Atom Araullo has responded to "Citizen Jake" director Mike de Leon’s claims that he is “disappointing.”
On his Facebook account earlier today, May 30, the journalist-turned-movie actor related how he chose to keep quiet as the issue peaked because he didn’t want to be “accused of cheap gimmickry to promote [the movie].” He’s only speaking up now to air his side of the story.
Atom related that Direk Mike was the one who approached him to star in “Citizen Jake,” with no knowledge of his acting skills. He accepted the offer because he respected and admired his work, not because he's chasing fame.
“Mike knows that it was not an easy decision. Journalists becoming actors is unconventional to say the least. Colleagues raised their eyebrows, and surely many in the film industry did, too. I knew that I would be subjected to an intense level of scrutiny from all sides, and others will harbor suspicion about my motives,” he said. “This was the price to pay for an extraordinary opportunity to speak truth to power in a different medium.”
And while Atom stands for what the movie represents, he can’t accept how Direk Mike criticized his being a journalist and branded him a “closet movie star.”
“I have never made any claims about the quality of my output or my stature in the media industry,” he said. “I just aim to do my best like everyone else, always acknowledging that one continues to learn and improve every day. I’ll leave it to the public to appraise the value of my work, accumulated over a decade of being a journalist.”
He ended the post by saying that he was not at all surprised by Direk Mike’s tirades - it was only the latest in a string of “tantrums.”
“When others found themselves in Mike’s crosshairs, I tried to be there to lend a sympathetic ear. Perhaps his woeful behavior continues because he is never held accountable. Mike is a deeply troubled person,” he said. “The kindest thing I can say about him is that he needs help, patience, and understanding as he wrestles with his personal demons. But while he has certainly tested the limits of my endurance, I can rest easy knowing that I worked hard, behaved professionally, and did all to the best of my abilities at the time the film was made.”
Meanwhile, Direk Mike responded to Atom’s post just a few hours after it was uploaded on Facebook. He acknowledged that he is “deeply troubled,” but mentioned that Atom left out how he acted while on set.
“In a couple of instances, you chose to ignore my direction and completely ignored what was rehearsed. Many people were witness to this,” he said, adding that Atom never apologized for being disrespectful.
“I told you then if you wanted to direct yourself, then by all means do it… 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? As an actor, you're ok pero marami ka pang kakaining bigas.’ And you said: ‘Yes, I know that but no one has ever told me that before.’ So I concluded by saying ‘Well, it's about time somebody did.’
Direk Mike furthered that Atom has absolutely no empathy when it comes to his journalism, relating how ironic it is when everything should be about the story, not the journalist.
“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,” he said.
He continued to cite instances of Atom’s supposed rudeness and “lack of manners” while making the film.
“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,” he related, further adding that Atom’s parents had to be informed of everything they did on set.
“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,” he said.
Direk Mike ended his statement by saying that it was not only him who has to deal with his demons - Atom has to do the same as well.
“Accept that you are a celebrity and don't use the noble profession of journalism to hide your inadequacies as a human being,” he said. “Atom pretends to embrace the universe, when all the time, he is only embracing himself. This is called narcissism.”
“Citizen Jake” is Direk Mike’s first film after an 18-year hiatus.You can read more about Atom here:
Atom explains his departure from ABS-CBN
Journalist, actor, screenwriter: What can't Atom Araullo do?
Mike de Leon has chosen Atom Araullo
10 straight facts about Atom Araullo