THEIR countless fierce catfights are always much awaited by the loyal viewers of “Sa Piling ni Nanay”. Everytime we ask them if they don’t really get mad at each other, Yasmien Kurdi and Katrina Halili would say: “Kahit nagkakasakitan kami, hindi maiiwasan 'yun kasi part of the job 'yun at para sa ikagaganda ng eksena.”
But now, it finally happened. They got into each other’s nerves after accidentally hurting each other in yet another catfight. “We really try to avoid harming one another pero kung minsan, hindi maiiwasan na nagkakasakitan kami,” says Yasmien who plays Ysabel. “E, natadyakan niya ako sa tiyan, nabanggit ko sa staff, na inasar-asar kami, kaya ayun, nagkapikunan at binato niya ako ako ng mirror. Buti hindi ako tinamaan.”
“Tumama kasi talaga ang sampal niya sa akin sa mukha ko kaya by impulse, nasipa ko siya,” says Katrina the villain Scarlet. “Tapos nagsumbong siya sa EP (executive producer) namin na ayaw raw akong magpatalo at inaasar kami. Tapos, ang kulit pa ni Yas at sobrang naiiyak na ako sa inis, so naitapon ko 'yung mirror. Hindi ko naman ibinato. But it ended up na okay kami, friends pa rin.”
“Yes, nagkabati rin naman kami agad,” says Yasmien. “Nag-hug pa nga kami. Nag-sorry siya at nag-sorry rin ako. So friends pa rin kami.”
Someone quips it’s just their gimmick so their show would rate. “Ay, hindi po," says Yas. "Di na namin kailangang gawin 'yan kasi, as it is, mataas talaga lagi ang ratings namin, kaya nga na-extend nang na-extend ang airing namin. Basta sa ngayon, we just really try our best to be more careful so we don’t end up hurting each other. Pangit naman 'yung mag-away kami nang totohanan dahil lang sa eksena. E, hanggang next year pa ang takbo ng ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’, so marami-rami pa ang mga bayolenteng enkwentro ang tiyak na magaganap sa amin.”
At this point, their show has become like a prison series since most of the happenings is now set in jail where both Yasmien and Katrina are imprisoned. Katrina continues to oppress Yasmien even if they’re both in prison, but Yasmien fights back so their catfights also erupt every now and then. Yasmien has lost hope that she will get freed because the main suspect in the killing of Loray was shot to death by cops and can no longer reveal the truth. Katrina plants drugs in the clothes of Yasmien but the other prisoners protect Yasmien so her evil plan didn’t prosper. Meantime, Mark Herras as Jonas is suffering from a terminal illness and he becomes more friendly with Gabby Eigenmann as Benedict. Another murder suspect is arrested and Yasmien is finally released from jail and reunited with daughter Jillian Ward as Katherine who defends her from bullies in her school.
ERIK MATTI: 'PANOORIN MUNA BAGO HUSGAHAN'
ERIK Matti won as best director in last year’s Metro filmfest for “Honor Thy Father”. But he complained about his film being disqualified as best picture and this led to an investigation that revamped the way entries are screened. Is he happy now?
“Natuwa ako," he says. "Kasi before, script lang ang sina-submit and now, the finished film na at malaking bagay 'yun. Sa eight films na napili ngayon, you may or may not agree sa choices na walang mainstream movies pero sana, hindi sabihin agad na hindi kikita 'yan, puro indie. Everyone’s now saying it’s gonna fail. Sana naman, bago husgahan, bigyan muna ng chance to show this to our audience, panoorin muna. A different selection was made and siyempre, sa umpisa, maninibago sila, but I hope people will respect it and really give it a chance.”
His entry now, “Seklusyon”, is the only horror entry in the Metro Manila Filmfest, so it has a good chance of hitting it big at the box office since horror flicks are almost always blockbusters in the filmfest. “Seklusyon” is set in 1947 when candidates for priesthood, called deacons, are separated from society and put in a secluded place to make sure they will not be seduced by the devil to turn their back on their vocation and avoid their ordination as full fledged priests.
