Jason Paul Laxamana’s Expensive Candy is a sexy film, but in the words of Julia Barretto, the actress who stepped out of her comfort zone to play a sex worker, there’s so much more to the movie than the outfits she wore and the steamy scenes she did that people have already seen in the trailer.
“There’s so much more depth in the story and the character I play,” the 25-year-old screen star told Manila Standard Entertainment in an exclusive interview.
“There are so many layers to Candy. But what I love about her, and I hope people would pick this up from the movie, she embraces who she is. She is unashamed of what she has to do to survive. I like how realistic she is, kasi ako habang tumatagal, I become more practical in life. I really fell in love with Candy because she knows what to do in order to survive and she’s not embarrassed by any of it,” she said of her sultry character.
Julia took the role “very seriously that she even underwent dance workshops with the dance group, G-Force. As for the look and her process to breathe life into the role, she took inspiration from Demi Moore’s character in the 1999 film Striptease.
“She’s a flawed character and had so many decisions that I totally don’t agree with. But it makes her human,” she added.
Expensive Candy follows the colorful and bittersweet story of a sex worker named Candy (Julia), who inspires Toto, a poor teacher (portrayed by Carlo Aquino) to work harder for his dreams.
“Carlo is a wonderful actor. I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’m just so glad that I’ve done this with him. It’s Carlo, I had so much faith in what we could collaborate on and it turned out to be such a nice working experience with him. I hope it’s not the last,” she stated.
The movie is one of the projects that Julia felt appropriate for her age. She would even regret had she turned down the offer to play the character, which she also describes as someone she can relate to in so many levels.
“When Direk Jason pitched this to me, I was quickly so drawn to this project and the material as a whole. I immediately gave it a go signal and I asked for the script. When I read the script, I told myself that there was no way that I’m going to say no to this project. It was an absolute yes from the very beginning,” she admitted.
On playing sexy roles, Julia believes that she’s mature enough to show some skin in front of the camera. This “opportunity” is something she feels that she has to go through, just like any other actors who explore roles what can define their ability to portray intriguing and memorable persona on the screen.
“Nasa tamang edad na rin ako to really explore. I feel that I’m at a point in life where I felt comfortable in getting out of my comfort zone. It’s so funny, I felt comfortable starting to do different things in exploring a lot of different materials because when you think about it andami pang stories out there that we could tell that’s why I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.”
Julia depended heavily on her director’s decision and artistic vision. Expensive Candy is her second time working with JP, who also directed her first film (Between Maybes) as talent of Viva Artists Agency.
“I didn’t have any restrictions or limitations in portraying the role. It’s not my first time working with Direk Jason, I really have so much trust in him. I believe in his way of directing and storytelling and he’s also the writer of this movie so I totally left it to him to decide on everything,” she related noting that Expensive Candy is a project that that allowed her to level up as an actress.
“I would totally regret it if I didn’t say yes to this project. There’s no way that she would turn this down,” she reiterated.
Candy may be a sex worker in the story but Julia can relate to the character the way she resonated with the previous roles she essayedon television and film.
“She (Candy) knows what she wants and I’m at a point in my life where I know what I want and I know the things that I need to do in order to survive in this lifetime. I’ve gotten to that age where I have this headspace and I feel more comfortable in my being and the person that I am. I am more accepting and I have enough confidence so I can get by in this life,” she concluded.
Viva Entertainment’s Expensive Candy unspools in cinemas on September 14.