In retrospect, the death of the King of Action Movies Fernando Poe, Jr. dramatically sealed the end of the so-called mainstream movie industry.
The changing of the guards saw ABS-CBN leading by a mile in showcasing on TV well-crafted, long-running soap operas now popularly called teleseryes that had the glossy and mass-based appeal of movies on a daily basis brought to our living room for free.
This came with productions of commercially viable movies bannered by the network’s homegrown actors with enormous talent and fan following giving way to the kiss of death to the careers of former iconic action heroes and sexy stars as well.
Only very few of them from said mainstream industry were able to jump to the greener side of the fence (under the wings of ABS-CBN’s platform for TV and films) with a modicum of success.
Worthy of note is former sexy star Sylvia Sanchez. Through much of her career as a newcomer in the disrobing department she managed to hold firm on her acting mettle and proved she had something to offer beyond her allure, whether acting for sexy potboilers or as the obligatory pretty face in action capers.
She’s considered to be fortunate to have risen from the ashes when poorly made sexy films were no longer in demand or totally banned from exhibition.
Looking back, she says she learned the nitty-gritty of acting through actual experience, adding that for her the set is one big arena in which to learn the nuances of human emotions. It is also a playing field upon which to imbue one’s personality with friendly disposition in relating humbly with everyone on the set from the big bosses to the coffee servers.
Not exactly sold to acting workshops, she thinks she has been doing the right thing intuitively and for some good measures all along. Proof of which are her almost a dozen acting awards, the most recent coming from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) Star Awards for TV for excellence in a Single Performance; and another one for Film for Best Supporting Actress in Director Chito Rono’s The Trial which she shared with Gretchen Barretto.
Recently, however, she has encouraged her son Arjo Atayde to enroll in an acting workshop despite having been recognized for his acting talent as well. So with daughter Ria Atayde, who is making a dent on her own.
Sylvia thinks that an acting workshop can equip actors with the necessary acting techniques to enhance one’s craft, but not necessarily the heart and soul of acting which ought to come from the profundity of one’s being, emphasizing that artistry can’t be developed overnight even with the guidance of an acting facilitator.
Preparing for and attacking a specific role comes with never-ending self-study, self-reflection, research or immersion to get the message across either on one’s own or with co-actors.
Is the actress unconsciously reminding herself about enhancing one’s métier this time?
On September 5, Sylvia Sanchez’s biggest break on TV billed The Greatest Love started airing. She disclosed the project has been giving her goose bumps and sleepless nights even if she had gone through all sorts of preparation for the role to measure up to her equally competent actors in the said teleserye.
One important preparation that she did was to get all inputs from the director and her co-actors through a series of story conferences, script analysis, getting at subtexts, etc.
In her role as a mother about to lose her memory forever, she had to look into available video materials both local and foreign that dealt with dementia with a caveat to herself not to mimic them, but as a way of getting all sorts of stimuli from the so-called “inside out” and “outside in” acting method in the tradition of Strasberg and Adler respectively.
To get into character, she has reviewed the particular attack of Gloria Romero as an elderly with dementia in Tanging Yaman and Julianne Moore’s Oscars award-winning role in Still Alice.
Like her favorite Hollywood actress Meryl Streep known to profusely immerse in preparation for a certain role, Sylvia Sanchez similarly did with all sorts of characters suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Looks like we are in for great acting in a teleserye that probes into the depths of a mother’s capacity to love, forgive and perhaps forget in the most tragic, though most cathartic way. Let’s see to that!