SEP 16, 2015 | by Nicole Blanco Ramos, Art by Alexandra Lara
Photography: Shaira Luna. Creative Direction: Suki Salvador of At East | Jed Root. Art Direction: Kit Singson & Alexandra Lara. Styling: Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena & Nicole Blanco Ramos. Sitting Editors: Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena & Sarah Santiago. Makeup: Lala Flores. Hairstyling: Mark Baquiran (Piolo) & Mark Familara (Rhian). Shot on location: Casa Real
Piolo Pascual & Rhian Ramos are breaking the mold and challenging the status quo, shining in the hit indie film, Silong.
There are stars and there are artists. Darlene Malimas, producer of the Independent film Silong
, digs into the entertainment Industry nitty gritty, “some actors are very good at their craft but struggle to get to point of celebrity.”
“Stardom, you see, is its own thing,” she adds, with a glisten in her eyes.
It’s the classic X-factor discussion. The term, while heavily worn out by the media as they package and market the hottest celebrities, is easy to comprehend but hard to describe. But by its essential definition, it simply is that goosebumps-inducing something a person either has or doesn’t have.
How much of this X-factor, then, contribute to playing complex characters that
demand a strong range? “If you
don’t have range as an actor to convey the complexity of a character, the role immediately falls flat. The tendency there, too, is to overact and be overly dramatic to compensate for skill,” Darlene explains. “Characters need to be relatable. We’re gunning for realism and grit. If it has to be dark, then so be it. But never OA
Darlene goes on to say: “As a producer, I do not want to reinvent stars. I want to give them a platform for them to reinvent themselves.” The mystery-slash-thriller-slash- romance film Silong
did just that for seasoned actors Piolo Pascual and Rhian Ramos.
It is a beautiful thing to
witness mainstream actors step
into the world of independent
film, showing audiences what is real, raw and complicated—and Philippine cinema may never see another pairing as beautiful for a while.
Rhian Ramos is a looker—statuesque at 5’6” and slender with the kind of appeal you only
see depicted in movies, she fits the bill for the gorgeous girl-next-door every guy wants to be with (cue: any possible saccharine Ed Sheeran love ballad) and every girl wants to be like. Though a luminescent and delicate beauty, what fills her days may surprise most. When she isn’t at a taping of one of her shows, covering her events or hitting the gym (to keep her body strong, mind you),
An avid car racer, Rhian peels off every preset glamorous layer to her, pulls her hair back, slips into racing gear and lowers her helmet visor as she continues to participate in racing series such as last year’s Toyota Vios Cup
. When people are asked about Rhian, the common denominator is that with her, “walang arte
.” She’s playful and rugged enough for close male friends and colleagues to know she’s a lady, but can be one of the boys; she’s undemanding and cool. Getting settled into her seat before her interview at a buffalo wings joint she chirps, “Hey, do you want a beer?”
Gentlemen, is she your dream girl yet?
What went through your mind when you read the script for Silong for the first time?
Right off the bat, my management told me: “We’ve read it. It’s great. We hope you like it.” It was pitched as an indie film so I thought, “Okay. I don’t want it to be inside formula, because there is
a formula that sells, which is why some film endings are so predictable.” I read the script in one sitting, was in the middle of it— and I do this with pretty much every script that I read—and then I stop and go, ‘how is it going to end?’ I make a prediction, read the rest of the script and if I’m wrong, I like it. The ending was something I did not see coming. Right then and there, I said game. Let’s do this.
What were some of the highlights of filming?
Oh. [Pauses, then laughs] Okay, I’ll just say it. Whatever. It’s MEGAstyle.ph, I’m sure your readers can handle this information. [Laughs]
I had never done a love scene before and I was freaking out about the love scene in Silong
, quite honestly. If it’s necessary, then game. But if I feel it isn’t relevant to the story and it’s only there for marketing purposes, then I’ll pass. This time, it was necessary. We had to show the connection of the two characters eh
How did you prepare for your first love scene then?
I was freaking out about my body! I don’t bare often, to begin with. But now, I’m a little bit more confident with myself. I told Darlene and the other producers: “You have to tell me which day we’re shooting this love scene for two reasons: One, so I know when to work out a bit more, be stricter with what I eat, drop the sugar, cut out carbs. Two, so I know when to request for a bottle of wine to have sent to my tent.” [Laughs]
(Darlene adds: Two bottles of wine later and after a very, very, very red Rhian Ramos, our actors just went for it. Everyone was pleased with the result because
it was precisely what the story needed. Although [laughs] we had to color correct Rhian’s skin because she was glowing red from all that wine.)
How did your famIly react to this first in your career, your first love scene?
Come the time of the premiere at Cinemalaya
, I was just so happy I was nowhere near my family. [Laughs] My father came to the premiere; he flew in and extended his stay. And nobody covered their eyes [during the movie], surprisingly. What was funny was after the movie, my family was breaking down each scene. They really saw a completely different side of me—and this is coming from my family na ah
. They were actually decoding my scenes. This had never happened. [Laughs]
How do you think your fans will receive this film?
