JEFFREY Hidalgo started as a singer in 1989, part of the Ryan Cayabyab group called Smokey Mountain. But he’s now into directing and acting. As a director, he helmed his first full length film, “Silong”, in 2015 starring Piolo Pascual and Rhian Ramos.
For Vivamax, he has directed “Eva” starring Angeli Khang and “Lampas Langit” with Christine Bermas and Ricky Davao for which he won the International Filmfest Manhattan best director award. On TV, he has directed hit series like “Inday Will Always Love You” and “TODA One I Love”.
As a TV actor, he has appeared in soaps like “Kadenang Bulaklak”, “Pangako Sa’Yo” and his latest is the current “Flower of Evil”. On the big screen, he has played various roles in Viva Films releases like “House Tour”, “Wedding Dress” and “Relyebo”. He now plays a major role in the coming Viva Metro Manila Filmfest horror entry, “Deleter”.
“This is my biggest movie role so far,” he says. “The character I play, as our director, Mikhail Red himself, says: it’s very pivotal the story. Kasama ko rito sina Nadine Lustre, Louise de los Reyes, McCoy de Leon. They work for a company that does content-moderation and I’m their manager. Dahil sa akin kaya magkakaroon ng malaking complication sa story. I’m really thankful to Viva kasi I’ve been focusing on directing for a long time but now, after I signed up with them, they are assigning me really good acting projects na hindi ko basta matatanggihan, like my role in ‘Deleter’.”
What exactly is the work of a deleter?
“They’re basically editors. They are content moderators whose job is to delete scenes from video content submitted to them that might offend viewers, like bloopers or shots with wrong angles.
This is a techno-horror film and a mysterious death occurs in the story and that’s how all the scary scenes begin.”
How is it working with Mikhail Red as his director who is younger than him? “He’s younger than me but he has made more films than I did and I look up to him. He certainly knows his craft. Here in ‘Deleter’, I salute him for his treatment of the material.”
When the movie held its story conference some months ago, the role of the manager that Jeffrey plays has not yet been cast. So how did Direk Mik get to choose him?
“I’ve known Jeff for a long time,” says Direk Mik. “We always see each other in film festivals like Cinemalaya and QCinema. When we were casting ‘Deleter’, I saw him in ‘Flower of Evil’ and when I learned that he is now with Viva, we chose to cast him as the manager. It’s so easy to work with him because he understands the film language. He’s also very collaborative. Kapag may gusto kang ipagawa sa kanya, kuha agad niya.”
Jeffrey is often linked to his former Smokey Mountain co-singer, Geneva Cruz, as they’re often seen together in beach photos. So what’s the real score between them?
“We have remained very good friends through the years. When we were teenagers, nanligaw ako sa kanya pero binasted niya ako. That was more than two decades ago. We both love Boracay and we’re very comfortable with each other kaya lagi kaming may beach photos together in her Instagram account. That’s all.”