Funfare: Ricky Lo 09/01/98

Will Gil Portes be 'vindicated' in Montreal?

It's back to business, as usual-- back home. That is, after trying to keep track of people that you know very well (director Gil M. Portes, Cherie Gil, etc.) and people you also know very well but who hardly know you (like Paolo Montalban, the Filipino actor doing very well on Broadway and on American television).

The "keeping track" was done on the side, the main purpose of the New York trip being the one-on-one with Rush Hour star Jackie Chan (and co-stars Chris Tucker and Elizabeth Peña, with young director Brett Ratner). That interview went on smoothly -- but the "keeping track" was another story.

In The Big Apple, "keeping track" can be as much of a herculean task as finding the needle in a haystack especially if you have no previous appointment, unlike here in Manila when you can do things at the spur of the moment (you know, it's only a dial away).

The result?

Of course, I missed direk Gil Portes who's now in Montreal for the International Film Festival where his film, the Romnick Sarmenta starrer Miguel/Michelle, is the lone Philippine entry. Some people say that Montreal is "more prestigious" (and "harder to penetrate") than the Toronto International Film Festival which direk Gil can never hope to join because David Overbey (a TIFF bigwig) isn't that friendly to Gil.

Thus, at Montreal, will direk Gil be "vindicated?" Will Miguel/Michelle stir up considerable interest and curiosity? How will it fare?

Of course, I also missed Cherie Gil who has already moved to Italy a month ago with husband Roni Rogoff and their children, with only step-daughter Renee (the one "romantically linked " to Romnick) and a maid left behind at the Rogoffs' apartment in Manhattan which is up for sale.

Friends in New York said that Cherie is happy and contented with her private life as Mrs. Roni Rogoff and she wouldn't exchange it for anything in the world. In short, it's goodbye to showbiz-- till we meet again?

And, of course, I also missed Paolo Montalban, even if a mutual friend tried very hard to arrange an "exclusive interview" for us. The friend said Paolo was "eager and excited" to meet a journalist from home but so sorry, Paolo had to fly to Florida to shoot Mortal Kombat, his first Hollywood film, and the shooting won't be over until February next year.

Paolo is as Filipino as lumpiang sariwa even if, although born in the Philippines, he grew up in the States. He's proud of his Filipino ancestry, though, and he never fails to mention his being Filipino in interviews such as the one in People magazine which named him recently as one of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" (for 1998). Paolo was in the cast of such Broadway plays as The King And I and On The Down. He was also the Prince Charming in the Black version of Cinderella, with singer-actress Brandy in the title role, produced by Whitney Houston and telecast on WBC television a few months ago.

Why was Paolo tapped for an important role in Mortal Kombat? "Simple," according to the mutual friend. "Besides being a good actor (and singer-dancer), Paolo is also good at martial arts and he moves very gracefully."