An apparent mutual admiration for their love of craft and acting is not a career PR just a profession for them, but a vocation they are most passionate about and an appreciation of each other’s individualities, as women, friends and artists—these are the ties that bind Iza Calzado, Meryl Soriano, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith.
They are the femme fatales who star in the most anticipated Metro Manila Film Festival 2019 film in competition, Alvin Yapan’s Culion, with the living legend and most revered Ricky Lee, writes its screenplay.
Calzado begins,”I will not deny the fact that I am happy and at the same time, I feel privileged that I am breathing and giving life to Anna. I feel strongly about this film. It is meaningful and important. It is the story that needs to be told. We need to tell and share their story of courage and hope, the people of Culion.”
Two masters, film director Alvin Yapan and screenplay writer Ricky Lee are the anchors and forces to this historical drama.
On working with director Yapan, Smith shares, “May ibang director, they give limited instructions. You have to find your way through it but there are some directors na parang sila na ang nag-a-act for you. With Direk Alvin, you really have to pay attention, you have to give your presence, and for me that is good, because for me, I really love respecting my directors. I have learned that ever since I was in high school. Kaya pag may sinabi sa iyo, okay sige ito ang gagawin ko. If you want me to add to it, I will try my best. I love it because it is very honest, very straight to the point on what he wants. That makes you feel good.”
Calzado’s rejoinder, “With Direk Alvin, very generous with his encouragement and validation. As we finished a scene, parang I felt somewhat blocked. Which happens but he was so comforting after. Sobrang grateful ko na ganoon klase ng director meron kami. Bukod doon, sinabi ko na first day pa lang, nagkwentuhan kami and I said gustong-gusto ko siyabecause he is detail-oriented. He is very respectful of his craft and someone else’s work.”
“Hiniling ko talaga sa universe itong Culion at ibinigay naman sa akin,” Soriano declares. “You know, it is my first movie written by the Ricky Lee and the way he wrote the script, I cannot help but gush at first, and then naramdaman ko na lang umiiyak ako.”
She carries on, “It affected me so much because the script written by Sir Ricky, so honestly depicted the struggles and sufferings, the triumphs and victories of the people who once lived in Culion when there was still no cure for Hansen’s disease. More than highlighting the horrors of the affliction, what the audiences can look forward to is the stories of survival, tenacity, hope and of course, love. Not the romantic kind all the time, but that love for people.”
What they think of each other, the trio con brio is more than willing to reveal
Calzado discloses, “In terms of clocking in art, Meryl was ahead of us. Seasoned is the best adjective to describe her. As an actress, bilib na bilib ako sa kanya. Generous.”
On Jasmine, enthuses Iza: “I’ve always heard good things about her. Sobrang matagal na kaming magme-message sa isa’t-isa na gusto namin magkatrabaho. Feeling naming,feeling ko magkahawig kami, very, very slightly. She is serious when it comes to her work. She is hungry to prove herself but I don’t think she needs to prove much. Nandoon na siya sa path na iyon, na respetado siya.”
Anne Curtis’s younger sister, divulges: “I admire these ladies, not just in their craft but as how they prove themselves as women. They stand for what they believe in. Doon pa lang, feeling ko, gusto ko na i-align ang sarili ko sa kanila, kung nasaan sila. Individually, we are supporting each other, from the eyes itself hanggang before the take. We’d stare at each other and you’d really feel that we all give in to our characters. Nararamdaman ko rin iyon as an actress myself. They are not themselves anymore but the roles they are playing. We are in the zone and we are living in the character.”
And for Meryl, “Dami na nilang sinabi. Basta, pareho silang magaling!”
Culion also stars Joem Bascon, Suzette Ranillo, Mike Liwag, Nico Loco, and many others. Showing this Dec. 25 and beyond in cinemas nationwide.