After almost two decades since her last movie with Viva Films, Megastar Sharon Cuneta makes a homecoming via the studio’s latest collaboration with VinCentiments — with yet another controversial movie title: ‘Revirginized’ and yet another controversial theme: MILF (Mother I Like to F*ck).
It held its story conference yesterday, February 28, at their shooting location in Subic, Zambales. The Megastar was welcomed by the production team with a surprise song number from a choir, which almost brought the actress to tears. Presented alongside her to a small group of press people were her co-star Rosanna Roces and writer-director Darryl Yap (‘Jowable’; ‘Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar’; ‘Tililing’).
On setting a deadline and doing more projects
CinemaBravo asked Sharon if she has ever set a deadline for herself in showbiz, granted that she has already come a long way and has nothing to prove anymore. Does she still see herself working years after years or decades after decades from now?
“I really take my cues from God. I wanted to retire when I was 30 but then [the movie] ‘Madrasta’ came along, so domino effect,” answered Sharon.
His director Darryl Yap immediately quipped: “Saka kare-revirginize lang! Matagal pa ‘to!”
“Kailangan ko daanan muna ulit yung sandamakmak na ano…” continued Sharon. “But, also, you know, like Merryl Streep, she doesn’t do a movie every year, or Helen Mirren or Nicole Kidman, but, my God, the moment na may project sila, you look forward to it. Sana that’s the effect na pareho rin sa Pilipinas. Sana pag tayo, ‘no?”
Her co-star Osang interrupted, “Anita Linda, nakikita kitang gano’n.”
The late Anita Linda is best known for being the oldest active actresses when she was still alive. Her filmography spanned eight decades before she died last year at the age of 95.
“Basta maganda ang role…” the Megastar assured about taking new projects. “Parang hindi mo alam ang plano ng Diyos kung hindi ka makikinig. At dapat kung ano ang plano Niya, yun ang sundin mo. So, parang if this is your mission in life, there’s a reason for it. I’m prayerful, I’m mindful, I’m always open to… signs: ‘Okay, Lord,’ ‘Okay po,’ ‘Sige po, Lord, tuloy pa, ayaw Niyo pa ‘kong tumigil.’ But I see myself doing one movie in three years, one movie in five years, depending on what projects come until I’m old—”
“Hindi totoo yan! Marami munang projects!” Direk Darryl told her.
“Ngayon! Pero when the time comes, siguro kahit parang si Helen Mirren, di ba? O, my God! Saka si… Maggie Smith.”
On working with a new breed of directors
For Osang, CinemaBravo asked about what sets Darryl Yap apart from the directors she has already worked with. Osang’s most recent movie is ‘Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar,’ penned and helmed by Direk Darryl as well. It also starred Alma Moreno, Maui Taylor, and Ara Mina.
“Unang-una, kung ano yung creativity ng ibang direktor na nakatrabaho ko, whether prolific filmmaker na gaya ni Adolf [Alix Jr.], gano’n din siya kalalim,” Osang weighed in. “Although iba yung atake niya, iba yung sense of humor niya, iba din yung klase ng paggawa niya ng pelikula. At sabi ko nga, kami, bilang artista, sa totoo, na-shock din ako pagbasa ko ng script.”
Sharon burst into laughter. Direk Darryl barged in: “Hanggang ngayon, ha? Na-shock pa siya!”
“Pero naisip ko, pandemic,” Osang continued to muse. “Ang daming walang trabaho, tapos io-offer sa ‘kin ‘to, tatanggihan ko, e kayang-kaya—Lalaruin ko lang to e, sa totoo lang! Sabi nga ni Shawie, ang swerte ko raw kasi kumita ako nang hindi ako umaarte.”
Sharon couldn’t help but gush over Osang. “Saka, super natural. Nakakatuwa, Diyos ko, si Osang!”
“Kasi, wala namang hangganan ang pagiging artista namin. Walang sukatan, walang ruler [kung] sino’ng gusto kong makatrabaho [o kung] sino’ng ayoko.”
“Ako, pag ayoko, ayoko,” Sharon punctuated with a wave of her hand.
“Hanggat maaari, yung mga new breed na direktor, mas gusto namin makatrabaho, lalo na kung ganyan kababait, kagaya kay Direk [Darryl].”
“Natututo kami, di ba?” Sharon added, on which Osang agreed.
“Walang hanggang pag-aaral ang pag-aartista kasi hindi naman yan natatapos sa isang project lang.”
“Di ba, Osang, pag feeling mo na—kahit sa anong field ka—pag feeling mo alam mo na lahat, yun yong beginning ng end mo.”
“Hindi pwedeng hindi ka kakabahan. Kailangan talaga, may kaba ka na nasa puso mo lagi na hindi nawawala, kasi yun yong passion mo e! Yun yong nag-i-ignite sa ‘yo.”
Working with Darryl Yap is their honor
“So, sa aming mga artista na passionate sa ginagawa namin, karangalan naming makatrabaho yung mga gaya ni Direk Darryl na willing mag-take ng risk, willing humarap sa mga basher,” Osang explained. “Na alam naman niyang maba-bash siya do’n sa ginagawa niya pero… Nakita mo naman no’ng pinanood mo naman yung #PORNSTAR, hindi ba? Nakita mo yung ending?”
