Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bobby A. Suarez: Unfinished & Unmade Films Part 3 (2000s)

On my first visit, Bobby handed me a draft of the Vengeance Of Cleopatra Wong script by him and Mike Cassey dated July 2006. Cleopatra Wong loses her husband, Captain Navarro (Romano Kristoff) in a raid on the fortified lair of drug dealer Carlo “The Doc” Cortez. She trains with her mentor, Singaporean martial arts guru Peter Tan (Peter Chong) to seek revenge on Cortez, battling not only his trusted killers Somchai (Monsour Del Rosario) and the mute Jinx (Cynthia Luster), but her husband's effeminate partner Rene (Franco Guerrero). The script also introduces Cleo's teenaged daughter Samantha (Bebe Pham) as her mother's conscience; Cleo soon dispatches her daughter back to Singapore before embarking on a killing spree from Manila's docks to the Doc's drug lab in the Ifugao mountains.

Bobby planned to fly to meet with his potential investors on the southern island of Cebu that Friday. He and Celso spend much of the afternoon hammering out a new ninety-page treatment for Vengeance Of Cleopatra Wong, which by now featured more of Cleo’s daughter than Cleo Wong herself.

During my two-week visit to Manila in February 2007, I visited Bobby's office almost every day. As the nerve centre of Vengeance..., the place had come alive. Cattle calls for stuntmen, ongoing discussions with cinematographers Arnold Alvaro and Jun Pereira – all funded out of Bobby's pocket, and all captured on my three-chip mini DV camera. The electricity filled the room as Bobby crackled with manic creative energy; I could close my eyes and imagine what the BAS Film office was like in its Seventies' and Eighties' heydays.

In June 2007, Bobby withdrew from Bigfoot's Vengeance... project.

Mike Cassey: “That was due to problems over the budget. Bobby really wanted to shoot the movie in and around Manila and use a local grip house for the equipment hire, all with a view to minimizing the production costs. But Gleissner wanted Bobby to shoot everything at Bigfoot in Cebu, using their equipment and facilities. But that ballooned the budget because of extra air fares and hotel accommodation for our production crew and local actors. Although the new script belonged to Bigfoot, Bobby wisely didn't sell them the rights to the Cleopatra Wong character which belonged to him. And so the project was cancelled.

“Michael Gleissner had a good reason for wanting the movie to be made at the Bigfoot studios, which I understand perfectly. He has a Film School there and wanted his students to have first-hand experience of film-making and we would also have used some of his students, as actors, extras and interns. But it wasn't to be. You can imagine Bobby's deep disappointment at not being able to push through with his long-awaited movie comeback.”

At the end of July 2007, Bobby closed the BAS Film office in Plaza Santa Cruz and relocated to a downstairs room in his Bulacan home. Almost thirty years of Bobby's history was transplanted to a new set of laminated wood-lined walls. The door's imposing BAS Film plaque now greets visitors along the side of the house. The irrepressible Bobby continued the hunt for new investors, pitching one recycled project after the other.


Email 01/03/08

Dear Brod Andrew:

You can inform your blog friends that I am making a come back and I might start either with "The LADY EXECUTIONER" with our mutual friend, Ms. MARRIE LEE, the one and only Cleopatra Wong to play the lead role, opposite, another friend, GARY DANIELS and will introduce in the movie the Australian kick boxing champion by the name of RICHARD MAGAREY.

The other movie project that I am now working on is, do not laugh yet, entitled - "They Call Her.... FATSO" the vehicle that I will use to introduce a heavy, but beautiful and talented unknown 350 lbs. female police detective who will make you, me and everybody who loves comedy action adventure, come out of the movie houses, satisfied and still laughing.


By August 2008, Vengeance… had mutated into The Lady Executioner, with proposed funding from France’s Canal Plus and the Singapore Film Commission. A second comeback feature for Cleopatra Wong, Fists Of The Sleeping Dragon, was to reunite Johnson Yap as the Bionic Boy and Franco Guerrero as the One-Armed Executioner; there was also a remake of One-Armed Executioner called Iron Fists Of Justice with a proposed cast of Gary Daniels, Shermaine Santiago, Richard Magarey, Monsour del Rosario, Cynthia Luster and Singapore’s Peter Chong.

Bobby’s dream project The Child Who Made Jesus Descend From The Cross, a story inspired by Bobby’s autistic daughter Roma, had been handed to Mike Cassey to write and direct, with Maria Isabel Lopez in the lead role. Expectations for Bobby's comeback were running high.

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