A mystifying reunion

CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
A mystifying reunion
The stars of the GMA fantaserye Encantadia are together again in Mystified, the first-ever Philippine-made movie for iflix Originals that has been trending since it started streaming last week of March. From left: Iza Calzado, Diana Zubiri, Sunshine Dizon and Karylle.

Four “empowered” actresses have joined forces as line-producers for Mystified, the first-ever Philippine-made movie directed by Mark Reyes for iflix Originals that went viral as soon as it started streaming last March 29.

Fourteen years ago, Iza Calzado, Diana Zubiri, Sunshine Dizon and Karylle starred in the hit GMA fantasy series Encantadia. Now as the brains behind Sanggre Productions, Inc., they are out to prove that women power multiplied by four can do more wonders than men can.

Having worked together in Encantadia (mention roles) and developed a good relationship, was it a breeze shooting Mystified?

Karylle: I played Alena in Encantadia. Siya ang taga-pangalaga ng Brilyante ng Tubig.

I’m reminded of her constantly of late because of the water situation in the country. Dahil taga-pangalaga ako ng tubig, maraming dumudunog sa akin para tulungan sila. It’s a special role that has remained in everyone’s mind, and in my heart.

I’ve also been reminding people that we have a role to protect the earth as well to avoid future crisis.

Working on Mystified is exciting, dynamic, especially because you are with a team that brings out the best in you.

In a creative safe space, you feel inspired, challenged and ready to play and explore new worlds.

This time around, we are making history or HERstory together by creating the first iflix Originals movie from the Philippines. We are happy to share that it is being shown in all the 22 territories of iflix.

Iza: It was fun and easy working together again. We didn’t go through the awkward few days of getting to know each other.

Sunshine: I played Pirena in Encantadia.

Shooting for Mystified was almost a month. Yes, everything went smoothly and it just felt like home. We were all very excited to see and work with each other again.

Iza: I played Amihan who holds the power of the wind and Lireo.

It was definitely fun and easy working together again on the set of Mystified which was about 8/9 days for me. We didn’t have to go through the awkward few days of getting to know each other.

Diana: Yes, it’s been always a breeze working with them because we’re really good friends. I played Danaya in Encantadia, their youngest sister so parang naging kapatid ko na rin sila in real life and while doing the telefantasya of GMA 7.

What are your fond memories about Encantadia and now, on the set of Mystified?

Karylle: One of my fave moments in Enka was swimming in Daranak Falls. I also loved chanting and making music for Alena in our OB van, camping in a cramped dressing room was also fun, eating dirty ice cream in our Pasig sound studio, fighting with my spear always made me feel so cool.

On the set of Mystified, it was just so nice to be with everyone and reminisce Enka stories and how life was like “as a young girl.”

Once in a while, as producers we would encounter challenges, something we would laugh about when we are older.

Sunshine: Fondest memory will forever be working with my co-stars, especially Iza, Karylle and Diana.

In Mystified, I play Althea, the maiga-potion maker and healer. In the mortal world, Althea is also a doctor.

Diana: There was no professional jealousy among us. We have different weaknesses and strengths that become an advantage in our working relationship.

Iza: Encantadia was filmed during the time of our lives when we had so much energy we could work for over 24 hours on set (that which shouldn’t happen anymore) and because of this, we bonded so much through thick and thin, sleep and no sleep. We would be like dorm mates sharing a room or space. There was always an abundance of food.

Sadly, I was always on a diet so rarely would I take part in the feast!

For Mystified, our hours are slightly better but since it was shot in just a short span of time, we didn’t get to spend as much time on set with each other. Another difference is that we are producers for Mystified, so we would do our own “meetings” after our shoot while taking off make-up in the banyo. Food was not as indulgent as it was during Encantadia. And yes, I still have my own food. Hehehe!

Diana: My fave memory with them in Encantadia was doing heavy scenes. I felt that I was so good because they were very good. Naramdaman at nangyari ulit sa Mystified ‘yon.

Has any of you worked together on any project after Encantadia?

Karylle: Iza and I were together in Moments of Love. We are partners in two apps, namely iflix and Booky.

Diana is my supplier ng band shirts.

Sunshine: Iza and I worked together on two other shows, Impostora and All About Eve. And Diana, on a couple of guestings as well.

Sunshine: Everything went smoothly and it just felt like home. We were all excited to see and work with each other again.

Iza: Sunshine and I did two more projects together after Encantadia — Impostora and All About Eve.

Diana: Only Sunshine and me were together in other GMA shows. Iza and Karylle were not given another chance. Ang huli ay Encantadia pa.

How have you (and your life) changed since your Encantadia days?

Karylle: In many, many ways. I feel like we have grown as individuals and have come into our own as women. I love being in my 30s because I didn’t value things as much as I do now. I also know what I want to achieve for myself, companies I am part of and for my family.

I try to look at the world with an open mind, I try to see the picture, I try to further the scene whether it be the music scene or the movie scene by contributing a little something

Sunshine: Got married and had two kids.

Iza: Encantadia started 14 years ago and our lives have definitely evolved. We are all married now. Diana has two children and so has Sunshine. We have become wiser and are definitely more empowered.

Diana: A lot. I was able to fulfill my dreams. I was able to finish school na parang isang fantasy like Encantadia. Once you joined showbiz, mahirap nang balikan ang pag-aaral because you experience the thrill of earning your own money. I was able to accomplish it because of the life-changing challenges that I went through. Just like my Danaya character, matapang na ako ngayon at hindi basta nagpapa-apekto sa mga problema.

Karylle: This time around, we are making history or HERstory together by creating the first iflix Originals movie from our country.

Has there ever been any professional jealousy or any attempts at scene-stealing in both projects?

Karylle: Frankly, it’s been quite the opposite. When I mention a creative “safe space,” I am very thankful because I share the screen with award-winning actresses. Everyone wants to make sure that everyone gives what is needed for every scene and situation, on- and off-screen. It’s a rare situation, that is why I treasure and care for it very much.

We have equal pay and we want people to know that it is possible to work together as a team.

Sunshine: None whatsoever. Encantadia and Mystified have always been a beautiful coming together of great like-minded collaborative people with the goal of giving our fans the best that they deserve. We have always been a family and will continue being so.

Iza: (no answer)

Diana: There was no professional jealousy among us. We have different weaknesses and strengths which are a big advantage in our working relationship.

Mystified is the story of four sorceresses who, through their combined strengths, have successfully banished the evil with Helga and locked her away with the Portalis. Now, the four women have been sent to live in the real world to protect the magic portal — except that they are not allowed to use any of their powers.

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(E-mail reactions at [email protected] For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)







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