A new screen âidentityâ for Maine
Maine Mendoza as master computer hacker Donna. ‘It’s different from the roles I have done with Bossing (Vic Sotto). I didn’t have comedy parts here.’
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A new screen ‘identity’ for Maine
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - December 20, 2019 - 12:00am

Playing diverse roles speaks of an actor’s explorative (learning) nature and growth. Maine Mendoza presents a master computer hacker character in Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity and pulls out all the stops to ride on the movie’s action-packed sequences.

“It is different from the roles I have done with Bossing,” said Maine, in an interview, of her character named Donna, who belongs to the group of experts called The Dons with Vic Sotto’s Don Robert Fortun as master strategist. Mission Unstapabol, produced by APT Entertainment, Inc. and MZET Productions, is among the official entries of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

“I didn’t have comedy parts here,” she granted, “hundred percent serious po ako dito. I feel it’s my first time to play a role like that for viewers and my fans — na hindi magpapatawa si Maine, hindi magiging kengkoy si Maine, hindi mag-wa-wacky si Maine (They will not see any traces of the funny, comedic Maine.).” The role veers away from her Isa Pa, with Feelings’ Mara, which proved Maine’s “foothold” in drama.

Maine didn’t have to adjust much in donning a new character for director Mike Tuviera was there every step of the way. It’s safe to say that the actress-TV host was able to locate her role in the grand scheme behind the heist film.

“Direk Mike would help me out,” she said, “and once we were on set or we had to rehearse, seryoso na (we turned to serious mode), tama na yung biruan.” After all, they had to focus on their roles like Jose Manalo, known as sidekick of Vic’s characters, who is the scheming brother to Don Robert.

“Ang mga scenes namin ni Bossing seryoso. With the help of Bossing, direk and the other cast, we were able to be in our characters.”
What perhaps makes Donna palatable to Maine is the former’s personal narrative. “She has angst and hidden agenda,” Maine said. “Mayroon pa siyang backstory.” All this guided Maine in portraying Donna, “kailangan may lalim yung arte, yung pagbato ng dialogues.”

As for her showbiz career path, Maine said, “It doesn’t matter to me if I do have a partner or I don’t. What matters is the material. Kung maganda yung materyal na i-o-offer sa’yo, siyempre tatanggapin mo, gagawin mo (If the material is good and interesting, then I will accept and do it). About my career path? Sa akin naman wala yung pressure. Kung ano yung dumating, kung anomang dumating, yun gawin natin. (I don’t pressure myself, whatever project comes my way, I will give it a try).”

What’s good about Maine is she remains grounded and the limelight hasn’t gotten the best of her.

“(Even) before, it (me being an actress) didn’t sink in to me,” she shared. “Until now naman hindi ko pa rin iniisip na actress ako, na kaya kung umarte. Maybe I’m just too critical when it comes to myself... I also give myself the chance to (try my hand at a role) and figure out if I can do it. Tapos na yung mga days na o sige gagawin ko ito kasi kailangan.”

The Donna role is a breather from her and Vic’s father-and-daughter tandem as seen in Daddy’s Gurl and Jack En Popoy: The Puliscredibles.

“Ngayon nga lang kami na hindi magtatay and my character plays kontrabida to his,” said Maine, “nag-e-explore din kami na paano natin malalaro ito at ano ang pwede nating ibigay na bago sa mga viewers (we explore to offer something new to viewers).”

On working with the ace comedian, Maine said: “I look up to him so much. So parang hanggang ngayon nga na-i-intimidate pa rin ako sa kanya. Hindi ko pa rin kayang batiin siya ng casual… kahit na araw-araw kaming magkasama, hindi pa rin nawawala yung ilang ko sa kanya. I (think) it’s a good thing.”

She is only four years old in the biz of entertainment, yet Maine has had her own successes — from being the other half of a phenomenal small-screen love team, an in-demand endorser to a movie star.

“Hanggang ngayon parang hindi pa rin (ito) pumapasok sa akin. (I’m still in awe of this showbiz career),” she said, “Hindi naman sa hindi nag-si-sink in, kailangan ko lang ng isang moment na parang tahimik lang, na kailangan kong mag-reflect sa buhay ko kung ano ang nangyari (I need a moment to reflect on what has happened in my work life). Hindi ko masyadong iniisip yung mga bagay, bagay.”

Perhaps, what Maine is doing right is: To welcome opportunities (such as commercials and movies), value them and take them with a grateful heart. “Dito ako dinala ng Diyos, ini-embrace ko (lang) din (This is where He has brought me. So I just embrace it.)” With that, one can sense Maine’s love for doing showbiz.

Maine’s first foray into MMFF gifted her performance in My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore a Best Supporting Actress award. Will she get her second festival plum this time? It is something we all find out come awards night.

Let Maine entertain us with her Donna as her new screen “identity.”

Opening Dec. 25 in theaters nationwide, Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity also stars Pokwang, Jake Cuenca, Wally Bayola, Jelson Bay, Tonton Gutierrez, Max Collins, Lani Mercado, Clint Bondad, Pekto, Dino Pastrano and Sarah Lahbati.

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