She goes on Google, speaks French and most of all, she can box the socks off zombies. She is Rufa Mae Quinto, a.k.a. Ang Huling Henya.
Yes, the sexy comedienne has said goodbye to her longtime “Booba” onscreen persona—the lovable lightweight siren—with a movie comeback as a brainy, kick-ass agent in Viva Film’s upcoming action-dramedy, Ang Huling Henya.
“Pang 20th anniversary ko na po sa showbiz ngayong taong ito, and three years ko na pong pinlano at pinag-isipan itong project na ito,” the Bubble Gang stalwart related to the entertainment press. “Ayoko kasi gumawa ng solo movie na basta-basta lang at this point sa career ko. Sabi ko sa sarili ko gusto ko pag nag-solo ulit ako na movie, strong woman naman ang character ko.
“Booba worked back then because inosente pa talaga ako noon,” she laughed at her ditzy alter ego. “Malaki ang utang na loob ko kay Booba dahil kung wala yon, wala ako dito ngayon, pero nagkataon naman na pumayag ang Viva na i-produce itong naisip ko na parang Angelina Jolie sa action, at lumalaban sa zombies na nagkataon din na uso naman ngayon.”
No less than Director Marlon Rivera (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank) helmed the film and turned Rufa Mae around into an effective dramatic actress.
“Siyempre hindi pa rin mawawalan ng comedy dahil nasa loob na ni Peachy [Rufa Mae’s real nickname] ang pagiging komedyante,” explained Rivera. “Pero don’t underestimate her as an actress dahil dito umiiyak talaga siya, mahaba ang dialogue niya, at talagang siya ang gumagawa ng fight scenes niya. Hindi pa nakikita ng publiko itong Rufa Mae na ito.”
Ang Huling Henya is Rufa Mae’s first serious lead role since appearing in countless box-office comedies including Kimmy Dora—Kambal Sa Kieyeme, Desperadas 2, and Masakit sa Dibdib: The Boobita Rose Story, among many others.
It took her a whole year to prepare for her role as Miri Alvarez, a top agent of an international group that protects scientists and inventors, with drama workshops under Melvin Lee, as well as rigorous physical training in boxing, Muay Thai, and gun firing.
Rufa Mae’s supporting cast of Fabio Ide, Kean Cipriano, Candy Pangilinan, Ayen Laurel, DJ Durano, Ricci Chan, Edgar Alan Guzman, Jovic Munsod and Robert Sena—whom she has all worked with at one time or another—also took their hats off to the comedienne for her sheer passion in bringing Ang Huling Henya to life.
“Talagang binigay niya lahat sa pelikula, makikita niyo iyon,” attested Candy. “Dati-dati pag nagbasa yan ng script, mismo bago ng shoot. Ngayon, nag-thro-throw pa kami ng lines!”
While Rufa believes that changing her onscreen image may be a gamble, she believes that now is the perfect time to do so.
“Sabi nga nila kailangan ng reinvention, at pagkatapos ng dalawang dekada sa idustriya, todo na talaga ‘to!” she ended with one of her trademark lines.
Ang Huling Henya is produced by Viva Films and opens in theaters on August 21.