MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A few days before Citizen Jake hit theaters for its commercial release, director Mike de Leon took to Facebook to air his thoughts on star Atom Araullo, implying a rift between the two.
The veteran filmmaker talked about how he ended up casting the journalist, who made his acting debut in the film, saying that he initially thought it was interesting to work with a journalist who shared his political convictions.
“I only realized later that Atom’s journalism was not exactly the kind of journalism I had in mind,” de Leon said in a now-deleted post on Citizen Jake’s Facebook page.
It's unclear what exactly triggered De Leon's rant on the movie's official page.
“It’s not the gritty kind but more of the celebrity-centered schlock that sometimes verges on entertainment, even showbiz. Looking back, I can see why he wanted to become a movie actor. Perhaps the journalist was really a closet movie star,” he said.
Mike did not discount the gravity of Atom’s involvement in the film. He said that Atom’s contribution to the film was “substantial,” and that he believes Atom “did a good job” as an actor.
“There were scenes where he acted unevenly but there were also scenes, many of them major, where he was terrific. Perfect for the role of Jake, the self-absorbed millennial,” Mike said.
“Even if Citizen Jake is my most personal film, sometimes I feel it’s a film Atom and myself made together, through thick and thin, through upheaval after upheaval and unfortunately there were many,” he said. “But I hoped that in the end, we would still share the same convictions we started off with. Alas, that was not to be.”
While the director did not specify the convictions he and Atom no longer share, he said that he now finds himself alone in protecting the film and defending it “against those who would exploit it for political mileage.”
He also said that he thinks both he and the actor are “relieved” to end their collaboration and “finally get out of each other’s lives.”
Replying to comments praising Atom’s performance in the film, Mike continued to express his dismay at the journalist-turned-actor.
“But he disappointed me,” he said, later adding “not as an actor but as a person.”
When asked for a response to the post, Atom told Rappler, “It’s best if I don’t comment.”
Citizen Jake marks the director’s comeback after a nearly two-decade-long hiatus. It tells the story of Jake Herrera, a journalist-blogger who finds himself at odds with his political family.
The film premiered at the UP Cine Adarna in March, and is currently running in selected cinemas. – Rappler.com