It’s written in the stars

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    ADRIAN LINDAYAG and KEANN JOHNSON

    It’s destiny. “The Boy Foretold By the Stars” was pitched by writer-director Dolly Dulu and accepted as a finalist in the CineFilipino Film Festival last year. However, the pandemic prevented it from coming to fruition. This is where actress Jodi Sta. Maria stepped in.

    On the set of “My Single Lady,” Jodi and Direk Dolly got to talk about their showbiz journeys. Jodi learned that the story of “The Boy Foretold By the Stars” has always been in the director’s heart, so she said she will pray for the director’s dream. But Jodi did not only pray for it – she gave the production the greenlight and bankrolled the film.

    “Angel ko talaga si Jodi, lagi kong sinasabi sa kanya na. Kasi I also went through depression, and siya ang nag pull up sa akin at unang nagsabi na, ‘Hindi Dolly, mag kalalagyan ang film mo.’ Lagi niyang sinasabi na the pandemic was not a dead-end but a re-direction. Those are her own words. That’s why I love Jodi,” Direk Dolly said.

    So “The Boy Foretold By the Stars” was finished a week before the lockdown happened. It is a collaboration of three production outfits: The Dolly Collection, Brainstormers Lab and Clever Minds, Inc. of which one of the executive producers is actress Jodi Sta. Maria. And for the second time, it was able to enter a film fest, but this time the country’s biggest and most awaited – the Metro Manila Film Festival which will feature ten movies to be available on Upstream.

    The film is based on the play “Ang Hangal” that Dolly wrote in college. It tells his story of young love while studying at an all-boys high school. But it is not just a story about two boys , said the writer-director, it is a movie that celebrates the reality that love is destined for everyone. Direk Dolly underscores that their film is for all lovers, regardless of age, gender or persuasion. “Be a friend and watch naman kayo,” he posted on Facebook.

    It stars Adrian Lindayag as Dominic, and Keann Johnson as Luke, students who belong to different worlds as they move in separate campus cliques. That situation changes when a fortuneteller, played by Iyah Mina, correctly predicts that the two high school seniors would join a school retreat. What follows is a bittersweet journey of growing up and finding one’s identity.

    Playing the pivotal character of the fortuneteller is Iyah Mina, who won best actress for her performance in Cinema One Originals’ “Mamu: And A Mother Too.” She is the first transgender to receive this distinction in the Philippines. In her acceptance speech, Iyah dedicated her win to the trans community and to promoting equality among genders. Thus she sees her role in “The Boy Foretold By the Stars” as a means to raise awareness about LGBTQs.

    Adrian shares Iyah’s advocacy. He has decided to focus on playing gay roles, not just because he is comfortable doing the character, but because he wants to see members of the community portrayed as real people and not caricatures. In a previous interview, he said it is his mission as actor to elevate the dignity of gays.

    “I’ve played a straight character on stage, but for film and TV, for the first few years, gusto ko munang mag focus sa gay character not just because I am comfortable playing them but because gusto natin na i-angat ang dignidad ng community,” he explained, “But I’m not closing my doors on playing straight characters in the future.”