The surprise hit of the year is still pulling surprises at the cinemas. Kimmy Dora, with very little TV spots for its trailers and largely depending on word of mouth for promotion (and the shameless Facebook plugs that became increasingly irritating as the film came closer to opening day. OO NA MANONOOD NA KAMI!), is happily making a killing at the box-office, even convincing a few theaters to have midnight screenings just to accomodate persistent audiences. There are no final figures yet but everyone is talking about it (at least everyone we know in the office and half our Facebook friends). And they should be: it's the funniest film since, well, Joyce Bernal did funny for the movies.
The creator of the twins Kimmy and Dora is Chris Martinez, scriptwriter of 100, the film that won him Cinemalaya Best Director last year, and Jeffrey Jeturian's Bridal Shower and Bikini Open. He also penned the plays Intelstar (a one-woman show about a call center trainor which starred Kimmy Dora's lead actress Eugene Domingo) and the Palanca-winning Last Order Sa Penguin. He just released his new book, another Palanca winning play (2007), Our Lady of Arlegui, about a Muslim woman selling pirated DVDs in Quiapo's Arlegui Street. TheSwankStyle sent Chris a few questions and here he gladly responds.
What/who inspired Kimmy Dora? Are they based on real people?
Eugene Domingo is the only inspiration since the inception of the project. It was really written for her. It's not based on real people but more on my motivation to showcase her enormous talent. What better way to stretch her limits by giving her dual roles. It all started with my pitch: what if you have an evil twin?
There is always a glimmer of drama/heartbreaking truth in your comedy. Is this a conscious resolve?
I try to keep my characters as real as possible. They get hurt. They commit mistakes. They have desires, insecurities, despair, etc. I treat them as human beings. They are never perfect.
Was Kimmy Dora born from brainstorming with other people, or its just your own?
Over dinner at Taste of L.A. same time last year, Eugene, Joyce and I spent a whole evening brainstorming on what is the best launching vehicle for Uge. We came up with three pitch lines. Tig-wa-one sentence lang. Then Joyce called Piolo. Then Piolo arrived. Then we pitched to him. Then he approved Kimmy Dora. Then go na! Ganun lang ka-bilis at ka-simple. Smooth na smooth. I wrote the storyline when I was in Pusan where 100 competed and won. I wrote the sequence treatment in Marrakech where 100 was also competing. The script--sa bahay lang during Christmas time.
How do you write?
Very, very, very slowly! hahaha Sobrang bagal ako. Everytime someone asks me to write, I always tell them upfront -- I am the slowest writer I know!
Is there a certain time of the day?
Before I go to bed and right after I wake up.
Does this require a certain mood? Music?
Nope. Kailangan quiet. Quiet na quiet.
You walk a lot, talk to yourself?
Talk to myself, yes, a lot, a whole lot. So I can hear the rhythm.
The place you're most comfortable writing in? Unless comfort is not an issue and you can write anywhere.
Sa bahay lang. Dining room table. Or kahit saan. Di ako maarte, mabagal lang.
Kimmy and Dora in a scene from Kimmy Dora
What is your dayjob? Do you hate it?
I direct TV commercials. AND I LOVE IT!
How do you start your day?
Kape't yosi lang.
What do you look forward to in an ordinary day?
A good movie. An episode of Project Runway (US, ha?) and/or Top Chef. Good food!
What inspires you?
Hearing the audience's reaction -- laughter, sniffles, applause. It inspires me that I am able to move them.
Your favorite source of inspiration?
I always go back to the classics. For instance, Shakespeare. May kuwento pa ba na hindi niya nagawa? He's done practically everything. Mas contemporary naman, I also get inspired by Woody Allen's films -- lalo na the old ones.
Writer's block. What's the first thing you do?
Watch cable. Eat. FACEBOOK!
Your favorite scent?
Your favorite thing to see?
Your favorite sound?
Your favorite writer.
What are you doing this weekend?
A sequence treatment for a Chito Rono film.
What does success taste like?
Chicken! Everything tastes like chicken!