“We got the story idea from an editor whose brother na magiging pari na was told not to go out anymore before his ordination, para ’di siya ma-tempt ng devil. Two years namin itong dinevelop. I’ve done a horror film before, ‘Pasiyam’, and the ‘Aswang Chronicles’ horror-action, ‘Tiktik’ and ‘Kubot’, but for this one, I got a group of new actors na some of them, walang acting experience, so winorkshop ko muna, and set the story right after World War II na wala pang technology like we have now. This is the backdrop para the deacons are really confined in a very secluded place. We filmed it in an abandoned house na no water, no electricity in Campo Bello in Pililla, Rizal. It’s important that the house becomes a character in itself.”
An ensemble film, "Seklusyon" stars Rhed Bustamante as a child faith healer who turns out to be the devil’s disciple. Neil Ryan See is the priest investigating the case of Rhed. Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque, Johnvic de Guzman and JR Versales are the four young deacons who experience paranormal activities while in seclusion. Also in the cast are Lou Veloso as a former priest who’s the caretaker of the old house, Phoebe Walker as the nun who acts as the guardian of the faith healer, Elora Espano as Ronnie’s ex-girflriend, Sherry Lara as the mother superior, plus Jerry O’Hara and Teroy Guzman.
“I’m very pleased with everyone’s acting,” adds Direk Erik. “The leads here are Rhed, Neil Ryan and Ronnie. Rhed is really, really great, very instinctive at matitimpla mo ang acting, unlike other child actors. She should be nominated as best actress, not just as a child actress, kasi lead ang role niya.”
Direk Erik is really very busy these days as he is also doing an action film, “Buy Bust” with Brandon Vera and Anne Curtis, and the pioneering “On the Job, The Series” for HOOQ with a star-studded cast.
PAOLO WANTS TO BE 'BEST ACTRESS'
PAOLO Ballesteros has no illusion that just because he won best actor at the Tokyo International Filmfest, he’d also win the same award at the Metro Manila Filmfest where his movie, “Die Beautiful”, is also an entry.
“Pwede ba best actress naman o kaya, best in long gown na star of the night?" he quips laughing. "Honestly, wala akong expectations. Nung gawin namin ang movie, ni wala akong inisip na mananalo ako ng award anywhere para rito. I just did my best in my role as Trisha, a transgender na hindi matanggap ng father niyang si Joel Torre at na-gang bang ng maraming lalake.”
More than winning awards, he prefers to achieve commercial success at the tills. “Ang mas gusto ko talaga, panoorin sana ng maraming mga tao ang movie at maging big box office hit para makabawi naman sina Direk Jun at Perci Intalan sa ginastos nila in producing this film. Kung mananalo man kami uli ng award, bonus na lang 'yun.”
He did four films this year, including “Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin” with Cristine Reyes, “Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo, May Boyfriend” with Anne Curtis, and he did a guest role in “Enteng Kabisote 10”. “Pero siyempre, sa lahat, pinaka-memorable itong ‘Die Beautiful’. I am so glad that Direk Jun Lana, who’s a very intelligent director, chose me to play the lead role in this movie. Actor’s director talaga siya dahil nanalo rin ng international acting awards sina Eugene Domingo, Eddie Garcia and LJ Reyes for the movies they made with him. He gives freedom to his actors para paglaruan ang role nila, but he helps us build up our roles. Masyado siyang metikuloso, pati sa ayos ng buhok mo, sa ilaw, sa anggulo, lahat binubusisi, but it all paid off.”
Also starring in “Die Beautiful” are Iza Calzado, Luis Alandy, Gladys Reyes, Christian Bables, Albie Casino, IC Mendoza and Inah de Belen as Paolo’s adopted daughter.