ABS-CBN’s newest “It” girl Julia Barretto lands her first major acting piece with Maalaala Mo Kaya’s Father’s Day special this Saturday, June 15. She plays the role of Alex, a teenage girl who is forced to become the family breadwinner soon after her dad’s drug addiction worsens while her mom leaves them for another man.
Asked how she prepared for such a role, Julia shared that it helps that she also experienced how it feels to have a broken family. “Kasi medyo same ako sa character ko except dun sa umako ako ng responsibility sa pamilya. Pero yung parents separating nangyari din sa akin yun. I know how it felt for my character nung nag-separate yung parents niya. Yung experiences ko na similar sa kanya brining back ko para totoo yung mailabas ko na emotion,” she said during the bloggers conference held at the Star Creatives office yesterday, June 13.
When her mom Marjorie Barretto first told her about the project, they didn’t know that she was going to play the lead in the story. “At first she thought Alex was a guy. Sabi niya, ‘Julia may MMK ka pero ‘di masyado malaki role mo dito ha.’ I said, ‘Okay pero MMK pa rin siya, kunin na lang.’ And then when I told her na, ‘Mom, I am Alex.’ Sabi niya, ‘Wow malaki ang role na ‘yan.’ She wasn’t able to give me pointers pero she told me to pray lang because I was so nervous and parang to do good lang.”
Although she feels a bit pressured to deliver a great performance, she was grateful to have such supportive and talented co-stars who were all easy on her. “Si Tita Ara (Mina) reminded me of my mom. So yung crying scenes namin naiyak talaga ako. When she cries kamukha niya mom ko, eh ‘pag umiiyak si mommy naiiyak rin ako. So it helped. Masaya sila kasama. Si kuya James (Blanco) I learned several things from him like blocking and what to express during a scene. Lahat sila naka-help so parang training ground talaga ang MMK.”
Asked about a particular scene that she’s most proud of, she said that it would have to be her last scene with her father. “Baka kapag sinabi ko kung ano nangyari baka ma-spoil. Basta it was heavy, it was an important event for Alex. I wanted to do good and give justice to the role.”
As it is, she was inspired by Jane Oineza’s controversial MMK episode that earned the latter a Best Actress nomination at the 2013 New York Festivals World’s Best Television and Film. “It’s my favorite MMK episode. Sobrang galing ni Jane dun. That’s when it hit me that MMK is a very important show. Given the opportunity, you can’t let this one go. You have to take it,” Julia added.
As early as now though, a lot of people are tagging Julia as the next big thing in showbiz. This further motivates the 16-year old to make the most out of the opportunities being given to her .“I am flattered because they believe na I can reach that level. At the same time nakaka-pressure kasi for example lumabas yung MMK episode and ‘di ko ma-meet expectations nila, baka biglang bumagsak ang title na yun. So I’m pressured to really do good. But it’s good because it makes you want to do good in everything that you do. Para lang ma-prove mo sa kanila na you deserve that title.”