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Entertainment

Vilma Santos grateful for 60 years in showbiz, gearing for comeback

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Vilma Santos grateful for 60 years in showbiz, gearing for comeback
The Star for All Seasons is expected to take on different onscreen projects in 2023.

Vilma Santos, who just celebrated 60 years in the entertainment industry, is entering her comeback season.

The Star for All Seasons is expected to take on different onscreen projects in 2023, including a comedy drama and genre film that will feature Vilma as a “gun-toting mother.” Both are going to be produced under On The Job director Erik Matti and producer Dondon Monteverde’s production outfit Reality Entertainment.

What made Ate Vi say yes?

“Si direk Erik Matti, I’m his fan. Lalo na sa mga movies na ginawa niya. He showed me two concepts — one, he said, pwede natin gawing series. The other one is something different, may pagka-action but it’s not hard action. Hahawak ako ng baril parang ganun because gusto ko lang gumanti. But, again, not hard action because ayokong mabigat na mabigat na pelikula… I want something different and positive for my career,” the veteran actress and former public servant recently told The STAR in a virtual interview.

“(I’m looking for a project where) I can offer something sa mga tao na iba naman because if I’m going to offer the same thing, I’d rather not do it. Especially since I’m not getting any younger, yung edad ko naghahanap din ng tamang role, yung babagay sa akin. I don’t want to look ridiculous, playing a role that’s not appropriate for me. I don’t want that. I’m conscious of that. But when they offered this to me, it was very interesting to me… I have never done it before.”

Everything About Her was Vilma’s last film back in 2016.

According to direk Erik in a separate interview, they have always been on the lookout for a material that the actress would accept.

“Even with the (planned) Mother Lily (Monteverde) story, even before that, me and Dondon have never stopped finding projects for Vilma and wanting to find the right story for her. But then the pandemic happened, nothing came of it and then we stumbled upon a story that we feel is really perfect for Vilma. Two stories, actually,” he shared.

“So, suntok sa buwan, I texted Ate Vi, I know you’re into vlogging now but we miss you in the movies. I hope you come back because if you’re coming back, gusto ko sana gumawa tayo ng movie and we have a story that’s ready. And immediately, she texted back, yes, I’m excited to go back to the movies already, let’s go sit down and have a meeting,” he said of Vilma, who has successfully ventured into YouTube over the pandemic.

Vilma with Reality Entertainment’s Erik Matti (left) and Dondon Monteverde.

“It took us another month to find the right schedule for all of us. We went to Alabang and presented the two stories for her. Of course, I don’t know her mindset na, what could make Vilma Santos go back to making movies again? We all know she’s enjoying the vlogging, we could all see na masayang masaya siya, and how could we compete with that?

“When we presented the two projects — one is a super genre movie and the other one, maybe a movie or a series — she said it’s up to you, guys, if you want to option it as a series or a movie, but whichever way, I’m good with it. For both, she said yes. When I asked her what she wanted to do first, she said I want the gun-toting bleep bleep project.”

Vilma has been receiving multiple offers, but nothing is final yet with the rest. She confirmed that she also received one for an indie film. “Natutuwa ako na in spite of being away for so long, kahit papaano, may tiwala pa rin sa akin and for that, I’m very thankful. There’s another one who wants to meet with me and I’m looking forward but nothing is final.

“But sana! May maganda atang i-offer na good movie with me and Christopher de Leon again. Isn’t it interesting? So, I’m happy because even though it’s been a while since I made a movie, I’m receiving offers that make me feel, andito pa pala ako, na gusto pa nila akong kunin and meron pa pala silang kayang i-offer sa akin na iba naman, which I am very, very particular at this point in time maybe because of my situation and my age,” she said.

Meanwhile, Vilma just marked 60 years in the entertainment industry last month.

Looking back on her career that started when she was only a child, she said, “The mere fact that I lasted for 60 years in the business is a big highlight for me as an artist. It’s no joke to be able to last 60 years, especially because at this point in time, so many want to become an artista. At the end of the day, ang lagi din natin babantayan, dapat alagaan at trabahuin, yung tinatawag na longevity, tatagal ba at hanggang kelan?

“You can be superstar overnight but ang usapan ay longevity. And I thank God for all the blessings, I thank all my friends in showbiz, my Vilmanians… (Sixty years) is a blessing as it is.”

Vilma also mentioned some of the most unforgettable moments in her enduring and multi-awarded acting career.

“Definitely, the first movie I did, Trudis Liit, when I was nine years old. Imagine! Alam ko dun naglalaro lang ako pero maarte na ako nun. ‘Di ko alam paano ako nakakaiyak, how I was able to deliver a dialogue, I don’t know. It was very memorable for me,” Vilma recalled.

Other milestones for her included having portrayed two of the most iconic roles on screen — Darna and Dyesebel. Then, when she became a mom, she was cast in a string of empowered and strong female characters.

“I did so many films about women. And for that, I’m very, very proud because I was able to do relevant films, especially about women, such as Sister Stella L., Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?, Ipagpatawad Mo about autism, Dolzura Cortez, a true story about AIDs, those kinds of films. I was able to be given the chance to stand for the rights of women, which I guess ‘pag na-interview ako sa school or sa mga students, parang I think kahit papaano nagkaroon ng tatak yun. Yung pagiging feminist, at the same time, I became a public servant, mas lalong tumama. Napakita ko yung karapatan ng kababaihan through my films. After that, I became a public servant and during that time I did Anak, a film about OFWs. So, I’m very lucky to be able to do those kinds of films.”

The 69-year-old Vilma has successfully ventured into YouTube vlogging over the pandemic. Her channel currently has almost half a million subscribers.

Vilma also highlighted the fact that she was directed by Philippine cinema greats, from Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka to Laurice Guillen and Olivia Lamasan. “I’m very thankful that I experienced all that in my 60 years in the business.”

Now, she’s all set and gearing for her return to the movies. The STAR asked Vilma for her advice on career longevity and she honestly said, “Ang hirap sagutin niyan kasi ako ‘di ko rin alam eh. What I know is that bata pa ako ini-enjoy ko na talaga ang showbiz. Secondly, maybe I was given the chance to learn to act by being directed by great directors, many of whom had passed away. I was also blessed and lucky to be given the chance to do relevant films because not everyone gets the opportunity.

“And baka kasi mahal ko rin ang mga taong nagmamahal sa akin, if we talk about the Vilmanians or people supporting me, in everything that I do, priority sila sa iniisip ko. Magustuhan kaya nila eto? May matutunan kaya sila dito? I just want to make them happy. And if you’re earning something, maybe if you can share na may matutuwa, baka kahit papaano nakakatulong yun. You show care, love… Basta ang alam ko, love begets love…kaya rin siguro di nila ako iniiwan.”

VILMA SANTOS

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