A Zsa Zsa Padilla you’ve never seen in ‘Mano Po 6’

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By WALDEN SADIRI
November 21, 2009, 9:34am

In “Mano Po 6: My Mother’s Love,” where she joins a big cast of high calibre actors, awarded actress Zsa Zsa Padilla’s goal is simple – to make each of her scenes as memorable as possible!

A veteran of the “Mano Po” franchise from Regal Entertainment (she was in “Mano Po 2: My Home” and “Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife”), she said that her upcoming movie is different in a lot of ways especially when it comes to the actresses. She described the support roles of Ciara Sotto and Heart Evangelista also major dramatic feats in the film.

“Throughout the film I won’t always be seen so as an actress I have to find ways to make my scenes memorable in order for me to stick to the moviegoers’ mind,” she quipped.

With that in mind, prior to her first shooting day, she approached her director Joel Lamangan with her suggestions. She thought of putting a heavy Chinese accent in the way she would speak English as well as Tagalog. She was partly inspired by the parents of her Chinese friends who have such accent because they barely speak Tagalog or English.

But that’s just the speaking part. Phyiscally, Zsa Zsa like in her past “Mano Po” stints, is transformed into a chinky-eyed Filipina-Chinese woman through make-up. Emotionally, Zsa Zsa’s Olive, the sister-in-law of Melinda (played by Sharon Cuneta) would be her most antagonistic role to date!

“I hope moviegoers will hate me because then I would know I have done a good job…in the film, I will make Sharon’s life truly miserable…there will be physical and verbal abuse,” she described.

So what made her decide to accept another “Mano Po” project?

“I know that before this was offered to me, the script has undergone many revisions. Unfortunately when it was first offered to me I had to turn it down because I was supposed to be part of the “Dolphy at 80” tour in the States. But that didn’t push through. So the role was offered to me again and I told Joel Lamangan that I seldom do a bad person role. I asked that my character should make a mark in the film.

“So a lot of face slapping and confrontations were added,” Zsa Zsa said.

The challenge for her as an actress though wasn’t getting mad or letting lose her evil screen persona. It was how to stop it!

“When you’re in the zone, you have to make a conscious effort to stop when the scene is over. Otherwise you’d be hot-tempered all the time. I mean, before the shoot you’re psyching yourself to be shouting and cursing all the time and that’s hard to stop if you don’t know how to stop such situation,” she explained.

If Zsa Zsa seemed intense on breathing life to her Olive, the rationale is simple. When she was filming “Batang X” she was inspired by the late Nida Blanca’s acting. Becoming close to Nida because of her hubby Dolphy, she revealed that she was surprised that during their scene together, she saw not the person she knew but rather the character Nida was portraying then.

“I asked myself who was this person I was talking to. Where was Tita Nida? Oh my God, this is how an actress should be! I salute her and that’s what I want to happen to me as an actress that my personality disappears while people would only see my character in the film. I hope this will come across to people when they watch me in ‘Mano Po 6.” she related.

So far, for Zsa Zsa, she is positive that she is doing well in her character judging from her scene with Heart Evangelista who plays Stephanie the daughter of Sharon in the movie. She said that she remembered the “blank” expression of Heart on her face in one of their scenes.

“Heart is such a darling to work with. She is very quiet on the set. In our first scene together she was like dumbfounded. And I was pleased with her expression because it was an expression that was asking ‘Who am I talking to?’ Then I asked her if she saw me in character. And she said yes,” shared Zsa Zsa.

Bottom line for Zsa Zsa in “Mano Po 6” is that she has given her all for the movie. Even if she or Sharon were a bit hurt in their “realistic fight scenes,” she sees it as an honor to be working with a dear friend who is also considered as one of the country’s best dramatic actresses.

“I’m really happy to be part of the biggest ‘Mano Po’ project. You just couldn’t ask for more because the cast consists of great actors and actresses, and we have a multi-awarded director at its helm and a story from another awarded scriptwriter, Roy Iglesias,” exclaimed Zsa Zsa.

Also in the cast are Christopher de Leon, Dennis Trillo, Ryan Eigenmann, Boots Anson Roa, Kris Aquino, Nina Jose, Nicole Uysiuseng, JC de Vera, John Manalo and Ciara Sotto.

At the moment Zsa Zsa is busy preparing for her guesting in Sharon Cuneta’s shows at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on Nov. 27 and at the Agua Caliente Resort at the Palm Springs on Nov. 28. Her latest album entitled “Unchanging Love” has been receiving good airplay with its second single “Iibigin Kang Muli.”

“Mano Po 6: My Mother’s Love” is Regal Films’ official entry to the 2009 Metro Manila Film Festival.