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Entertainment

Janella Salvador refuses to be typecast into horror flicks

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
Janella Salvador refuses to be typecast into horror flicks
Janella with Piolo Pascual, who essays the titular character in the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival entry.
Photo from Janella and Mentorque Productions’ social media

MANILA, Philippines — Loving one person can be a curse, as what was depicted in the story of director Derick Cabrido’s horror-thriller, Mallari, with Piolo Pascual essaying the title role. The horror thriller is one of the 10 official entries in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

“It can be a curse because you will do everything to see your loved one become okay,” admitted Janella Salvador, who is in the stellar cast of the film. “But to me, personally, loving someone will never become a curse.”

Janella will actively promote Mallari throughout the month of December with the entire cast. She is not going out of the country, but will spend Christmas in Manila. “This is my second MMFF project,” she said.

Doing a horror film like Mallari is not totally new to Janella, who made her acting debut in Jun Lana’s horror thriller, “Haunted Mansion” (2015).

Although she was elated to be included in the historic cast of Mallari, Janella was admittedly scared to do the film when it was first offered to her.

Doing a horror film like Mallari is not totally new to Janella Salvador, who made her acting debut in Jun Lana’s horror thriller, Haunted Mansion (2015). Although she was elated to be included in the historic cast, Janella was admittedly scared to do the film when it was first offered to her.

“I actually had second thoughts if I was really going to do it,” she said. “I knew it was going to be big. But after I read the script, I became convinced all the more to do it. It was a really good script.”

However, the project initially caused Janella to worry since she refused to be typecast into horror films.

“I told myself I wanted to take a break first from doing horror films,” Janella admitted. “After Haunted Mansion, I did Bloody Crayons which was also a slasher film. Killer Bride was a TV series (in 2019). I wanted to rest from doing horror.

“But as soon as I read Mallari’s script, I told myself, ‘This is something that I couldn’t just pass up.’ It was so well-written and very detailed. Even up to the smallest characters, everything was well-written.”

After she accepted the project, Janella slightly realized she will not just work with Piolo in Mallari. She will play his partner.

“I felt nervous, but I know I couldn’t let Mallari pass,” she said. “It was a challenge to work with Piolo. He has accomplished so much. He never made me feel that he’s Piolo. He was very generous on the set.

“I could constantly see him really working hard for his role. All of us in this movie, we were trained to portray our roles equally. I know I couldn’t let this project pass.”

Others in the cast of Mallari are Gloria Diaz, JC Santos and Elisse Joson.

The film also recently held a fan-con, a first for Janella. “We’re going to perform for the fans and we will be holding a Q&A part. I don’t usually do that. I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to talk to our supporters and audiences,” she said.

“I’m excited because I haven’t done these things for a long time. Ever since the pandemic started and I had my baby, I have not done a lot of things. It just shows that this production is really big and they are doing everything they can. I’m just grateful to be part of that. I think it’s great.”

After she gave birth to her baby Jude in October 2020 in Bath, Somerset, England, Janella took a break from acting and performing.

Last year, she slowly started to return in front of the cameras when she played Valentina in Darna, with Jane de Leon in the title role.

Janella keeps the faith that her solo concert supposed to be presented this 2023 will push through next year.

“I hope that my album project will also push through in 2024,” she said. “I really want to focus on music and performing. I pray that the films pushed back this year, will finally see the light. I want to do more films and continue to explore the world of cinema.”

Research for Mallari even reached Madrid, Spain where screenwriter Enrico Santos tried to look for facts about the only documented serial killer in the Philippines in the 1800s. Completing the script took four years of research.

When Piolo’s name came out on top of the white board, the screenwriter, producer (John Bryan Diamante) and the director were all in agreement for their choice. The project itself took a little less than a year. The budget cost a whopping P40 million and principal photography was a total of 22 days to shoot the material.

In late November, Mentorque Productions signed a landmark partnership deal with Warner Bros. for the nationwide distribution of Mallari, the first mainstream film to be distributed by Warner in the Philippines.

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ACTOR

ACTRESS

JANELLA SALVADOR

PIOLO PASCUAL

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