Still staying mostly at home doing quarantine with her family, Lea Salonga admitted she would love to be able to perform again once it is safe. The Broadway actress said she would love to perform with an audience again.
“Hindi naman ako masyado mapili. I love to do theater. I love to do concerts. Basta something with an actual live audience in front of me. There are a lot of us in the theater industry, in the live events industry, na atat na atat na ulit magtrabaho, to be in front of an audience. But obviously it’s not possible yet and I guess I’m going to have to sit on my hands and wait until the day that it is possible.
“So I’m just hoping and praying for the best, that there will be a pathway to that and it still breaks my heart that all over the world pretty much, save for I guess Australia and New Zealand, and up until a few weeks ago the UK, there isn’t a lot of live performance happening anywhere in the world because of this pandemic. But I’m hoping that every country in the world is able to figure out how to gain control over this and how all of us will be able to return to life. It’s definitely a new normal. We’re communicating via Zoom and figuring out how to do a lot of stuff at home ourselves. That’s the normal now until it no longer will be. So at this point I’m not super picky, I mean I’m still picky but not super picky (laughs),” she said during the Yellow Rose presscon held last January 25.
With her current film Yellow Rose set to start streaming online on January 29, Lea said it’s been too long since her last locally made film.
“The last movie that I did was Sana Maulit Muli which was released in 1995, matagal na ano. It’s been almost 26 years since that movie was released here in the Philippines. It’s held up well I have to say and it’s been beautifully restored by ABS-CBN so it was really wonderful getting to see the restored film again many, many years later. It still holds and I remember that process being very, very difficult because I’m not the most comfortable person on film. Still not. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten somewhat better since I’ve attended acting classes and really focused on working for film and TV. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten somewhat better and that I’m a much more active participant as far as what I need to do and what I need to achieve in asking questions, in making sure that what I need to do is clear,” she explained.
Compared to doing theater, Lea said making movies are more difficult. But thankfully, that was not the case with Yellow Rose. “It was a very quick process for Yellow Rose because we really didn’t have a lot of time to spend on filming. If you got it down on one or two takes, that’s great. Then everybody had to move on really, really quickly and that is testament to how organized Diane Paragas (Yellow Rose director) was, how organized her crew were. But it’s still not the most comfortable medium that I’ve worked with. I’m more comfortable in theater. I’m more comfortable on stage. I navigate my way around the theatrical piece more comfortably because there’s a natural chronology when doing a piece. There’s a definite beginning, a definite middle, and a definite end and I like that kind of running order. Then I don’t have to keep track of my emotions because everything is set and set in the rehearsal room.
“In film, you might be doing your finale on day one. For me that enjoys order, it’s a little confusing. There definitely is a craft to keeping track of your emotional arch in making a film and I have only the greatest respect for the folks that are able to do this and do this really well. It’s something that I need to work on and figure out. But I’d like to think that I’m better at it than I was 20 or so years ago. But there’s still a lot for me to learn. But I like to think I got better. Sana naman (laughs),” she explained.
When asked what kind of local film project she would love to do next, Lea brings up a 2018 American rom-com which stars a closeted gay high school student named Simon.
“I fell in love with a movie called Love, Simon. I was watching it on a flight. I think it was a domestic flight in the US and I remember sobbing in my seat and hopefully I didn’t disturb people around me because my body was wracked in sobs watching this film. And so in the advancing of the LGBT community here in the Philippines and in hoping for greater empathy towards that community, that’s a movie I would like to make. Even if I just get to play the mom of say like that central character, to be able to be a parent to a Simon or whether it’s a male or a female, to be able to be part of a movie like that, that would make me really happy. Yung ganung klaseng pelikula because I think even the LGBT community here should be seen and not just in say, as much as I love Vice Ganda, homosexuality isn’t just Vice Ganda. There is a spectrum, there is width, and all of that also needs to be represented on film. So that’s something I would like to be a part of. It shouldn’t be just a trend. There’s a BL trend that’s happening and I’m hearing a lot about it and it’s great that those stories are being told. But a Love, Simon I would love to do something like that,” she said.
Lea also hopes whoever her co-star is in that LGBTQ project is, that they have the right support system from the cast and crew.
“I don’t know (who to cast for the role). I don’t know everybody but obviously it would have to be an actor who is comfortable playing a character like that and hopefully this actor does not get stigmatized in the industry for playing a character like that. And it really needs to be surrounded by a cast, a crew, a writing staff, a director that has nothing but just big hearts and plenty of empathy and really good insight into how a movie like that can be created for this audience here. So yeah I’m hopeful. I’m absolutely hopeful,” she added.
Yellow Rose can be viewed on KTX.ph, iWantTFC, as well as Cignal Pay-Per-View and Sky Cable Pay-Per-View starting January 29, Friday.