In Born Beautiful, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed comedy drama that stars Paolo Ballesteros, Martin del Rosario brings a scripted character to life by going through a transformation that even some actors wouldn’t dare to go though.
The film made him wax his chests, legs, arms and back because he admitted, “I’m really hairy.” He wanted to portray the character as truthful as possible.
The preparations went beyond the usual acting workshops and required a complete physical transformation. He also had to walk on stilettos and undergo a catwalk training with model Wilma Doesnt as his mentor.
“I had to go on a strict diet to shed pounds so I would look good on female clothing. I avoided working out to soften my muscles. But the hardest part was the hair waxing experience. I didn’t want to cry but I couldn’t help it,” Martin shared with Manila Standard in an interview.
“I had to psyche myself prior to actually getting into the character. It’s the most challenging at the same time fulfilling project I’ve ever done. It’s so hard. Barbs, the name of my character, is very complex. I really had to study the character. So, when we’re done filming, I felt so glad that we were able to create an interesting character,” the GMA Artist Center star added.
Martin breathes life to the well-loved character of Barbs, a transgender who sets out on her own adventures following the death of her best friend, Trisha, played by Ballesteros in the prequel.
“I feel pressured, but at the same time, honored that I was chosen to play the role. Of course, people will be expecting a lot from the sequel and from me as the new Barbs, but every actor has his own interpretation when in comes to essaying a character. What I can assure the audience is that we did our best,” he asserted.
On what fans can expect from the highly-anticipated movie, “The twist of the story, the continuation of Barbs’ life from Die Beautiful to Born Beautiful, the character’s dilemma and the crazy turns in her life. If there’s one takeaway they can get, it’s the message that love knows no gender and that we all have the right to be happy,” said Martin.
A must-see movie
In 2016, Die Beautiful managed a rare feat in cinema: it became a favorite of both audiences and critics here and abroad —making it one of very few movies that ever managed to win international awards and become a blockbuster hit at the same time (the top-grosser of that year’s Metro Manila Film Festival).
Now, after three years, its spin-off film, Born Beautiful, will be shown in cinemas nationwide starting tomorrow (Jan. 23).
“If there’s a Marvel Universe, why can’t there be a Beautiful Universe?” quips Born Beautiful director Perci Intalan. “There are so many fascinating and heartwarming stories based on the transgender experience and Die Beautiful has proven that these stories are universal, you don’t have to be a member of LGBTQ to appreciate it and be moved by it.”
Born Beautiful follows the story of Trisha’s (Paolo Ballesteros) best friend, Barbs Cordero (Martin del Rosario). After Trisha’s sudden death, Barbs tries to go on with her life as a mortuary beautician at Happy Ending Funeral Homes. When another friend dies, Barbs tries to start a new life as a straight man named Bobby. And this triggers a chain of events that leads her to the arms of Trisha’s ex-boyfriend Michaelangelo, her own ex-boyfriend Greg and a woman that barges into her life to turn it upside down again.
There’s already a lot of buzz around Born Beautiful, not only because of it’s eye-catching posters with Martin del Rosario looking gorgeous as Barbs, there’s also the trailer that features Barbs passionately kissing not one but two men.
“Martin and the cast are just fearless,” adds Intalan. “They became so immersed in their roles and they bonded well behind the scenes so there was no hesitation in doing kissing scenes or even love scenes. The moment Martin dresses like Barbs, Martin becomes Barbs. And all the other cast responded to that. All the characters came to life.”
Apart from Martin del Rosario, in the cast are Lou Veloso, Chai Fonacier, Kiko Matos, Akihiro Blanco, Elora Españo, Joey Paras, Jojit Lorenzo, Gio Gahol, VJ Mendoza with the special participation of Die Beautiful star, Paolo Ballesteros.
The film was rated R-18 by the MTRCB and that is making viewers even more curious to see it. Intalan explains, “We knew the film is best appreciated by a mature audience so we were applying for an R-16 rating from the start. But the MTRCB felt it needed a higher rating. We were even asked to cut some scenes and bleep out some lines to get that R-18. And that was surprising because most of the scenes were actually comical situations.”
Born Beautiful is written by Die Beautiful creator Jun Robles Lana and screenwriter Rody Vera with Elmer Gatchalian, Ivan Andrew Payawal and Fatrick Tabada. The film was produced by Cignal Entertainment, Octobertrain Films and The IdeaFirst Company. “‹