In show business, very few comics end up as stars. The large majority through history, no matter their gender, are relegated to supporting roles, generally as sidekicks to the movie’s protagonist.
Among male comedians, the late Comedy King Dolphy heads the very exclusive huddle of stars, among them Tito, Vic and Joey, Ogie Alacasid, Michael V. and Vice Ganda. Funny women considered as major stars on the other hand are even less, with Ai-Ai delas Alas and Pokwang getting top billing.
Happily, a new name can be added to the list of top comediennes in Philippine showbiz as 20-year-old Kiray Celis gets her second starring role in Regal Film’s upcoming horror-comedy I Love You To Death.
Proving her worth in hit Valentine movie Love is Blind with Derek Ramsay and Solenn Heussaff (also from Regal Films), Celis was quickly given a follow-up movie, this time with dream boy Enchong Dee as her leading man.
“For me, she is the day’s most beautiful actress,” Regal matriarch and showbiz pillar Mother Lily Monteverde said of her new box office star.
Asked by The Manila Times whether she consciously planned her career to land her major roles the 4-feet-nine-inches spitfire honestly replied: “Hindi ko po ito pinlano. Actually, nakakagulat nga po na pag shooting [in these last two films], ako yung huling nakaka-uwi from the set kasi ako yung bida!” she added laughing.“Dati kasi support lang ako lagi kaya konti lang ang scenes ko. Masarap pala ang feeling pag hindi mo in-expect.”
Celis’ first TV exposure was when she joined the ‘Munting Miss U’ contest of ABS-CBN’s former noontime show MTB at the age of 4. Blessed with a knack for comedy even as a little girl, she was quickly asked to join the program as the youngest cast member, and soon after became part of the long running children’s comedy gag show Goin’ Bulilit. [Wikipedia].
As she got better in the very difficult and challenging craft of making people laugh, she hopped from one supporting role to another until her big break came in Love is Blind.
“Besides being a natural in comedy, what makes Kiray a true star is her professionalism,” shared her co-star Dee. “Never siyang na-late, alam niya lagi ang gagawin niya sa eksena, and natutulungan pa niya ang mga co-stars niya.”
In I Love You To Death, Celis and Dee play Gwen and Tonton, childhood sweethearts who promise each other to be together “until death.”
Fate separates them as Gwen pursues her studies in Manila. Having forgotten Tonton as she starts a new life, time comes when all her friends get married and she is left as the only singleton in the group.
On her birthday, she wishes to meet a man who would “die for her,” and again comes Tonton but in very eerie circumstances.
Directed by Miko Livelo, I Love You To Death opens July 6 in cinemas nationwide.