Derrick plays Brian, whose family owns shipping and trucking empires started by his grandpa. He’s in a rivalry with his cousin, Ryan played by Enzo Pineda, who happens to be their grandpa’s favorite. A near death experience in La Union will make them re-evaluate their relationship as rival cousins.
Ruru plays Albert, the smartest member of the group who’s an honor student as a software engineer. He’s paired with newcomer Kimi Mugford, who plays an aspiring singer-songwriter. Kiko Estrada is Carlos, the coolest member who just wants his friends to live their best lives ever, often referred to as “maangas but sweet”.
David Licauco is Patrick Dy, the richest barkada member as his Chinese family owns a huge chain of shopping malls in Metro Manila and he is the heir apparent to the empire. He is often pressured to be like his tycoon dad and this somewhat clouds his own view of himself. Teejay Marquez is Ramon, the chick boy in the group who’s the captain of their soccer team but he suffers a knee injury and is forced to undergo rehabilitation, during which time, he becomes close to his male nurse and discovers his true self and sexual orientation.
Arnold Vegafria has worked with Regal, Star Cinema and GMA Films. He also produces the local franchises of the Miss World and Mr. World pageants. He feels he’s now ready to tackle more creative pursuits like film production and is optimistic that “G! LU” will be a blockbuster and he hopes it will be finished in time for the opening of classes in June.