Queer characters make up rom-com film 'Pathirsty'

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Aug 06 2022 07:51 AM

Alex Diaz (left) and Kych Minemoto
Alex Diaz (left) and Kych Minemoto

MANILA -- When the cast of the romantic-comedy flick, “Pathirsty,” was finalized as early as December 2021, its young director, Ivan Andrew Payawal, cannot be thankful enough that his stars were finally completed.

“Sobra akong grateful and happy sa cast na napili,” Payawal told ABS-CBN News. “It was a tough shoot. I think everybody will agree and can also say that. I feel we were connected. We understood the goal.”

“Pathirsty” stars Alex Diaz, Adrianna So, Kych Minemoto, with Bob Jbeili, Kate Alejandrino, Chad Kinis and Rey “PJ” Abellana. 

“The six cast members, with Chad [Kinis], sobrang nag-bonding talaga throughout the shoot,” Payawal noted. “Lagi kong sinasabi, I think ‘Pathirsty’ is my favorite film that I’ve done.

“I’m very thankful lang talaga. Sometimes kasi, there were stars na okay sa reading. But when it came to the set, you wouldn’t know kung magkakasundo sila. Thankfully, lahat sila magkakasundo at nagbibigayan.”

Payawal even e-mailed his cast individually regarding their respective character breakdowns, to the kind of music he likes.

“Napaka-importante sa akin ng preparation,” Payawal explained. “Even sa production and performance. Months pa lang, we did Zoom meetings every week. Nagbabatuhan kami ng ideas. I gave them pegs for their characters.

“Sila din, they tried to give suggestions. Ang alam ko, kahit silang cast members, they would meet via Zoom and they would rehearse. All of them are very passionate about this project in terms of preparation for their characters.”

Payawal pointed out to his cast how important this comedy film was. “You might see it as a comedy film, but ang laki ng sakop niya sa pinag-uusapan,” he said. “First time nakakita ako in a mainstream platform na lahat ng characters are queer.

“I haven’t seen anything like this. Breaking the stereotypes of making a rom-com can also work in different gender identities. So, I really explained to all of them how important this story is to our LGBTQ community.”

Payawal helped write the screenplay with Ash Malanum, who both created “Pathirsty” after the ground-breaking BL (boy’s love) web series, “Gameboys” (2020). The producers of “Pathirsty” are filmmakers Jun Lana and Perci Intalan, who were also behind “Gameboys.”

“In terms of casting for ‘Pathirsty,’ the first two characters who were earlier finalized were Adrianna and Kych,” Payawal disclosed. “They came straight from ‘Gameboys.’

“Si Alex, from the time Ash and I were writing ‘Pathirsty,’ we were thinking about Alex right away. There was only one name being mentioned for the character of Ali. Si Alex ‘yan, kay Alex ‘yang character na ‘yan.’

“When the screenplay was finished, we immediately got in touch with Cornerstone Entertainment [Alex’s management]. Then he read for the part. After he left, lahat kami we said, ‘Okay, siya na! Siya naman talaga ‘yan.’

“The other actors, sina Bob, Kate, Chad, they also read for their parts. Nabuo na ‘yung six cast members.”

Payawal believes “Pathirsty” will appeal even to non-members of the LGBTQ community. “In almost two hours, viewers can escape, forget their problems, laugh and be entertained,” the director said.

“Even if you are straight, gay, lesbian or whatever your gender identity is, you will enjoy and learn how to love after watching this film. Matututo kang rumespeto ng mga tao sa paligid mo.”

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