Director Mikhail Red on casting Nadine Lustre in ‘Deleter’: ‘Top of mind siya talaga’

Director Mikhail Red on casting Nadine Lustre in ‘Deleter’: ‘Top of mind siya talaga’

Mikhail Red explained why casting Nadine Lustre as the lead in his latest horror film is the perfect choice.

Mikhail Red knew right from the start that Nadine Lustre is the perfect choice for Deleter.

Known for making films like Birdshot, Dead Kids, Block Z, and Eerie, director Mikhail Red talked about why it was important for his latest film Deleter to be included in this year’s lineup of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

“It’s a battle for attention spans. You’re going up against Tiktok and video games and shorter and shorter attention spans. Everything’s moving toward streaming and episodic and series para mas na-ko-control mo yung viewing habits like you can binge it or you can watch it piece by piece,” he shared during a guesting on RX93.1’s All Out program last December 15.

“So, it’s more challenging to make feature films. And it’s harder to distribute feature films lalo na ngayon post-pandemic. And that’s why I think it’s a big deal for us to get into the MMFF because it’s a good platform,” he added.

The Deleter director also shared that being part of the MMFF for the very first time gives his film more exposure as compared to releasing it as a regular feature film during the year.

“It guarantees us at least a week, two weeks of national screening in many theaters and it’s well advertised. Even Filipinos who normally wouldn’t watch movies every weekend kasi it’s expensive, they would save up for Christmas time and that’s when they would see a movie so it’s really like an important slot,” he explained.

“If you want to make sustainable cinema, this is also a job. There are a lot of film workers who rely on this and you can’t just make a film and not think of recouping. I know what’s important is the heart, the soul, the artistry. But it has to be sustainable if you want to make more and you want to make better stuff,” he added.

On picking Nadine for the role, he said: “Top of mind siya talaga naisip namin and she’s a very technical actress and I like working with her because I think I always mention this sa mga Q&A but she likes films.”

“She also watches a lot of horror movies so she has that taste and sophistication to kind of pull off a character like Lyra who’s very internal. Lyra as a moderator, she has to wear this mask everyday and really be almost numb to the things she sees online so it’s a difficult role because you can’t just sue your usual big dramatic techniques. It’s not like a very loud movie. It’s very internal and very mental,” he added.

During his All Out interview, Direk Mihail also talked about his decision to cast actress Nadine Lustre in the lead role of his newest horror film.

“I think you need an actress that understands the craft and understand the character well to be able to control that enough to not go over the top. The nuances, it just leaks in her body language. In her eyes scanning the corners of the screen for videos that she has to delete or flag,”he said.

“She has more experience than me. Probably worked on more sets than me. As a filmmaker you’re already lucky doing more than one film a year. As an actress you’ll probably do more with other sets she’s been to and ads and all that. So she’s used to it and she understands what I need from her,” he added.

More than just having a talent for acting, Direk Mikhail also explained further just how challenging being on the Deleter set was for Nadine.

“Working with the camera, it’s very tough. You’re not working with a co-actor. When you’re doing a horror movie you have a character who’s alone in the dark and then you have to scream because of the imagined entity in the same room. But in reality, when you’re in the set, you’re facing camera lights and the camera department, the grips, dolly, crafts,” he said.

He went on: So you need to be imaginative to pull off that emotion. It’s not like a dialogue scene where you’re bouncing off another person. Here, you’re staring at a technical crew and blinding lights and yet if I tell you there’s a ghost or there’s a tyrannosaurus rex, you have to imagine that. It’s tough doing thriller-horror genre. You have to imagine. Sometimes you have to imagine a CGI element. Like in fantasy movies, pretend that there’s a dragon that’s going to breathe fire, now dodge the fire.”

After working on Deleter, Direk Mikhail also revealed what’s in the works for him starting next year.

“I’m doing a series for another streamer. I think I can’t announce it yet but it’s something different. I always try to find something new so I think this one is more upbeat, more energetic, more feel good. It’s more of like a sports genre element,” he shared.

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