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It took Ariel Villasanta 10 years to complete a movie that he so believes in that the actor even pawned his house to fund the project.

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‘Maaaring may pera ako at wala akong utang ngayon pero ang tanong, mahal ko ba ang ginagawa ko?’

People take risks every day, in little and big ways. Perhaps it goes with the saying if you don’t want to have regrets later, make the most of life now.

Ariel Villasanta (Photo by Albert Garcia/Manila Bulletin)

Ariel Villasanta (Photo by Albert Garcia/Manila Bulletin)

Ariel Villasanta probably had this in mind when he pawned his house to help finance his upcoming movie.

“Gano’n naman talaga eh… sugal ang buhay,” he told Bulletin Entertainment in an exclusive interview.

To millennials, Ariel is one half of the now-defunct reality tandem Ariel & Maverick, both known for their retro outfits and funny antics.

The movie, “Kings Of Reality,” mirrors his very own life. The plot: One night, as he was being hounded by regret and frustration over his career, Ariel sets off on an impossible journey of producing a nearly forgotten and unreleased movie he and his partner Maverick shot in the US 10 years ago. Armed only with charm and undeniable guts (“kakapalan ng mukha” was as how he put  it), he seeks help from those who’ve made it big in their industries.

In real life, Ariel was in hiatus for many years, enjoying life as an employee of a telecommunications company. What triggered him to pursue this project is his passion for movies.

“Yes, you can call me a risk-taker. Pwede kasi akong mabuhay ng normal, I mean, ’yung wala akong inaasikaso na ganito. Kaya lang, ayoko kasing basta mabuhay lang. Maaaring may pera ako at wala akong utang ngayon pero ang tanong, mahal ko ba ang ginagawa ko?” he said.

“Alam kong may kulang eh. Hindi pwedeng hindi ako lalaban eh… may edad na rin naman ako so panahon na para isugal ko na siguro lahat.”

Just do it
Ariel first submitted the concept of “Kings Of Reality” to GMA Films but it did not push through even when they’ve already shot some scenes in Los Angeles. Taken in 2008 at the height of their careers, Ariel and Maverick, feeling stifled by the local showbiz industry, sought greener pasture there.

The movie was put in the backburner for years when Ariel decided to buy its theatrical rights for more than five million pesos.

“Pwedeng sabihin ng iba na ‘Oh, bakit hindi ka na lang sumulat ng ibang concept. Hindi ka na sana gumastos ng ganyang kalaki (para mabili ’yung pelikula).’ I could actually have done that but I don’t want to. Ang ganda ng struggle namin sa States and ayoko masayang ’yung konsepto na’to kaya ayun inilaban ko na talaga kahit magkanda-utang utang ako,” he explained.

Ariel believes what makes “Kings Of Reality” standout among others is the spontaneity meaning no script, just pure reality.

In God’s perfect time
Apart from being the lead star and producer of the movie under his Lion’s Faith Production, Ariel also handled the editing, the sales and marketing – well, literally all aspects of its production.

“Wala na kasing budget eh!” he laughed.

Nevertheless, Ariel took the opportunity to thank the guests celebrities (and some politicians) who support the movie. They are Mayor Sara Duterte, Senator Trillanes, Mayor Isko Moreno, Cong. Strike Revilla and Chaye Cabal–Revilla, Raffy Tulfo and, most especially, Senator Pacquiao.

Mocha Uson, Joey de Leon, Coco Martin, Regine Tolentino, Jose Manalo, Empoy, Jasmine Trias, the late Eddie Garcia and German Moreno, and ex-wife Cristina Decena have cameo roles in the film.

His “masterpiece” may have gone through a lot, but Ariel believes this is God’s perfect timing unfolding.

“Hindi naman talaga natin masasabi ang plano ng Diyos. Pero alam naman natin na ang mahirap laban ay ’yung hindi sumusuko. Maaaring nasayang ’tong pelikula na’to ng ilang tao, ang mahalaga nandito. Kumbaga, huminto lang… pero ngayon tuloy tuloy ng muli,” he said.

In the end, Ariel said he dedicates “King Of Reality” to his mom, the late Elvie Villasanta, and to all the struggling artists in the world.

“Cheers!”

(Distributed by Solar Films, “Kings Of Reality” opens in cinemas on Nov. 27)

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