Seasoned comedians Janno Gibbs, Anjo Yllana, and the Hello, Universe cast revealed on July 20 what Xian Lim is like as a director.
At the story conference for Hello, Universe, Gibbs said he accepted the role for the fantasy-comedy movie because of Lim’s talent.
“I especially said yes to this for Xian because one–I consider him as a good friend, and I believe in his talent. He’s a very talented person, very artistic. Nagdi-direk, nag-aartista, nagpa-piano, nagpa-painting. So, I think we’re in good hands. I’m really excited kung ano ang ipapakita ni Xian.”
Yllana described the director as a hands-on director and supportive toward his cast members.
“Si Direk, first time ko makatrabaho, first time kaming nag-meeting the other day. And ako, personally, I felt very comfortable agad. Hands-on siya. I think–hindi ko alam ha, siyempre hindi ko pa siya nakakatrabaho malalaman ko pa lang pag nag-shooting na kami, but ano siya, he’s a very talented director. At the same time, a writer. So I’m looking forward lang, very excited. He’s very supportive and at the same time very excited na rin for the project.”
Sunshine Guimary enjoyed working with Lim because of his humble attitude.
“Unang-una ang director namin napaka-gwapo, napaka bagets, and for me, in a humble way, bale pang-apat ko siyang director. Alam mo ‘yung parang hindi ko naramdaman ‘yung kind of work una pa lang sa script parang ang sarap niyang i-enjoy. ‘Yun naman ang goal ni Direk eh, ang i-enjoy lang. So sa part na ‘yun, as in, ang swerte na namin sa part na ‘yun. Hindi strikto sa script, sa mga lines.”
Gene Padilla confirmed that Lim remained open for inputs from the cast members.
“Kay Direk Xian, ‘yung unang ano po kami na script reading pa lang, na sinabi niya sa amin na, we are open na maglagay ng inputs, mag-adlib. Doon pa lang sabi ko, ‘Ah, makakatrabaho ko ho ‘to.’ Sabi ko, magaan siyang ka-trabaho.
“Tsaka parang hiningi talaga niya ‘yung tulong namin ni Benjie [Paras], ni Anjo, at ni Janno, kasi nga alam niya na kami na ‘yung mga ano raw, mga lumang tao sa industriya.”
Mj Cayabyab recalled working with Lim in his previous projects, attesting to the hands-on work the young director puts in for the movie.
“It’s been my third time working with Direk. Una, sa teleserye, co-actor ko siya. Tapos his first directorial film ‘yung Pasabuy, kasama ako sa main cast, ang masasabi ko lang talaga, sobrang hands-on si Direk sa lahat ng bagay. He made sure na everyone’s comfortable, he made sure na everyone’s looking good, looking their characters. Doon pa lang na feel ko ‘yung importance at ‘yung dedication niya sa work niya. And super proud ako kay Direk Xian Lim.”
Madelaine Red admitted that she has always wanted to work with Lim in acting roles.
“Ako po, hindi ko pa po nakaka-work si Direk, first time lang din po, and very excited ako kasi pangarap ko po dati na maka-work siya as co-actor. Pero ngayon, director. So ayun po.”
Majo Lingat expressed her excitement about the project.
“Actually, first time ko rin lang po makakatrabaho si Direk Xian and ayun po super excited po akong makita kayong lahat. Tapos gusto ko rin pong maging katulad niya magaling umarte po kasi first time ko lang din po siyang makita niyan. Gusto ko rin pong ipakita ‘yung talent ko sa lahat ng tao.”
Joe Vargas voiced his excitement in working with Lim again, citing their harmony on set before he went into directing movies.
“Super-duper excited akong makatrabaho muli si Direk Xian, bilang ngayon director na po siya. Kasi po noong last time na nagkasama kami, parang sa teleserye, Story Of Us. ‘Yun ‘yung last time ko siyang nakasama din, nakausap. Kaya excited akong balikan ‘yung ganong parang harmony sa pag-tratrabaho.”
The director reacted to the statements of the cast members and conveyed his thanks to everyone in Hello, Universe.
“Thank you sa lahat ng sinabi ng cast. Very, nakakatunaw ng puso. Ang hirap to put into words ‘yung nararamdaman ko but nakakatunaw ng puso. At the same time, it really gets me emotional na alam mo ‘yun, all the hardwork that everyone put in, not only me, the team, the whole creative team, the whole producers, na we really took the time to make sure that all the characters will shine in their own right.”
Lim worked as a writer-director for the 2019 movie Tabon and the 2021 digital series Pasabuy.
As for Hello, Universe, he wrote and would be directing the movie along with a powerhouse comedic cast including Janno Gibbs, Anjo Yllana, Gene Padilla, Benjie Paras, Maui Taylor, Sunshine Guimary, MJ Cayabyab, Madelaine Red, Majo Lingat, and Joe Vargas.