“A! Naiyak ako!” Sharon exclaimed.
“Nakita mo yung ending, maiiyak ka. Gano’n din yung #REVIRGINIZED. May twist sa dulo na maaawa ka kay Carmela [Sharon’s character]. Maiisip mo na ‘Pwede naman pala yung gano’n.’”
Sharon also had her take on #PORNSTAR: “Damang-dama ko sila, kasi they played themselves, di ba? Particularly Osang, kasi siguro siya na yung pinakamarami’ng pinagdaanan… In the end, naiyak ako sa monologue na parang ‘Yun lang ang tingin sa ‘yo [bilang isang pornstar],’ hindi nila alam kung bakit mo ginagawa iyon. Sabi nga ni Osang kanina, may mga anak kang kailangang pakainin. There are things you would not think twice about doing just for your kids. Parang hindi na iniisip ng tao yon. Ang nakikita lang nila, bagay ka.”
“Commodity,” added Osang.
“Commodity. Oo, product. Gano’n. Hindi ka na tao. Wala kang soul, wala kang heart. So ang dali nilang manakit. Kahit kay Direk, I’m sure he feels that… Basta mas maraming nakaka-appreciate kaysa sa hindi, yun naman ang mas importante, because you can never expect to please everybody. I don’t like to pressure myself into trying to please everybody because you cannot! So I’ll just try to be myself. Maybe it’s work because I’ve been here [for] 43 years! Maybe mas maraming may gusto ng mga ginagawa ko kaysa hindi. They’re the people that matter to me, that I choose to focus on, not those that I might disappoint.”
Sharon’s message to bashers
With Darryl Yap’s #Tililing under fire even before it premieres on March 5 in select cinemas and on Viva’s own streaming platform, Vivamax, one couldn’t help but worry if Sharon’s first collaborative project with Viva Films and VinCentiments would experience the same level of criticism. In line with that, CinemaBravo asked if they are ready for more bashing, especially online.
“A, hindi mo pa tinatanong yang question na yan, ready na kami!” Sharon strongly asserted. “Ready na kami for them. Ako, ready na! Hindi pa kami nagmi-meeting, ready na ako e! Parang kahit wala akong gawin, may sasabihin sila. E di, gawin ko na ‘to, mag-enjoy pa ako! O, pag may sinabi sila, that’s ‘their problem anymore’—not my problem! Basta, hindi naman ako gagawa ng something na ayoko. Ayoko rin namang mawala yung respeto ng Sharonians sa akin. I know they’re smart. I mean, my fans are ‘classy.’”
“And your fans also are real people,” Direk Darryl interjected.
“They’re real people. And they know me.”
“Hindi pa uso ang trolls noon e. So alam na alam mong fans talaga.”
Sharon looked straight to the camera. “You know, bashers, this is for you. People like Osang and I got to where we are without social media. We are not products of hype. We are not product of praise or paid trolls, paid promotions, or paid trolls to bash other people. No! We did this on our own. In-invest namin dito: blood, sweat, and tears. Kami, galing old school, nakatrabaho namin ang ilan sa pinakamagagaling sa industriyang ‘to. You know very little, if not ‘nothing,’ about what we do or what we contribute to society and to popular culture. So if you have nothing better to say, then you’re free to say it, because it’s a free country… but don’t expect us to care.”
A round of applause filled the room.
‘from Galit to gamit’ and ‘from Bash to cash’
Direk Darryl Yap had this to say about his bashers and critics: “Ako naman, alam mo naman, ‘no? Alam naman ng CinemaBravo yan every time magpo-post about me. Chini-check ko din yon e. Kapag masyado ‘kong masaya, pumupunta ‘ko do’n para medyo bumaba yung saya ko. You know, lagi ko ngang sinasabi, bashers ang source ng engagement. So, tayo, naiintidihan natin yung sa social media. But these actresses, their power is beyond it. So ako, sige lang. Keep on bashing! Sabi ko nga, ang kanilang galit ay aking nagiging gamit.”
“Motivation,” added Sharon.
“Nakakaipon ako dahil sa kanilang galit. Naita-translate ko. Nakakabili ako ng kung ano-anong gamit.” To which Sharon laughed. “At ang kanilang bash ay nagiging cash.”
“Uy, maganda yon!” Sharon muttered about the rhyme.
Direk Darryl carried on. “Sige lang, sige lang. Ako naman, hindi ako pikon. They take my answers… Halimbawa, nagsasabi sila sa ‘kin ng hindi maganda, tapos sumasagot ako. They take it as parang pikon ako or dapat hindi na lang ako magsalita. Di ba, kung ready kayong bumato… dapat ready rin kayong sumalo.”
“Right! Don’t dish it [out] if you can’t take it,” emphasized Sharon.
“Kagaya ng sinabi nila, itong dalawang ito, ang hanap talaga nila ay peace of mind. Hindi ko pa hanap yon! Okay lang. Wala pa ‘ko do’n sa ngayon.”
