Like the Marvel or DC universe, Zig Dulay created the characters on “Sirkus” in a way that each could have a stand-alone spin-off if success demands it.
“Sirkus” is about fraternal twins trying to escape the evil villainess La Ora. The two run away with a traveling circus with members who have secret identities and supernatural abilities. They are the strongman Martel, the clairvoyant Astra, the funny acrobat Al, the gorgeous fire-breather Sefira, and Leviticus, leader of Sirkus with powers to levitate things.
Later, the siblings find out it’s where they belong after all (hint, hint).
But some of them seem like classic Pinoy superheroes Lastikman, Darna, and Captain Barbell, we pointed out. Why didn’t they think of other powers?
“Tiningnan namin ’yung superpowers kung saan mas pwedeng maka-relate ’yung Pinoy,” Zig said. “At sinisikap namin na ang pino-promote ay Filipino values.”
He added: “’Yung konsepto kasi nakasama na sa kamalayan natin na hindi masyadong nalalayo. It’s just that nagkaroon siya ng bagong bihis, nagkaroon siya ng bagong character.”
Zig promised that aside from the main characters, new ones will be introduced regularly.
And before you know it, an army rises.
“Sirkus” stars Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Cherie Gil, Klea Pineda, and Gardo Versoza. The pilot episode airs on Jan. 21.
Zig is from Isabela where he grew up watching classic ’90s Filipino children’s television series as “Math Tinik,” “Bayani,” “Hiraya Manawari,” “Sineskwela,” and “Pahina” to name a few.
“Lagi ko noon nilu-look forward (’yung mga children shows), tuwang-tuwa ako sa mga programa na nagke-cater sa aming mga bata,” he shared. “Nakakatuwa na ngayon ay nabibigyan ako ng opportunity na gamitin at ipakita ang nalalaman ko, ’yung craft ko para mag-kwento ng ganu’ng klaseng programa.”
One of his favorite characters on “Sirkus” is Sefira played by Klea who underwent fire poi training.
According to Zig, he always feels nervous during shoots as they could cause fire or other accidents. Remember, Klea took merely a crash course.
“Nag-worry ako kasi siyempre hindi naman talaga nila ginagawa ’yun,” the director said. “Pero nakakatuwa ’yung passion nila na willing silang mag-training kasi ibig sabihin ay gusto nilang pagbutihan ’yung role nila.”
The actors are free to tell Zig at any point if they can do a stunt or not. Once, Klea claimed she almost got her face burned!
“Lagi naman akong willing mag-kompormiso lalong-lalo na kung ang nakataya ay health naman nila. Siyempre mas importante ’yun sa akin.”
It’s also important to Zig that viewers will see fresh performances. He shoots down suggestions that Cherie’s take on La Ora is “pegged” to Meryl Streep’s character in “Into The Woods.”
“Hindi, as in kakaiba siya (La Ora),” he assured. “Ako, sinisikap ko lagi na buuin ’yung character, ayokong hilaw o manggaya.”
“Sirkus,” Zig added, will be liked by kids though it’s really for young adults.
“Ito ’yung klase ng serye na ma-a-appreciate ng hindi super bata, ng nakakaintindi na ng buhay, may pang-unawa na.”
Zig underscored that while everything looks fun and wow onscreen, “Sirkus” is not easy to do – especially since he is known for directing indie films tackling social realism. Some of these were “Paglipay,” “Bagahe,” and “Bambanti.”
“Super challenging na lumabas sa comfort zone,” he intimated. “Kailangan mas lawakan ang imagination, mas lawakan ang pang-unawa.”
He is learning the ropes by watching films of similar persuasions.
“Parang alternative lahat ng ginagawa ko sa indie film na mga social realism, na laging may dinadala na institusyon pero dito naman kailangan mong mang-inspire, kailangan mong ipakita sa batang manunuod na importante ’yung personalidad, ’yung pagpapahalaga,” he related.
Though busy doing TV works, Zig said the movies will always be his first love.
“Hindi ko naman siya pinapabayaan. In fact pakiramdam ko na everytime nagsusulat ako, everytime gumagawa ako ng indie film mas nabubuo ’yung passion ko.”