If Toni Gonzaga is one of the faces of "Pinoy Big Brother", Director Laurenti Dyogi is the foundation. And that’s according to Toni herself. So when you put the two of them together in one room for a heart-to-heart interview, expect us to stop whatever we’re doing to tune in.
On Sunday, October 10, a new episode of "Toni Talks" featuring Direk Lauren premiered on Toni’s Youtube channel. In the interview, Direk Lauren opened up about his beginnings in the entertainment industry, his success in “Pinoy Big Brother”, and his sentiments on the shutting down of ABS-CBN.
Initially wanting to become an architect, Direk Lauren told the story of how he ended up as a director.
“Nung college ako, I wanted to take up architecture. Sa bahay namin may mahjong-an yan. Mahilig mag-mahjong ‘yung nanay ko. ‘Yung mga tiles ng mahjong, ginagawa kong building ‘yan. So feeling ko nun, gusto ko maging architect. Pero sa UP, quota course, tyaka Math. Hindi ako magaling sa Math. So triny ko Mass Comm,” detailed Direk Lauren.
That redirection proved to be one of the best decisions as Direk Lauren found huge success as a director and had made numerous films and TV series over the past decades. Under his direction, “Pinoy Big Brother” has become one of the most popular reality shows in the country.
While many fans of “PBB” think and believe Direk Lauren to be “Kuya”, the “PBB” director continues to deny this claim.
“I’ve denied it. People will believe, will not believe. I think the imprint that I left in the beginnings of 'Pinoy Big Brother' because I was the one na kapag may kontrobersya, ako 'yung haharap. Tapos Kuya is a good mimic, my intonation, my inflection,” he clarified in the interview.
He continued, “Because in the beginning I was really the one creatively in control. So malaki po 'yung parte ng pagkatao ko na napupunta kay Kuya na napupunta sa programa because I was really in control. At that time, it was really my baby. It was really what I breathed day in, day out.”
Toni went on to say that Direk Lauren is not just a director, but a “star hunter”.
“Lahat ng big stars na kilala natin at hinahangaan natin ngayon, galing ‘yan sa kanyang pagkilatis at desisyon,” she said.
“Paborito ko po ‘yun, ‘yung naghahanap. Finding that needle in a haystack, I would always say that,” added Direk Lauren.
Referring to former “PBB” housemates Kim Chiu, Melai Cantiveros, and Maymay Entrata as examples, Direk Lauren described the thrill of finding people who we “don’t expect to be the standards of a star” but turn out to be hugely adored by audiences nationwide.
From scouting talents for "PBB", Direk Lauren is now the head of Star Magic, ABS-CBN’s talent management arm.
When asked how he feels about being the new Star Magic head, he answered: “It happened because of necessity. It happened because we were shut down. The company was forced to scale down. We were asked to double-task. I seem to be a good candidate in terms of efficiency because I can see kung anong kailangan sa production and I have the roster of artists.”
Direk Lauren admitted, “It’s a challenge. It’s exciting. I’ll be very honest, it has caused me stress and depression.”
The challenges brought by the ABS-CBN shutdown combined with the pandemic and the responsibilities of his new role led Direk Lauren to take his first sabbatical leave in his entire career.
“Nag-break ako, hindi ako nagbakasyon. Nandoon lang ako sa bahay and I tried to detach from work because I was having anxiety attacks. As in hindi ako nakakatulog nang maayos,” Direk Lauren told Toni.
Now, over a year after the shutdown, Direk Lauren views this setback in a positive light, saying: “We’re being redirected to where the Lord wants us to go. Because kung hindi rin po dahil sa shutdown, hindi kami makaka-diskubre ng ibang paraan ng paggawa.”
“In a way, challenging and exciting. It’s a good time also to be in ABS-CBN. Kaya lang nga, nandoon ‘yung pangamba lagi. But I think yung kaba is good also for our growth. It’s still not a perfect set-up. It is still difficult. But alam mo kasi na kung sino yung kasama mo sa hirap, syempre 'yun 'yung hopefully kasama mo sa ginhawa. One day,” he shared.
Direk Lauren also voiced out his sentiments about the former Kapamilya talents who decided to leave the network following the shutdown of ABS-CBN.
“I suppose when the boat is sinking, you can't expect everybody to stay in the boat or to stay with you. As I said, tao ako, masakit talaga. Especially doon sa mga taong kinausap ko na one, two, three times. Masakit talaga,” he admitted.
You can watch the full interview here:
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