“Kakampi ko ito kahit saan ako makarating,” is how Ai-Ai De las Alas described the kind of friendship that was formed between her and Kung Fu Divas co-star Marian Rivera. Although it was the first time they worked together and they come from different networks, these things didn’t stop them from establishing a strong bond on and off cam. “Natural na dumating sa aming dalawa na maging magkaibigan kami. Bigla na lang kami umiikot. Minsan naguusap kami, ‘Hindi ka ba inaantok? Inaantok kasi ako. Sabihin natin kay Direk (Onat Diaz) tapusin na natin ‘to, tapos uwi na tayo.’ Magkasabwat kami,” said Ai-Ai in an interview with Push.com.ph and The Buzz during the trailer launch of Kung Fu Divas held at Post Manila, Thursday afternoon, July 25.
During the interview, Marian was standing close to Ai-Ai for support, claiming that she’s not used to being interviewed by ABS-CBN reporters. She happily shared, however, how happy she is to have had the chance to work with the Box Office Comedy Queen. “Nung kinukwento pa lang sa akin ni direk Onat, wala pang script and everything, na-excite na ako. Ano pa kaya nung nakasama ko na si Ate Ai. Napaka-down to earth niya kahit na siya na yung ‘the Queen’ talaga, literal.”
Marian further shared that they had a lot in common which is why they instantly clicked on the set. “Sobrang bait, sobrang ligalig [ni Ate Ai]. Siguro made-describe ko yung relationship naming dalawa, para kaming bata sa set, ine-enjoy namin [yung time together]. Kung makikita mo yung behind the scenes naming dalawa, wala kayo makikita kung hindi naglalaro. Parehas kaming loka loka.”
Ai-Ai added that during the course of their shoot, she discovered that there’s no truth to rumors that Marian has an attitude problem. “Tsaka yung mga chuvaness sa kanya hindi totoo. Mabait siya, tsaka mahiyain. Pulbos ng pulbos, nakakatawa,” Ai-Ai exclaimed in between laughs.
On defending each other from controversies
Having gone through their fair share of intrigues in the business, the two agreed that they’ve learned a lot by sharing their personal experiences. But Marian maintained that she didn’t have to give Ai-Ai advice at the height of the latter’s breakup with husband Jed Salang. All she offered was her loyalty and support at such trying times in the Comedy Queen’s personal life. “Actually, wala akong advice para kay ate dahil wala ako sa posisyon para magbigay kung ano man dahil hindi ko pa nararanasan kung ano man ang nararanasan niya. Basta ang sa akin, mahal ko siya, susuportahan ko siya, nasa likod niya ako. Mahirap mag-advice kapag hindi mo pa na-e-experience.”
In turn, Ai-Ai said that she was also aware of the pregnancy issue involving Marian. Ai-Ai was quick to say that she knows that Marian is the type who prefers getting married first before having a baby. “Oo, nakarating sa akin [yung tsismis na buntis siya]. Wala, e di kung totoo yun di ninang ako. [Pero] hindi naman totoo. Tsaka kilala ko siya. Sinabi niya sa akin na, ‘Ate, bago ako mabuntis, gusto ko kasal muna.’ Morally upright [siya].”
Excited with their first film together
Kung Fu Divas is the story of two bitter rivals in a beauty pageant, until an unexpected turn of events forces them to become allies in order to defeat the enemy with their acquired kung fu skills. Most of the action sequences were shot on green screen, which proved to be challenging for the two actresses. “Mahirap to the point na pinag-train kami ni Direk for six months pero ‘di naman consistent [na dire-diretso]. Yung training na kung fu talaga na hindi lang basta lumipad ka lang diyan. Kailangan may tamang porma, tamang paglipad, na ‘di kami masasaktan dalawa,” explained Marian.
Ai-Ai added, “Oo, ang hirap kasi hindi mo naman nakikita inaartehan mo eh. Paano ka lilipad sa green, paano ka aarte na kailangan ta-tumbling ka? Bukod sa action sequences namin, mahirap din yung acting kasi meron ditong times na nagsasalita kami ng sabay eh. Hindi pwedeng may mali, as in sabay. Hindi naman kami nagtitinginan. Kumbaga [nagdepende talaga sa] timing niya at timing ko. Tapos inuulit kapag hindi perfect.”
Both Ai-Ai and Marian are also co-producers of Kung Fu Divas, which made the project more special to them. “Nag-produce ako kasi malaki tiwala ko sa pelikula. Na-amaze ako sa the way na kinuwento ni direk kaya kahit ayaw nila ako mag-produce, magpro-produce talaga ako. Ganon ko hinahanggaan yung pelikula tapos nandun pa po ako. Mas lalo ko minahal yung trabaho ko kasi artista ako, mahal ko yung konsepto, nagproduce pa ako, full package na siya.”
Aside from the fact that Ai-Ai has been into producing films even in the past, she claimed that she wanted the opportunity to be working with Marian for the first time. “Bukod sa naniniwala ako sa project, alam naman natin na si Ms. Marian ay sikat sa Asia. Gusto ko rin masali sa kasikatan niya sa Asia – sa Malaysia, Cambodia... Gusto ko maramdaman kung paano pagkaguluhan ng Malaysian and Cambodian,” she finally quipped.
A joint production of Star Cinema, Reality Entertainment and The O&Co Picture Factory Inc., Kung Fu Divas will premiere on September 25 in cinemas nationwide.