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, this January 23, 2019 its spin-off film, Born Beautiful, will be shown in cinemas nationwide.
“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 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 suddent 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 Direk Perci. “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. Direk Perci 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.”
UPDATE: Born Beautiful will have an R-18 and R-16 versions.
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.