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Ai Ai delas Alas hopes to break out of comic mold

STAR CIRCUIT - Ricky L. Calderon - The Freeman
Ai Ai delas Alas hopes to break out of comic mold
Ai Ai Delas Alas

Director Jose Javier Reyes is excited to be working with Comedy Queen Ai Ai delas Alas in Regal Entertainment’s Mother’s Day presentation titled “Our Mighty Yaya.” It’s been quite a while since he and Ai Ai made a film together, although the actress was a permanent fixture in his early movies like “Buhay Nang Buhay Ko” and “Gwapings,” to his TV shows like “13, 14, 15.”

For “Our Mighty Yaya,”  Direk Joey and Ai Ai aimed to make the character of Virgie, a mother who works as a nanny to a rich family, different from the character that the comedienne was so identified with – the mother role in “Ang Tanging Ina.”

“Ai Ai is readily identified with that mother role, so our goal here was to make her not a repetition of that big mother role which was such a blockbuster. That is the reason why we changed her look. We made her a yaya and made her behave like a probinsiyana,” related Direk Joey.

He said the “Sunday Pinasaya” star wants to diversify and attack characters differently.

“I think, at this point in her career, Ai  Ai wants to break out of the mold of just being a comedienne. She wants to be an actress,” the director said.

While he wrote the script of “Our Mighty Yaya” to pay tribute to his longtime kasambahay Teresa as well as to Sharon Cuneta’s Yaya Loring and Judy Ann Santos’ Yaya Binay, he gave Ai Ai the free hand to create her own perception of the role.

“I give the liberty to the actress to do what she wants. I don’t want her to be the personification of what I wrote on the script.  I think yun ang challenge niya bilang artista—to give life and character to the role. My challenge is to be able to blend this interpretation with the rest of the cast and the whole story,” said Direk Joey.

As he and Ai Ai have been friends for the longest time, what does the filmmaker think her strengths as an actress are?

“She is very generous and helpful. Ai Ai is very selfless. She is not the type of actress who, just because she is the lead, would want the best scenes for herself. It is not a joke appearing with those kids. But Ai Ai is patient with her co-stars,” Direk Joey revealed.

“Second, Ai Ai thinks not only of herself, but also of the entire film, and that is very, very, very rare among actors. She is not the type who’d be nosey as to how many lines she has or how long her exposure is. What makes her good as an actress is that she doesn’t get contented. She gives her all. She does not have a comfort zone. She wants to try out anything. I was so happy when she won a best actress award. Her best actress was not in a comedy film but in a drama as an aging prostitute. She is not just a comedian; she is an actress.”

***

The Yakushi Pearl Award for Best Performer that Iza Calzado won at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017 for the movie “Bliss” is very precious to her. It was a dream fulfilled. It was her first international acting award. And it felt great that Iza was around to accept it.

The two-time Golden Screen Awards recipient is likewise thankful that “Bliss” is finally hitting theaters on May 10 after it was given by the MTRCB an R-18 classification, no cuts.

The psychological thriller has sexual acts, nudity and strong adult themes and languages. There is a scene one where one cast member is playing with herself and another where Iza is being molested.

Viewers will surely be shocked with the seeming “frontal” nudity of Iza, but she hastens to add that they employed camera tricks. Direk Jerrold Tarog said that no body double was used for Iza.

Asked how her boyfriend Ben Wintle reacted to the scene, Direk Jerrold revealed: “Sabi ng boyfriend ni Iza, mas maganda yung nipples niya in real life.”

Iza was excited to do “Bliss” because it was something different from what she normally does. “The theme of the movie is not like those of my other films. I kinda wanna break din the Mama Mary mold, which I did, I think,” said the “A Love to Last” star.

“Bliss” also stars Ian Veneracion, TJ Trinidad, Adrienne Vergara, Michael de Mesa, Shamaine Buencamino, Audie Gemora and Stephanie Sol. It is produced by TBA (Tuko Film Productions, Buchi Boy Entertainment, and Artikulo Uno Production) and distributed by Quantum Films.

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