The top leading man of his generation, Daniel Padilla, celebrated his 28th birthday last April 26 but it’s his fans that received the most exciting gift. Yesterday, April 27, Daniel Padilla together with Star Cinema and Black Sheep announced two new upcoming films on top of his reunion project with Kathryn Bernardo and Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina: The Guest, a suspense-thriller/neo-noir opposite John Arcilla to be directed by Jerrold Tarog, and Nang Mapagod si Kamatayan, a buddy comedy with Zanjoe Marudo to be directed by Dan Villegas based on a Ricky Lee short story.
Much like his real-life partner’s recently announced projects, DJ’s new cinematic ventures sure feel geared towards diversifying his portfolio and solidifying his place in the industry, not only as a box-office force but as an artist who has so much more to offer than delivering kilig – and we’re here for that!
Here are 8 things we wish to see in Daniel Padilla’s upcoming films!
A darker Daniel
DJ possesses an untapped depth and darkness that is just waiting for the right material. His turn in Carlo Manatad’s Whether the Weather is Fine, and even some parts of The Hows of Us, is hard proof of that. This career move is reminiscent of Aga Muhlach’s Sa Aking Mga Kamay or Richard Gomez’s Dahas. Daniel Padilla is primed and ready to leave the heartthrob box and go to some really dark places in the name of craft and it is about damn time.
A showdown with a titan
It’s common knowledge that John Arcilla is an acting juggernaut. Hell, he has the 2022 Venice International Film Festival’s Volpi Cup to attest to that! Meanwhile, with one FAMAS win and five more nominations, Daniel Padilla always manages to turn his rom-com roles into notable performances even if award-giving bodies rarely show that genre some love. We hope that the script of The Guest is balanced enough to let these two actors shine in different ways. They can be like Will Graham and Hannibal in Hannibal or Dongsik and Juwon in Beyond Evil. Let them be both mentor-mentee and rivals. It’s hard to imagine a better sparring partner to bring that out of DJ than Heneral Luna himself.
The Jerrold Tarog comeback we need
From independent films like Senior Year, Sana Dati, and Confessional, to Bliss and Heneral Luna, Jerrold Tarog is one of the most exciting storytellers of our time. And with his Darna not seeing the light of day, 2018’s Goyo was the last Jerrold Tarog film to have graced the big screen. His big-screen comeback is long overdue but now that it’s apparently a reunion with Heneral himself and with no less than Daniel Padilla, it seems the wait will be worth it!
A production worthy of a king
We said this about Kathryn’s projects, too, but we’re somehow more at ease with DJ’s projects since his line-up doesn’t require period set pieces. And to be fair, with Jerrold Tarog and Dan Villegas as directors, we can all rest assured that the photography will devour! Still, there’s nothing bad about wishing for a bigger budget to make sure the production covers all the bases, right? So yes, please, Star Cinema and Black Sheep, get those coins!
Mokong and Domeng, but elevated?
When we say buddy comedies in Philippine cinema, we usually think Redford White and Babalu, not exactly two of the most sought-after leading men in the industry today. So to see the term attached to a project starring Daniel Padilla and Zanjoe Marudo is already so interesting.
Based on a Ricky Lee short story from the book Kung Alam N’yo Lang, Nang Mapagod si Kamatayan is a buddy comedy that poses questions about the meaning of life, according to creative manager Vanessa Valdez. And because it’s to be directed by Dan Villegas who’s no stranger to such themes (having directed 2018’s Hintayan ng Langit), we are looking forward to how this will deliver!
Speaking of Ricky Lee…
His short story of the same title is about Kamatayan who, after a conversation with a child whose parents he had just fetched, decided to stop bringing people into the afterlife altogether and become a hermit instead. Without spoiling the short story, let’s just say that Death’s impact on humankind when he stops performing his duty is, as you can imagine, massive. Let’s hope the screenplay honors the source material by not trying to take shortcuts or downplaying that!
Direk Cathy, what if it’s not a love story?
When Cathy Garcia-Molina revealed that she was doing another film with KathNiel, some Twitter users groaned and aired how tired they are. After all, seeing her name attached to a project already comes with its own set of expectations, right? The wigs, the barkada, the confrontations in the rain. But what if, similar to how Kathryn and Daniel are trying to diversify their portfolio with their new projects, Direk Cathy is also set to do the same?
DJ tried hard to not spill the plot of their upcoming reunion project but reveals that whatever was initially planned isn’t pushing through and has evolved into something different. So hear us out? What if it’s not a romantic comedy? What if it’s not a love story, even? Or if it is, is it an action flick, too, like Brangelina’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Or maybe a heist flick like Julia Roberts’ and Clive Owen’s Duplicity? Because those, no doubt, would be more interesting to see KathNiel in.
Daniel as a Filipino artist
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For fans, some of the most memorable Daniel Padilla moments happen outside the silver screen. Him shelling out money to help the tricycle driver who swiped his car. Meeting a fan at a gas station and asking them if he could join their family outing in Pansol. Him and Kathryn consistently showing up and delivering goods in disaster-ridden areas. Standing up for his colleagues amidst the ABS-CBN shutdown. Being firm on his own political beliefs despite having close family members on the opposing side.
DJ’s words in his Twitter profile are “God, country, and honor”. We see glimpses of his POV and depth in interviews. We see how he interacts with the common Filipino. He’s proven several times that he can act. But for too long, too many people thought it cooler to dismiss him as just a good-looking nepo baby who once sang “Nasa ‘Yo Na Ang Lahat”.
We hope that in breaking away from the matinee idol box, Daniel Padilla’s projects get to truly represent who he is as an artist and as a Filipino living in these crazy times. Yes, he’s from a showbiz family, but he’s earned all of what he has and deserves more. Yes, this man looks hella fine, but this man is also a talented artist with a worthy perspective that stands for something relevant. We don’t have much of that in showbiz now. It would be our loss to write Daniel Padilla out.
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