“Bata ka pa. Okay lang yan, Direk. Enjoy your life.”
On being a Sharonian
Direk Darryl also has a mouthful to say on the character of no less than the Megastar herself.
“Ako na sasagot no’n. Sabi nga nila e hindi nila kaya yung nababastos ang pamilya. Wala pa ‘kong anak, so okay lang, ‘no? Sige lang. You know, this project is very, very important to me. I must say that nilalaban ko dati sa nanay ko. Dahil ang nanay ko nga ay Sharonian.
“Pag tinatanong ako, dahil siyempre ako, writer ako. So Ricky Lee is, you know, very, very fond of Nora Aunor. And my aunts are very Vilmanians. Then my Mom will say, ‘Para sabihin ko sa ‘yo, si Sharon dinadalhan niya ng something si Vilma do’n sa bahay.’ Paulit-ulit din ang nanay ko e! Na Vilmanian din si Sharon. And stuff like that.
“Now I can say that naging Sharonian ako hindi dahil sa mga pelikula niya. Naging Sharonian ako dahil si Sharon Cuneta yung nakilala ko today. She’s a very nice person. I found the person na ang hirap ipaliwanag na yung gano’n kalaking tao, na gano’n kalayo, pag kausap mo, parang hindi ka talaga mapakaniwala na napakasimple. Alam niyo, siguro napilit pa ‘to ng team niya na mag-makeup.”
Sharon confessed, “Oo! Pinilit talaga ako!”
“Sabi ko, magzu-Zoom tayo. Sabi niya, ganito na lang ako mamaya, Direk, ha? Ta’s tinitingnan ko yung team niya kasi hindi niya alam na may pakanta ‘ko e!”
To the fans of nadine, anne, kathryn, etc.
“This is not actually a comeback. This is just a renewal of her stardom. I don’t think it will ever fade,” stated Direk Darryl with such gusto. “I’m sorry to the fans of Nadine Lustre, Anne Curtis, Kathryn [Bernardo], but their power now is nothing compared to Sharon Cuneta way, way back. And it still radiates until now. This project is more than a film to me; this is actually a vow, a covenant to get through Sharon this generation… To make [them] understand what Megastar is all about. And it’s about longevity, sincerity, professionalism, and hard work through a very clever and raw script that you will all enjoy.”
Yet another round of applause echoed.
“This is not a brand new Sharon Cuneta. This is Sharon Cuneta in 2021. Kung sasabihin kasi, ‘Bagong Sharon Cuneta ba ito?’ Sharon Cuneta will always be Sharon Cuneta. Yung pabago-bago niya, yon ay galing niya bilang artista, na nagbabago-bago siya ng karakter. Pero ang taong kayang magbago-bago ng karakter ay nanggagaling sa isang taong hindi nagbabago. Sa tingin ko, para maging magaling kang artista, kailangan mo munang maging mabuting tao.”
“Actually,” Sharon agreed.
“So, I think for that, ibigay natin kay Sharon Cuneta yon.”
“Ibigay natin kay Direk Darryl,” Sharon humbly responded. “Kanya ‘to e!”
“Hindi pa, hindi pa! Ang ibibigay mo sa ‘kin…” Darryl then took Sharon’s right hand to show her jewelry.
fulfillment of a dream for the new generations
“This movie will not only revirginize the character e! This will revirginize the thinking of millennials and Gen Z’s of what a Philippine artist should be. Not all clout, not all promo. Talagang hindi magtatagal ang hindi totoo,” remakred Direk Darryl.
Sharon had this to add: “At… magandang makarating sa kinaroroonan nang alam mong wala kang tinapakan o ginamit o binayaran. Di ba?”
“This project is not only a film to me, to my team. This is actually fulfillment of a dream. We’ll see to it that the dream will be fulfilled and the public will be amused and, of course, the Megastar will get what she deserved. And that’s the [public’s] respect for her contribution, not only to the Philippine entertainment, but to people sa lahat ng walks of life… Sobrang daming natutulungan ni Sharon Cuneta.”
“Si Osang din!”
“So this is just an instrument. And I’m gonna make sure that this film will deliver Sharon Cuneta right to the hearts of the millennials and the Gen Z’s. I vow to that.”
Sharon only had good words to say. “Nakakaiyak kasi yung respeto niyo sa ‘kin… Saka it’s exciting din na alam kong it will introduce me to this generation—Osang and me—that thinks they know us but only our names.”
While being careful not to spoil, Direk Darryl teased this about ‘Revirginized’: “The movie will talk about why this generation enjoys party, booze, super clingy connections. Ipapaliwanag ng pelikulang ito sa mga mas nakakatandang henerasyon kung bakit natin ginagawang escape o buhay ang partying. So maiintindihan ito ng nakaraang henerasyon at ng henerasyon ngayon kung bakit gano’n na lang ang pag-aalala at paggabay ng mga dating galing sa ganyang edad.”
‘Revirginized‘ had their first shooting day today, March 1. Included in the cast are Albert Martinez, Cristina “Kring Kring” Gonzales, and Marco Gumabao. It is expected to be released soon simultaneously in cinemas and on Vivamax.