Kylie and Paolo get to work with director Brillante Mendoza

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
Kylie and Paolo get to work with director Brillante Mendoza
Kylie Verzosa and actor Paolo Gumabao are working for the first time with the 2009 Cannes Best Director, in the newest sexy drama, Sisid. This is direk Brillante’s first tie-up with Viva Films for 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — Acting for award-winning director Brillante Mendoza has been a challenge to beauty queen-actress Kylie Verzosa and actor Paolo Gumabao, who both worked with him for the first time in the newest sexy drama, Sisid, his first tie-up with Viva Films.

“One of the challenges is the style of acting required by direk Brillante,” discloses Kylie. “I’ve been acting not for so long, but I enjoyed the way of acting that we needed here in Sisid. Feeling ko, I can carry over this experience to my other projects. It’s very freeing and liberating.”

When Kylie initially got the sequence guide for Sisid, she immediately felt nervous. “Nagtanong-tanong na ako how direk Brillante worked,” Kylie recalls. “I was told, there’s not much preparation needed. You just have to go there and be yourself, listen.

“Our entire set was so open and free. Ito pala ‘yung kailangang energy para sa isang direk Brillante film. Maganda. Hindi siya ‘yung usual na nakakahon ka at may kailangan ka lang gawin.

“I learned so much about myself and my craft. I learned so many ways. Ganito pala ang mga ginagawa ng mga award-winning actors. Sana maabot ko din ‘yun. Dream ko din ‘yun para sa sarili ko.”

It’s direk Brillante’s first time to work with Kylie and Paolo. “Whenever I work with professional actors or newcomers, I treat them the same. Hindi ko tinatrato na kapag malaki ang artista ko, iba ang trato ko. Nakita naman nila ‘yun.

“It’s always exciting to work with actors like Kylie and Paolo. Sobrang gustung-gusto nilang matuto. Gustung-gusto nilang mapaganda ang ginagawa nila. I really appreciate that. ‘Yung commitment nila sa ginagawa nila.”

Brillante’s Tirador or Slingshot won the Caligary Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007. Captive competed in the same festival in 2012. He won the award as Best Director for Kinatay at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in 2009.

Brillante insisted the daring scenes in Sisid are essential to the story. “People who are not even watching films from Vivamax are saying, ‘Walang ginawa ‘yan kung hindi sexy films,’” the director says. “Ang responsibility doon if that is what’s being focused, kung ‘yun ang pinag-uusapan ng mga tao, nanonood o hindi nanonood, is to take it from there.

“As a filmmaker and as an artist who makes films for Vivamax, kung ‘yan ay parte ng buhay o parte ng kwento, dapat hindi ka lang mag-focus doon. So when they watch the film, even if they see sexy scenes, alam nila na hindi mo ginawa ‘yun dahil kailangan lang.”

“Masayang makipag-collaborate sa Viva. Once nagka-agree na kayo sa konsepto, responsibilidad mo na ‘yun kung paano mo pagagandahin ang pelikula. I always take that as a challenge if you were given that freedom. I don’t take it sitting down.

“That freedom, I’ll make sure, it’s all worth it. That’s what artists are after. Ayaw ng mga artists ng nasasakal. Binibigay ‘to ng isang malaking company like Viva. Dapat pangalagaan mo ito. You should be responsible with that.”

Paolo feels very “fortunate” to be directed by Brillante, adding to the big-name directors whom he worked with. In his first daring film, Lockdown, shown last year, he was directed by Joel Lamangan.

“It’s really liberating being in this field of work,” asserts Paolo. “You get to work with big-name directors and you learn different things. It’s really a liberating experience working with different cast and directors.

“When I learned through our Zoom meeting what the story of Sisid is all about, sobrang na-excite ako because matagal ko na rin gustong maka-trabaho si direk Dante (as the megman is fondly called). I watched a few videos about a marine biologist to prepare myself for the role.”

Paolo went all out and did full frontal in Lockdown. In Sisid, he is never less daring. He even engaged in lip-locking scenes with fellow male actor Vince Rillon, a second timer for direk Brillante. Also in the cast is Christine Bermas.

Paolo also had to learn how to dive for Sisid, something he truly enjoyed as he plays Jason, a marine biologist.

“When we got to the set, there were already professional divers para turuan kami,” he offers. “When they felt we were ready enough to go deeper, pumunta kami sa mas malalim. Then palalim ng palalim. Iba ang pakiramdam underwater, tapos aarte ka.”

Meanwhile, Kylie plays Abby, the loving wife of Jason. She will do everything to make her husband happy. “In terms of preparation, nakinig lang ako ng pumasok ako sa character ko. Mahal na mahal talaga ni Abby ang asawa niya and she’ll do anything for her husband. Maganda ang role ni Abby. Sobrang na-enjoy ko ang role.”

Sisid was entirely filmed in Pola, Oriental Mindoro. “We were in Mindoro the whole time and we shot all over Mindoro,” Kylie shares. “We were lucky enough and very grateful enough that we were able to showcase one of our beautiful islands, both land and sea.”

(Sisid streams on Vivamax starting Jan. 19.)



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