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Director as star builder

LINO BROCKA – The name that right away comes to mind when speaking of director as star builder is Lino Brocka. No objection or doubt about that.

Lino built up three of the country’s finest actors: Boyet de Leon, Bembol Roco, and Phillip Salvador.

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He also launched to stardom Alan Paule in “Macho Dancer,” but he didn’t really become a big star. But then Alan turned into a very fine character actor. He also made it as a stage actor.

Alan’s co-star in “Macho Dancer” was Daniel Fernando (incumbent Bulacan vice governor) and even won an Urian. But Daniel is more identified with Peque Gallaga’s “Scorpio Nights” opposite Anna Marie Gutierrez.

LAUNCHING FILMS – Let’s focus on the launching films of Lino’s three biggest actors.

Boyet de Leon – “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang,” which gave Boyet a FAMAS award in his very first film. Lino first saw Boyet in the company of sister Pinky de Leon and knew right away he was star material.

Bembol Roco – “Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” which also gave Bembol a FAMAS award. Lino discovered him in a rehab center where Bembol was a former patient and then facilitator when he was cured of drug addiction. Lino cast him in an episode of “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa,” shot inside the rehab.

Bembol replaced Jay Ilagan in “Maynila” – and the rest is, as they say, history.

Phillip Salvador – “Jaguar,” which made it to Cannes. Phillip was “languishing” in so-so roles when Lino saw him “walking proud and tall.” Bells started ringing in Lino’s ears and heart. And Phillip was on his way to stardom.

Boyet, Bembol, and Phillip appeared in other fine films for other directors – but let it be said that Lino built them up.

BROCKA BABIES – There are the so-called Brocka Babies. Lino didn’t build them up, but they were memorable in his films. One by one now.

Nora Aunor – “Bona” and “Ina ka ng Anak Mo.”

Hilda Koronel – “Insiang” with Mona Lisa as co-star.

Gina Alajar – “Kapit sa Patalim” and “Orapronobis.”

Lorna Tolentino – “Maging Akin Ka Lamang.”

Dina Bonnevie – “Gumapang Ka sa Lusak.”

Gina and Lorna were directed by Brocka as child stars.