“I Do Bidoo Bidoo” took about five years to happen from concept to final cut. For starters, the film’s writer-director Chris Martinez took his sweet time to write the script because he wanted to make sure he got it right.
“It’s a dream project of Mr. Tony Gloria,” notes Martinez. Gloria is a veteran movie producer whose credits include the Philippine cinema classics “Crying Ladies”, “Bagets”, and “Working Girls”.
The idea for a Pinoy movie musical came to him after watching the original stage production of “Mamma Mia”, even before the 2008 movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep came to be.
“Paano kung Filipino songs? Paano kung APO songs?” Martinez says of how the germ for “I Do Bidoo Bidoo” formed in Gloria’s mind.
Gloria and Martinez, who is an in-house talent of Gloria’s film company Unitel, started talking about the project three or four years ago. It took the prolific and award-winning writer of “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” and the “Kimmy Dora” movies and writer-director of “100″ and “Here Comes The Bride” more than a year to come up with the first draft of the screenplay.
“Ito na ang pinakamatagal kong isinulat,” Martinez notes. It’s easy to understand why. This is his first movie musical, and he first had to wade through the APO’s vast catalogue to select the songs for the movie.
Unsurprisingly, he found an embarrassment of riches and simply picked the most popular. “I initially chose 20-21 songs but had to trim the list down to 17-18 para magkasya sa movie,” he notes. “You’ll hear all the songs in full.”
Martinez then tried to determine the essence of the music of the APO to get inspiration for a story. He says he realized that most of the group’s more iconic hits are about love. “Profession of love, unrequited love, love na natuyo na, love para sa syota ng iba, panliligaw, love na hindi mo ma-resist. It’s really about love, love, love.”
He adds, “Nandun ako sa pagka-love ng APO songs, pagka-pop, pagka-Pinoy, pagka-contemporary. If you play the APO songs now, kumakagat pa rin sila even after so many decades. That’s really magical.”
Martinez eventually settled on a rather simple, oft-told (and, amid the current heated RH Bill debate, suddenly very timely) tale about two teenage lovers, a rich girl and a not-so-rich boy, who find themselves pregnant and how this throws both their families into a tailspin.
Of course it’s told with Martinez’s brand of intelligent humor and heartfulness.
The movie is not a sung-through musical. Half of it is spoken dialogue. And this is where the biggest challenge in writing the screenplay lay.
“Hindi madaling gumawa ng script na swabeng-swabe ang pasok ng mga kanta sa story, sa characters, sa moment,” Martinez notes. That said, the pure dialogue scenes provided so much less excitement for Martinez and his entire cast and crew during filming than the musical sequences.
“Actually nabo-bore kami pag dialogue lang ang shinoshoot namin na eksena,” he says. “Nabubuhay lang kami pag may kantahan na, pag may choreography na.”
They have extra reason to be, aside from the great music. The movie’s entire cast is made up of professional performers. There are OPM biggies Gary Valenciano, Zsazsa Padilla, and Ogie Alcasid, and there’s Eugene Domingo, who started her career in theater.
Playing the young leads are Sam Concepcion and newcomer Tippy dos Santos, both from the Trumpets theater group, who had to audition for their roles.
The senior stars readily said yes to the project. Their common reply, according to Martinez, was “It’s an APO movie. How can I say no?”
Has the movie met with the “I do” of the APO trio — Jim Paredes, Danny Javier, and Buboy Garovillo — too? Yes. “Super happy sila [with the material],” Martinez says. “Nung narinig nga ni Jim ang version namin ng ‘Panalangin’, naluha siya.”
“I Do Bidoo Bidoo” opens in theaters nationwide on August 29.