MANILA -- (UPDATED) Veteran singer-actor Janno Gibbs is the surprise choice to play the late master showman German Moreno in the musical biopic “Yorme” starring Xian Lim as actor-politician Isko Moreno.
“Janno was teary-eyed when he was informed he will play Kuya Germs,” the movie’s director Joven Tan disclosed to ABS-CBN News Tuesday.
Lim and Gibbs started work on the film last week in Batangas City. Gibbs had to shave his moustache for the part, according to Tan.
Mccoy de Leon shot his initial sequences as the young Isko Moreno in Tondo two weeks ago.
In his statement to ABS-CBN News, Gibbs said he was “very happy to be asked to play Kuya Germs,” citing their strong bond in his younger years.
“I’d like to think isa ako sa fave alagas ni Kuya Germs, at siya talaga naka-discover sa akin. I owe him my career, kaya emotional ako playing him. Nagdalawang isip lang ako kasi kailangan mag-ahit which I don’t like. Pero ayokong iba ang gumanap na Kuya Germs!” he said.
The late host’s son Federico Moreno told ABS-CBN News he and his family are happy with the choice of Gibbs to portray their father. “Natutuwa ako na isang malapit din sa puso niya ang napili. Nag-umpisa din si Janno sa 'That’s Entertainment,'” he said, recalling Gibbs’s rise to fame in the mid-1980s under Moreno’s guidance.
“I am also glad that Janno and other artists mentored by Kuya Germs agreed to be in the movie. This is also our way of paying tribute and giving respect to him,” said Tan, who had considered Eric Quizon and other actors to play the showbiz icon who passed on January 2016 aged 82.
Gibbs will perform two song and dance numbers in the movie -- the first a fun piece highlighting Moreno’s search for stars; and the second, a poignant piece about gratitude to the public.
The biggest challenge, Tan added, is how to mount big production numbers and crowd scenes with heightened quarantine restrictions.
“Yorme” consists of 19 original songs composed by Tan, who previously made his mark as an award-winning composer of ABS-CBN’s Himig Handog songwriting competition.
The movie will also highlight cameo appearances of "That’s Entertainment" alumni and other stars such as Jestoni Alarcon, Tina Paner, Ramon Christopher, Karen Timbol, Lovely Rivero, Ricky Rivero, Brylle Mondejar, Jojo Alejar, Jovit Moya, and Jennifer Mendoza.
The choice of female lead will come from Viva Artists Agency which manages Yam Concepcion, Yassi Pressman, Bela Padilla, Coleen Garcia and other actresses.
A joint venture of Viva Entertainment and Saranggola Productions, “Yorme” is slated to premiere online and hopefully in theatrical venues in June 2021.