Q&A with “Maria” Director Pedring A Lopez – “We Plan to Make a Universe”
“Maria” is an upcoming action flick which stars Cristine Reyes. The trailer is now online and its pretty impressive with all the CQC battles and “gun-kata” fights.
You can check the trailer below:
We also got to send in a few questions down Pedring A. Lopez’s way so we get to learn more about the new movie.
TFNBSEO: What’s the inspiration for the movie?
Pedring A Lopez: Well, Maria lead screen writer YZ Carbonell and I, are both huge action movie fans. He is also a big anime fan as well. Yz is retired a US army vet and he did two tours in Iraq. I think both of us have a certain darkness in how we see things, like both of us like old school ultra violent anime, and I feel that’s why we pushed the script towards what you will see on the film. I always gravitate towards Japanese and Korean action, even if it’s a hybrid, action/drama or even action/horror. I guess that showed in “Nilalang”, my 2nd film. Going into Maria, I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel. Maria is a full on revenge film, clear and simple. It’s the “you fuck with me I fuck you up” kinda revenge film. And that genre always works because you get invested in the characters, you get to journey with them in their quest for vengeance. But I also felt I needed to have strong female characters and so we eventually pushed for a more female centric action film, which isn’t really common over here. But ultimately I just wanted to do an enjoyable action film, that the viewers and us film makers would also like, stripped out of all the shaky cam and quick cuts. Just plain good old revenge action thriller.
TFNBSEO: There’s a lot of positive comparisons between “Maria” and films like “Peppermint” and “John Wick”. How do you take these comparisons?
Pedring A Lopez: Wow, wasn’t expecting that. I was reading a lot of comments and I guess I’m flattered that the film even if they just saw a short trailer is now being talked about. I feel people will always compare no matter what. But I feel with all these comparisons, it brings us up to a level of discussion that we as Filipinos can really compete globally. I mean we can, really. And also John Wicks’ budget is close to $30M USD while Peppermint was at $25M USD, our Maria budget was only $1.2M USD, so i guess when people compare Maria to a big hollywood A-list film then I feel we did our job. Now lets bring this film outside.
TFNBSEO: Do you even mind that its being compared to other imported films?
Pedring A Lopez: Actually I don’t mind.
TFNBSEO: I’m getting a lot of good buzz on my page on the style and substance. Is there any plans to do more action movies or something similar?
Pedring A Lopez: We have plans to take Maria into a franchise. Cristine Reyes has signed on to do two more films in the Maria universe but that all depends on the outcome of the cinema run and it’s international premiere.
TFNBSEO: How did Christine Reyes end up with the role?
Pedring A Lopez: It’s funny because when we were doing the last drafts of the script, we were already thinking about who will play Maria, and among the actors we were looking at, she really stood out. Cristine has this fierce vulnerability slash killer look that I think locally no one has. Plus she is an amazing actor, maybe one of the best actresses we have. And damn she did really push Maria’s character. I can’t think of any one who could have played Maria , this role was really meant for her.
TFNBSEO: What was the toughest part about directing the movie?
Pedring A Lopez: I’d say the last 20 minutes of the film, that last fight scene was the toughest. We were shooting at the port of Manila, all the scenes were at night and we had a massive set. I wanted everything wet, so it would look like it just rained so we had multiple fire trucks on stand by because every take we had to wet down the whole set. The last fight scene we shot in 6 days, but that was maybe everyones’ favorite.
TFNBSEO: If you were to direct a Hollywood action movie, who would you get for the lead?
Pedring A Lopez: oh, I’m a big fan of Scarlett Johansson. that’s in the bucket list 🙂
TFNBSEO: We sorely miss good quality action movies, but a lot of people enjoy “retro” action movies. Do you have any favorite “its so bad its good” action movies?
Pedring A Lopez: Hmmm, thats a tough question, but I do love to watch old Lito Lapid films, that fits “its so bad its good” action movies, kidding aside I might not be doing films today if not for all those 80’s and 90’s action films.
TFNBSEO: What’s next for you sir? By that we mean, what should us fanboys and fangirls expect from Direk Pedring A Lopez next?
Pedring A Lopez: Right now I’m busy preparing for the up coming Hong Kong Film Market, we will launch a couple of titles there that I will be doing in the next couple of months.
“Maria” is scheduled for release March 2019 from *ugh* Viva Films.