“I literally jumped for joy.”
That was GMA 7 actress Lovi Poe’s initial reaction when she learned that she would be directed by Laurice Guillen in her latest soap opera, “Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas.”
“It’s a dream come true,” she told the Inquirer.
It’s her second collaboration with Guillen. “We first worked together on an episode of ‘Magpakailanman,’” Poe recalled.
She holds the director in high regard. An actress herself, Guillen was able to push Poe to the limit.
Poe recalled: “Direk Laurice motivated me by talking to me … we went through my personal experiences as we shot certain scenes.”
Coincidentally, Poe made waves in the recent Cinemalaya fest, of which Guillen was competition director.
Poe said she was proud that her Cinemalaya entry, Jerrold Tarog’s “Sana Dati,” had swept the awards in the Directors’ Showcase section.
“We worked hard on that movie,” she said. “Direk Jerrold gave his whole heart to the project.”
She was drawn to the film because it was not the usual love story. Or, in her words, “It had an unpredictable script.”
“Sana Dati” will be screened at the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival, set from Oct. 10 to 20.
Poe has two films in the Hawaii fest, in fact. Apart from “Sana Dati,” Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Thy Womb,” where Poe plays the woman who came between Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco’s characters, is included in the section dubbed “Spotlight on the Philippines.”
“I just got the invitation via e-mail,” she said. “It will be my first time there. I told my manager (Leo Dominguez) that I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m sure it’ll be fun.”
Actually, the Hawaii trip will largely depend on her very hectic schedule.
Apart from the prime-time soap opera “Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas,” she top-bills the GMA News TV drama “Titser.”
She portrays completely different women in the two projects.
On “Titser,” she takes on the role of Michelle, a high school valedictorian forced to work as a domestic helper before becoming a schoolteacher. Another Cinemalaya director, Alvin Yapan, directs her on “Titser.”
Said Yapan of Poe: “She has a very tight schedule, but is always game on the set. She has a deep wellspring of emotions she can draw from.”
Poe similarly praised Yapan: “Working with Alvin is a delight. He’s creative and collaborative. He doesn’t intimidate his actors; he treats us as partners, making the work a satisfying creative endeavor.”
In “Akin,” she is cast as Lovelia, an illegitimate child who strives hard to prove her worth in the eyes of her family.
She recounted: “I try to find something I can relate to with each new character I play. At first, Lovelia was insecure. But she slowly gains self-confidence.”
Not a few observers will surely notice that she shares Lovelia’s journey. Is the soap mining her private tribulations?
“It’s hard to talk about personal stuff. It’s just a role. If I find something in my character that I can relate with, then I will use it,” she said.
For “Titser,” she has to tap into her past. “It’s very technical. I have to recall what my old teachers were like.”
Apparently, her home studio is giving her challenging projects, while allowing her to explore her craft in indie films. She was also recently seen in the Sineng Pambansa film, Joel Lamangan’s “Lihis.”
“I try to do different and unforgettable roles. I don’t want to disappoint my coactors and directors,” she said.
Was she glad that she stayed put and didn’t move to another station, as rumored a few months back?
“I signed a three-year contract with GMA 7. There was never talk of [moving]. I’m happy.”
In spite of the confounding title bestowed on her by her studio (“Primera Aktresa”), she insisted that she had a long way to go.
“I consider myself an amateur,” she explained. “The best workshop is the work itself. Every day, I learn something new.”
This year, Poe women are riding high. Older half-sister Grace topped the midterm senatorial elections. “I’m really proud of Ate Grace,” Lovi said. “God is good. Our dad (Fernando Poe Jr.) must be smiling in heaven.”
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