“Mula paa nila hanggang anit umaarte!”
Such is the admiration of comedienne Rufa Mae Quinto for her co-stars in her upcoming solo movie Ang Huling Henya, which will open in cinemas nationwide on August 21.
The sexy and funny feline, who shot to fame with her erstwhile movie character “Booba,” is excited to show the public a “levelled up” performance as she says in the Viva Film’s latest action-dramedy. She credits her director Marlon Rivera (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank) and her sterling roster of co-stars for pushing her acting abilities to the limit.
Asked by The Manila Times what she particularly learned from respected thespians Robert Sena and Ricci Chan, who each have pivotal roles in Henya, Rufa Mae enthused: “Kakaiba talaga sila! Ibang klase sila mag trabaho. Mula pag dating sa oras, hanggang sa pag-aaral nila ng karakter nila, lahat level up talaga.”
Apparently, the comedienne was being literal, as well as figurative when she said that every part of her theater-trained co-actors would be in the shot at every take.
“Si Ricci,” who first brought the house down many years ago as Angel in the local stage production of Rent, “pati buhok at anit umaarte! Pina-bleach pa niya talaga yan para siyang-siya yung kontrabida role niya,” shared Rufa Mae, who portrays a brainy kick-ass agent in the film.
“At hindi sila mag-papa-take hanggang hindi sila sigurado na tama ang lahat,” “Pag hindi nila feel na tama na lahat, ensayo pa ng ensayo. Lahat ng ginagawa nila may prinsipyo.”
For their parts, Ricci and Robert agree that they were just being the professional actors they have always been in filming Henya.
“Tulad sa theater, nahihiya din kami sa mga artista ng pelikula na dumating kami na hindi handa,” said Robert who is one of many Filipino Miss Saigon alumni from London’s West End.
Ricci, on the other hand, acknowledged that Direk Marlon filmed the movie using a theater process.
“Para kaming gumawa ng isang play dahil bago kami nag-shoot dumaan muna kami sa dalawang script readings for the whole movie, which is how it’s done in theater,” he revealed.
As it turns out, Rufa Mae did not only learn from the work ethics of her thespian co-stars but was further exposed to theater training through a drama workshop with PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association). After all, she claims Henya to be her “first serious” role for film and television, so she went through hell and high water just to give a credible portrayal of a rescue agent.
“Hindi lang acting workshops and pinagdaanan ko ha,” she noted. “Sobra din ang physical training ko—boxing, Muay Thai, pati firing.”
Thus on the film’s judgment day, the public will come face to face with an entirely different Rufa Mae as the hot-headed Miri. Refusing to follow orders, she gets her long-time partner killed during an operation and is sent back to Manila suspended from the service.
Her return to the city, however, brings her more trouble, but of the personal kind. She is haunted by her guilt, believing she was responsible for her scientist parents’ death, and as her past comes crashing down on her, she needs to fight the biggest mission of her life.
Besides Ricci and Robert, Rufa Mae also gets stellar support from Candy Pangilinan, Ayen Laurel, DJ Durano, Fabio Ide, Kean Cipriano, Edgar Allan Guzman, Kalila Aguilos, Valerie Weigmann Jovic Monsod and Abby Bautista, among others.
Collaborating with Direk Marlon is director Chris Martinez with whom he previously worked with in such movies as Shake, Rattle and Roll 13, My Valentine Girls, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, and Kimmy Dora.