Drawing from personal experience can be painful
Lovi Poe and boyfriend Montgomery Blencowe: Miles apart but keeping the flame burning
GMA Network
Drawing from personal experience can be painful
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Airing tonight after Encantadia on the GMA Telebabad Block is High-Rise Lovers, which is the third of the four-part I Can See You mini-series kicked off last Sept. 28 by Love in the Balcony, followed last Oct. 5 by The Promise and next Monday (Oct. 19) by Truly. Deadly. Madly. (with Dennis Trillo, Rhian Ramos and Jennylyn Mercado). The series is so titled because the camera is made to “reveal” what it can “see” in the lives of lovers without their being aware of it. (Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, about a man monitoring the movements of his neighbors from his rear window? Well, something like that).

Directed by Monti Parungao, High-Rise Lovers is about married couple Samantha (Lovi) and Luis (Tom) whose relationship dwindles with their opposing goals in life. As they move into a new house, Samantha continues to strive for a big promotion at work while Luis is an unemployed contractor. Luis meets the mysterious Ysabel (Winwyn). And then...

Tom Rodriguez and girlfriend Carla Abellana: Living together is ‘circumstantial’.

Is going back to work a big relief from being locked down?

Lovi: “It is a big relief, thinking how to start all over again. It’s just nice that it took a while before we started working again but it’s all because GMA was trying to do its best to make sure na everyone is safe before going on set at pag-alis din namin. It’s a nice feeling to go back to work. That’s one of the things that we really missed at halata naman kapag magkaka-eksena kami. You could see the excitement in our eyes.”

Winwyn: “May konting kaba kasi we didn’t know kung paano kami aarte ulit with all the protocols, what are the do’s and don’ts. That was our only worry pero ang sarap lang sa pakiramdam to be in front of the camera again, especially if you’re working with such a talented cast. It was a relief to go out of the house and do something that we really love to do.”

Winwyn Marquez: Happy for ex-boyfriend Mark Herras having a baby with new girlfriend

Tom: “Definitely. Although nakaka-spoil na mag-Zoom, as working from home is very convenient, iba pa rin talaga kung nasa set ka and you get to interact with your co-actors, cast and crew. It’s a whole different experience. Kahit na may restrictions because we’re under the new normal, iba pa rin hindi mo pa rin ma-ko-compare sa Zoom lang. Precautions and all, I would still choose live tapings over this.”

How much do you draw from personal experience in portraying a role?

Lovi: “When I need to act specially kapag first day tapos wala pa akong na-invest sa character ko, usually I draw it from experience and then when I get in the middle of the show, I don’t have to draw from personal experience anymore. I just dive into my character’s emotions. It helps but it depends naman on you kung ready ka nang i-portray talaga nang makatotohanan ‘yung character mo.”

Winwyn: “For me kasi, as much as possible, I don’t want to draw from my personal experience because it is hard to let go. Although I had a scene with Tom na humugot ako sa personal experience, and it was painful at nahirapan akong itigil ‘yung iyak. Nagka-allergies pa ako rito. I just imagine na ako talaga ‘yung character. I just imagine and draw the picture in my head and then I internalize.”

Tom: “I think I’m gonna mirror what Lovi and Winwyn have said. I’ve tried drawing from personal experience and drawing from the character. There’s something to doing it both ways. When I was starting, I kept drawing from personal experiences but when they got too intense, syempre my father had just passed away, I realized I can’t use them because it damages me to the point na kahit ilang months na ‘yung projects iba na ‘yung effect niya sa ’kin.

“There is also a freeing element when you’re in character, for example one that I always go back to is Someone To Watch Over Me, na you’re really living and breathing the character, even ‘yung internal monologues ng character. The scenes take a life of their own and even though ramdam na ramdam mo ‘yung emotions once the camera stops rolling, you can go back to yourself unlike, tulad ng sinabi ni Winwyn, when you draw from personal inventory minsan kahit tapos na ‘yung eksena hindi mo pa rin matigil ‘yung emotion. I’ve been trying to find the balance but it’s been difficult for me siguro kasi patigil-tigil ‘yung projects like what happened during this pandemic hindi mo nasu-sustain kung saan ka na sanay. I prefer being in character more.”

How effective is the new-normal way of shooting in telling a credible story?

Tom: “I’m really proud kina direk Monti and the whole team involved, even sa trailer kanina, there were scenes na we didn’t think would be possible but were still achieved. Even with social distancing it still looks like we’re doing intimate scenes. Kahit kami na-cu-curious silipin sa preview like ‘How did that look?’ Even us, we couldn’t envision what it’s going to be like kapag ginagawa namin like ‘Is this going to work?’ We’re standing so far apart.

“There’s always something external occupying your attention parang may lagi kang iniisip na iba. Kasi you’re trying to fight off impulses na meron ka like to grab, to hold, ‘yung mga natural na gagawin ng character. Parang kailangan mong pigilan ‘yung sarili mo, it adds an extra barrier but I think eventually everyone will just get used to it.”

Lovi: “For me, I’m just really excited kung ano ‘yung magiging outcome. Kami ni Tom, we’ve worked together, unang-una mag-asawa kami dito and second, we got so used to Someone To Watch Over Me na wala kaming barrier. Kapag aarte nandon kami, we’re ready to go but suddenly at the back of our heads, we can’t touch each other.

“Sobrang challenging for us but we just have to take it in such a way that hopefully things get better soon so that we won’t stay here forever. I just want to see the outcome kasi I know sila direk Monti and the whole team really did their best para mas mapaganda at mapakita na walang pagbabago.”

Winwyn: “What’s nice is nakaplano na kasi ‘yung team beforehand. Kung planado na and clear na ‘yung vision nila on the set at least kahit papaano they know what they’re going to do like the camera angles, script, ‘yung emotions kung anong dapat ilabas. Prepared kami in advance hindi siya ‘yung minadali on the set. Excited din talaga akong makita ‘yung outcome.”

Confirm current status: Lovi on long-distance relationship (LDR).


Winwyn “loveless” and reaction to ex-BF Mark Herras having a baby?

“I’m happy for them. A baby is a blessing. Happy ako na they’re going to be a family. As for me, happy din akong single. I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m learning to love myself. I’m focused on what I’m doing right now.”

And Tom on living-in with girlfriend Carla Abellana (secretly married daw)?

“I think everyone keeps saying online that it’s that but it’s more of circumstantial. During this pandemic, she would’ve been all by herself. It was better na I’m here with her. We’ve been learning a lot more from each other and this is essentially what it’s going to be like for the rest of our lives. We really have to communicate together and delegate responsibilities. I think personally it’s almost essential.”



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

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