Comedian and Eat Bulaga dabarkads Jose Manalo is starring in his first leading role in the Tony Reyes-directed comedy-drama Boy Tokwa: Lodi ng Gapo, which is inspired by the life of the late Olangapo-based Chinese con artist.
The film, which is based on the accounts of Rodrigo Morelos’ (a.k.a. Boy Tokwa) friends, the movie sees Boy’s grandson, Andy Morelos Woods, head back to the Philippines to search the truth about his grandfather.
Andy soon learns that his grandfather’s greatest dream is to go to USA. Boy’s dream led him to Olongapo where his wit, ability and skills in card games became his tools for survival in the town. Boy becomes a con artist that only targets foreigners and is well-loved by the community because of his loving nature, generosity and loyalty to friends.
During his stay in Olongapo, Boy met and courted Naval officer Anne McArthur, granddaughter of Gen. Douglas McArthur but was turned down. His journey eventually led him to meet Patricia Woods who is also a Naval officer whom he married and was blessed with a child. But Boy soon finds himself in the midst of conflict within the community he considers his family.
“Boy Tokwa has a very interesting story, when Tito Sen heard about it, he was really laughing hard and instantly he wanted to turn his story into a film and offered me the leading role. I immediately said yes because I thought he was just kidding, but it turned out that he was very serious about producing it. I even called him again on the phone just to ask if he was really serious about producing the film and having me as the lead star,” Jose Manalo said in vernacular.
In the same interview, the comedian shared that the film is not just about comedy. In fact, there are few scenes that showcase his dramatic side.
“It’s a different brand of comedy. Apart from the old-school comedy, which wouldn’t work well if not properly executed, the film is also a drama story. The latter part of the film will have a few emotional scenes,” the 52-year-old comedian shared.
“Boy Tokwa will die in the movie. And how he died was really dramatic. That’s what people should look forward to. I do not do drama on a normal day but his story is something that everybody will easily relate to,” he added.
Talking more about his character, Jose described Boy Tokwa as someone who acts like Chiquito, the late comedian who became popular after a string of comedy films back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“The real Boy Tokwa acts like Chiquito, so it wasn’t hard for me to portray the character since I have a person to base it from,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tony Reyes had nothing but good words for the seasoned comedian. He said that he already knows what kind of actor Jose is after working with him a few times.
“I have already worked with him in the past. I know how he feels when he’s thinking if he can do this or not. But seeing the people who have seen the screening, they were crying at the end of the film. I think that already speaks about how good Jose is in essaying such character,” the director asserted.
Apart from Jose Manalo, Boy Tokwa also stars Joey Marquez, Karel Marquez, Allan Paule, Buboy Villar and Gian Sotto.
Distributed by Axinite Digicinema. Boy Tokwa, which unspools tomorrow, Jan. 8, is the first feature film offering of the Vicente “Tito” Sotto-owned outfit VST Productions.