"I may have my demons to deal with but you have yours too."-Mike De Leon to Atom Araullo
Earlier today, Atom Araullo responded to some controversial comments made by Citizen Jake director Mike De Leon. The filmmaker has just lodged his retort.
If you're only just joining us now, here's the long and short of this still-unfolding saga: Before Citizen Jake dropped last Wednesday, De Leon wrote a long post about his lead actor, Araullo. He took a lot of swipes at the journalist-turned-movie-star, questioning his convictions, his brand of journalism, and to a lesser extent, his acting skills.
Araullo kept his cool for a while, preferring to stay silent for the film's first week. But just earlier today, as Citizen Jake drops out of many theaters, Araullo broke his silence. He called De Leon out for repeated outbursts during the production, and expressed a small measure of disagreement with the film by saying, "Jake Herrera is not Atom Araullo."
Just a few hours after Araullo released his statement—which he said would be "the first and last time I write on the matter"—De Leon has whipped out a response. In yet another long Facebook post (the third installment of this saga—or fourth, if you count the "enhanced version"), De Leon went into further detail about his rift with Araullo. He revealed one of their disagreements—one in which he told Araullo, "Bakit ganyan ka, bakit ba ang yabang mo? Bakit ba ang tingin mo sa sarili mo you're better than everyone else.”
De Leon continued to deride Araullo's work, both as a journalist and as an actor, mentioning Araullo's McDonald's commercial, his climate change documentary, and his rise to fame as the "boy in the rain who braved the wrath of Yolanda." Then De Leon explained how Araullo supposedly deigned to issue a statement about the film—which, he said, "was the last straw."
The post is quite angry and messy, and the issue as a whole is getting even uglier. Read the post here and the full text below:
Thank you for breaking your silence, Atom. Many of the things you said are true - that i am a deeply troubled person, I accept that. I come from a crazy rich family anyway. But let me just add that you forgot to mention a few important events. I will mention just one. When we were shooting the last sequence with Teroy, you unexpectedly ignored my direction and did something that was not rehearsed nor agreed upon. Many people were witness to this. The following day, I told you that never in my career as a director has any actor disrespected me as much as you did. Then I told you that if you wanted to direct yourself, then by all means do it. you can overact all you want. i will just shoot whatever you wish to do and direct the other actors in the scene. Then you went into a meandering explanation about why you did it without really saying anything, not even apologizing. Then i said "Bakit ganyan ka, bakit ba ang yabang mo? Bakit ba ang tingin mo sa sarili mo you're better than everyone else.” And you said: "No one has ever told me that before." So I concluded by saying "Well, it's about time somebody did. As an actor, you're ok pero marami ka pang kakaining bigas." I also told you in one my earlier "tirades" that I find that you have no empathy, so how can you be a journalist if you lack this basic ability to understand people's problems (not mine). Isn't journalism about the story, not the journalist? But in your case, nobody is more important to Atom Araullo than Atom Araullo. And you say you cringe at being called a celebrity, a star. How hypocritical. Don't bother to cringe anymore because you revel in it. You make commercials now and you exploited the Marawi bakwit by making that offensive commercial featuring yourself, monologuing like Citizen Jake, all under the sponsorship of McDo. You consented to a magazine article whose title was “ AA (abbreviation) promises to be the greatest storyteller of this generation” e wala ka pa namang real accomplishments except being the famous boy in the rain who braved the wrath of Yolanda, an unrelatable documentary on climate change shot in Scandinavia, and of course, Umagang Kay Ganda. I may have my demons to deal with but you have yours too, my friend. So accept that you are a celebrity and don't use the noble profession of journalism to hide your inadequacies as a human being. You know how your performance in Citizen Jake was enhanced and 'fixed' in the editing. That I had to use 2 cameras all the time in anticipation of this. That it was how the film was put together that made you look good. You won't want me to upload your most horribly acted scenes, and the one that had my team rolling in laughter everytime they saw it. I tried to keep that scene by modifying the editing flow but i was overruled by my team who told me in no uncertain terms that that scene had to go. And in the last instance before I made a post, I asked you for a statement (something that we had agreed upon) about the film to be posted on our page, not on yours, of course because it would have been lost in all the photos of you climbing mountains, swimming the oceans, commiserating with the downtrodden, or enjoying a meal in Hong Kong. It would be your statement about Citizen Jake, not as an actor but as a co-writer because your contribution was substantial. Something I could post and say that this is a statement by Atom Araullo, not by Mike De Leon, but Atom Araullo himself on our official page. Perhaps it would entice your millions of social media followers to watch their idol on the big screen but wonder of wonders, they never came to watch the film and still they scream “I love you, Atom. I want to marry you, Atom.” But I digress, about that statement, you hemmed and hawed (as is your wont) and replied that you are not used to making statements unless you’re interviewed and so I cut it short by saying. Fine. That’s it, thanks anyway. That was the last straw. You said you had to endure a lot throughout the making of the film. Well, guess what, I had to do that, too. I had to endure your superciliousness, your overweening ego, your disparaging remarks about movie people and actors, even your lack of manners. I had to remind you to at least say thank you to the staff and crew before you left Baguio. Is that what you learned from your parents? Or did they fill your head with hot air as you were growing up, telling you were the best in everything you did. You know how it feels to be working with a 34 or 35 year old man (I forget now) who still admitted to telling his parents EVERYTHING. Everything. It felt like I was dealing with the entire Araullo clan and needed their approval for everything that happened to their son in this film. In closing (and like you, I won’t say anything anymore) let me add this - Having admitted that I'm a deeply troubled person, i will make no excuses for it - not even the usual "artists are temperamental and accountable to no one but their art." but please be kind to your soul and accept the reality – stop pretending to want to embrace the universe, when all the time, you only want to embrace yourself. This is called narcissism. - Mike De Leon.
Unfortunately, this rift between actor and director seems to have grown to an extent that could leave a lasting mark on an important film. At this point, now that Citizen Jake has finished its first week, audiences should be discussing its content, its substance, and its message rather than behind-the-scenes drama. So the best takeaway from this, if there's any at all, is to know that Citizen Jake is still showing in a handful of theaters.
You can still catch the film at Black Maria Cinema, Cinema 76 Anonas, Eastwood, Gateway, and SM Megamall. Follow this link for screening schedules.