LUKE EVANS surprised not a few among the SRO crowd that packed SM Mall of Asia’s (MOA) Music Hall to catch a glimpse of the stars of the sixth installment of the Hollywood blockbuster franchise Fast & Furious, where the Welsh actor plays the bad guy who goes head-to-head with series regulars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.
Evans, along with Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano, flew into town recently for the worldwide premiere of Fast & Furious 6, directed by Justin Lin, which is basking not only the glow of approval from film critics thrilled by its high-octane thrills (Mick La Salle of the San Francisco Chronicle calls it “a stupid movie made by smart people for smart audiences in the mood for something stupid but glorious, stupid but well-made, stupid but knowing it”), but also a No. 1 opening weekend in North America.
While working fans of the franchise at the MOA, Evans broke into an abbreviated rendition of the classic Filipino love song “Kailangan Kita,” much to the delight and, again, surprise of everyone.
Those familiar with Evans’s résumé were thrilled as well, though it’s doubtful that any of them were surprised. After all, he has not only proven his ability to more than carry a tune in such daunting musicals as Rent, Miss Saigon and Avenue Q, but he also made many friends among the largely Filipino cast in the West End production of the Schönberg-Boublil mega-musical Miss Saigon, where he played Chris, the soldier who unexpectedly finds himself in an ill-starred romance with Kim.
Naturally, his recent Manila visit provided him the opportunity to reconnect with his Filipino friends and Miss Saigon alumni over dinner, including Ima Castro, Jake Macapagal, Jhong Hilario and Miriam Marasigan.
Given his Filipino exposure, there was certainly nothing glad-handing about Evans’s declaration that “there is more talent per square centimeter in the Philippines than any other country”—which Pinoys smarting over Dan Brown’s depiction of life in Manila in his latest blockbuster novel Inferno might find solace in.
The Pinoy’s penchant for breaking into song—even outside the confines of videoke bars—is something that we share with the Welsh, according to Evans, who is “growing” fangs for his upcoming turn as literature’s most infamous vampire in Gary Shore’s retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
“In Wales, families would gather for dinner and it won’t be long before somebody breaks into a song, which I have been told is also true in Filipino families coming together for whatever occasion,” said Evans at the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel Makati during a series of interviews with the media from various parts of the region.
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