What Jeff is up to now

November 25, 2021 Mario Bautista 498 views

Jeff1JEFFREY Hidalgo started his showbiz career as a member of the Smokey Mountain singing group organized by Ryan Cayabyab. He later went solo, finished college with a degree in engineering, tried acting, then directed films (“Silong”) and teleseryes for GMA-7. Now, he is part of the Vivamax stable of filmmakers and his first offering is the highly erotic film, “Eva”, which opens on Christmas Eve.

“Ito naman, Christmas Eva,” he jokes. “We are giving viewers an alternative Christmas. Papaiinitin namin ang inyong mga Pasko.”

He has no qualms and pretension in declaring that “Eva” is really all about unabashed sex.

“Yes, the movie is really about sex. ‘Yung ibang movies, tipong sex-thriller or sex romance, ito, puro sex lang talaga, dealing with the psychology of sex and sexual politics. I think Pinoys are more open-minded now because of the internet and streaming platforms, so it’s about time we talk about it, so mapangahas talaga ito. My manager Lou Gopez said I’m the new Zalman King, the late American director known for his erotic films like ‘Two Moon Junction’ and ‘Wild Orchids’, so hopefully viewers will like this new genre.”

What is “Eva” all about?

“The germ of the story came from me, about the sex life of a regular kasambahay, then Dennis Marasigan wrote the full script and nanganak ‘yung story. Lahat ng mga kuwento rito, galing sa tunay na mga kuwento ng kasambahay na nagkarelasyon sa kanilang mga amo, pinagsama-sama lang namin.”

He’s directing a cast of newcomers, led by Angeli Khang as Eva, Saab Aggabao as her lady boss, Marco Gomez as the houseboy who’s their boy toy, plus Ivan Padilla, Quinn Carillo and Angelica Cervantes who all have their own provocative sex scenes. Didn’t he find it hard directing them?

“The stars I’ve directed before are Piolo Pascual, Rhian Ramos, JC De Vera and Jasmine Curtis Smith. Yes, compared to them, I’m now directing newcomers, but we had workshops naman and magagaling sila. I can I see a lot of potential in them. What I love is that they listen, they’re willing to learn and I really enjoyed directing them so sana, nag-enjoy rin sila sa akin. I want to thank them for really trusting me, specially in doing the sensitive sexy scenes.”

So how’s Angeli Khang as the titular “Eva”?

“She’s very professional, magaan at madaling katrabaho. Angeli takes instructions easily. Kung ano ang pinagagawa ko, no questions asked, ginagawa lang niya. I just have to explain to her the character well, the scenes as written by Dennis Marasigan, and the visuals I want.”

How about the other cast members? “First time ko to work with all of them. Lahat sila, gumawa ng sensitive scenes. Si Ivan, I saw his movie ‘12’ with Alessandra de Rossi, he’s good, so alam ko ang capabilities niya. First time niyang nag-all out sa sexy scenes and he trusted me. Si Quinn Carillo, kakaiba role niya kasi lesbian siya rito, transman. Nagustuhan ko ang atake niya sa role. Si Marco Gomez naman, ibang-iba ang character niya sa past movies niya. I told him to create something he has never done before, so matutuwa kayo sa portrayal niya. But the real revelation here is Saab Aggabao as Victoria, a transsexual model na puede with both sexes. I’d like to work with all of them again in future projects.”

How did he get into the erotic genre?

“Viva offered me to direct for them and this is actually just the first of many, kasi ‘Eva’ is just a part of a series of films exploring sexuality. So may iba pang projects na gagawin ng aming team with Dennis Marasigan as scriptwriter and who also acts as producer. Nanibago ako noong una making an erotic film pero I told myself I should do it well, so tinodo na talaga namin dito sa ‘Eva’. We’re lucky that for our first project, everything went smoothly kahit lockdown shoot kami.”

So is he now forsaking his music career?

“Ang passion ko talaga ngayon is filmmaking, making content on video. But I still also have music projects with Viva. Pero later na siguro kasi as of now, ito munang paggawa ng movies ang focus ko sa ngayon.”