From Fil-Am producer Dean Devlin, who produced films such as Independence Day, The Patriot, Godzilla, and Stargate, comes The Deal, a sci-fi dystopian drama which stars Fil-Am actress Sumalee Montano.
Sumalee graduated from Harvard and became an investment banker. Still, she wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and be the executive producer of several award-winning films.
She actually has roots in the industry, being the grandniece of Philippine National Artist for Theatre Severino Montano. Sumalee is also an actress, having been part of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Star Trek Picard, and Veep.
She is now starring in The Deal as single mom Tala Bayani. Playing her teenage daughter is Emma Fischer from projects such as Meet You in Scotland, Counterpart, Deutschland 86, and Gap Year.
Dystopian plot aside, The Deal is really a story about mother and daughter.
In an interview, Sumalee revealed that the story actually resembles her relationship with her own mother, Linda Montano.
“There’s so much about my relationship with my mom that you will see on screen,” admitted Sumalee.
This isn’t that surprising, considering writer Sean Presant wrote the film based on Sumalee’s idea.
“It was such an intriguing idea because I can’t remember any other post-apocalyptic sci-fi film that was a mother-daughter story,” said Sean. “It really felt fresh, unique, and had a great new perspective.”
Sumalee revealed that her mom passed away almost a decade ago.
“I was surrounded by my relatives not long after she died,” Sumalee recalled. “As we were talking, it dawned on me what she had sacrificed during her life for me to have the life that I have.”
What happens after the virus mutates to kill humans, animals and crops? After the planet is ravaged by climate disaster? That's where 'The Deal' starts.— Sumalee Montano (@sumaleedotcom) October 15, 2022
So proud of the film we made (pre-pandemic too btw). Hope you'll check it out! Link in bio to stream free on Roku. #TheDeal pic.twitter.com/CATFWErIP7
It was at that moment that Sumalee had an epiphany of sorts, and everything fell in place. To be able to relive a shared moment with her mom is priceless for Sumalee.
“When those things happen, when I can take something that happened in my real life with my mom and put them up on the screen, it means the world to me,” she shared. “Everything about the way we loved each other, how we fought, how I got mad at her and how I yelled at her. Truly, so much of it is from our relationship.”
“Anyone who had a mother who sacrificed for them can relate to this film, especially for me because I’m half Filipino and my mother was Filipino,” Dean shared. “I was also raised by a single mom.”
Sumalee’s mom also raised her on her own.
“She was a single mom, she gave me everything. So, to me, this is truly a love song that she deserves,” said Sumalee.
“In real life, she wanted me to help her tell her life story but I didn’t know how. I actually bought her a book on how to write an autobiography one Christmas, hoping that she would read it and start to write. She never did,” she recalled.
The Deal is one way that Sumalee chose to honor her mother’s love.
“I still don’t think I can tell a story about her life but I can tell a story that honored how much and how fiercely she loved me,” declared Sumalee. “We did it for you, Mama.”