With everything, I’m just all the more excited for everyone else to see it. And I’m so proud [of it]. To be able to give my fans something new is something I’m excited about. The great thing about fans is they’ll be on your side no matter what, but it’s no reason to give them something that they’re used to. Your fans will know you better than any other viewer out there. So to give them something new is the best feeling ever. And if I can surprise them, that would make me so happy.
Tackling fashIon now, how would you define your personal style?
Comfortable. I have to be 100% comfortable; I don’t want to have to tug on my clothing all the time.
Do you consider yourself adventurous?
I do. I pick my trends as they come along, because
I know that not every trend is for everyone. I’m okay with wearing trends much later compared to when they come out. I experiment with trends when I feel like I can carry them. It’s more important to focus on confidence—being able to wear something and carry it with so much confidence that it looks like this season’s hottest item.
Are there any brands you’re particularly fond of?
Being in the business of media and marketing, I know what they want to push. I like finding indie things; I start to like things more when I find out that they’re Filipino-made—may it be clothing made
by a fresh graduate or an industry veteran.
Is there a style philosophy you greatly believe in?
Clothing is an expression of yourself so you have to make sure what you’re wearing makes you feel good and that’s different for every girl. I believe that what you’re wearing says a lot about what results you’re trying to achieve that day. Lastly, there must be balance. If we’re highlighting a certain feature, we can afford to hide the rest.
As his co-star Rhian herself says, “Ask any girl who the most attractive and handsome man in the country is and the answer will be Piolo. There is no one else that immediately comes to mind, to be quite honest.” This is the kind of attention the 38-year-old heartthrob must be used to, but he remains unfazed.
As the combined efforts of the MEGA and MEGAstyle.ph team made sure the next scene (since we’re talking in film language here) was up to standard, we snuck a little downtime with Piolo. Focused, quiet and with that unmistakable soul- piercing gaze, he was one revelation after another.
What was the experience like working with Rhian for the first time?
Rhian is a trooper. She’s one of the easiest I’ve ever worked with—no qualms, no pretensions. It was so easy. Everything went smoothly and it turned out to be a really fun shoot, actually.
How do you prepare for partnerships like this in film? How do you make sure the chemistry is right?
We do workshops, be it for film or television. We go through the getting to know stages. With her, I met her one time, did script reading and that was it. It was easy to work with her so the process wasn’t hard at all.
What were some of the highlights of filming?
There were a lot of highlights. It’s the edgiest role I’ve done so far. You could go borderline crazy because we were given so much freedom. We had so much fun because we didn’t have to stick to our images and to our branding, so we were able to play around and really explore more.
What was it like breaking free from
At the end of the day, once in
a while, you just have to step out of the box—it isn’t necessarily being rebellious. You have to do rom-coms, you have to do dramas, you have to do teleseryes
. That’s your bread and butter. Once in a while, to get the feeling of not being boxed in, gives you that sense of freedom. It shocks your audience and better intrigues them.
Were there any challenges you encountered filming Silong?
Going deeper into the character—you have to feel what the character feels. It got hard because you get to think crazy things, how far you can go, how far your mind goes. It got dangerous, but at the end
of the day you just have to shake it all off before you go home. That’s what art is all about: you don’t bring it home.
Are there any takeaways from working with Rhian Ramos?
like about Rhian is that she’s very carefree but she knows herself and she knows her identity. As much as she is very independent, she is also very reserved. It’s ironic, but she’s one person that I consider very mysterious but very open.
How would you define your sense of style?
I’m able to experiment once in a while, but overall, my style is safe. I don’t like graphics so much and I don’t like prints; textures are okay. I go for plain colors: black, white gray, earth tones.
What goes through your head when you put your looks together?
I know what I want. I know what looks good on me. I feel I have to present myself the way I want to be perceived by people; not the way a stylist wants people to see me.
What was the last garment you bought and consider an investment buy?
Alexander Wang shirts in black and white. [Chuckles] Whenever I go abroad, I allow myself to splurge on one item and that’s a jacket. I love buying jackets. My favorite right now is from All Saints. May be expensive, but it’ll last you. It’s an investment.
The reason these formulas exist is that cinemas will assume what the audience likes and movies like Silong prove that there’s more that the audience could like. “We came into this thinking, ‘Hey, we know what you like, but what if you like it like this too?’ We’re here to give you a wider menu,” says Rhian.
“I want audiences to think, ‘I didn’t know that Piolo could do this; I didn’t know that Rhian could do that. I didn’t know we could release movies like this. I want the entertainment crowd to think, ‘Hey, I didn’t think that this was something our audience could appreciate. Let’s try more new things now.’”
“The point was to make a good movie, period, whether or not we be labeled. I come from the
indie scene but I tell people I have guilty pleasures, too, from the mainstream scene,” Darlene shares. “Because at the end of the day, I think a good story is a good story. The demarcation is not between independent and mainstream; it’s between a good film and a bad film. And I just want to make good films—whether it’s art-house or it’s unapologetically mainstream—it just has to be good.”
And trust us, it was beyond good.
Download the MEGAstyle.ph September 2015 Volume II online magazine featuring Piolo Pascual and Rhian Ramos FOR FREE on Magzter, via the official MEGAstyle.ph app (available on Google Play) or the Magzter app (available on AppStore and Google Play)