Elmo Magalona on His Daring Role in the Cinemalaya Film #Y
Tonight, (Aug 6, 2014) is the gala premiere of #Y (Hash Tag Y), one of the new-breed films being showcased by Cinemalaya at the CPP this year. Though I am part of the cast – I play the Mom of the lead actor, Elmo Magalona – I won’t be able to attend due to schedule constraints, ARGH!!!!
But I do have this little interview with Elmo which I recorded during his 4th day on the set of #Y.
The interview was recorded on the set, literally… in the ‘bedroom’ of his character Miles.
SPOILER ALERT! This interview gives a few details about the story so beware!
ABQ: It’s Day 4 for you, kamusta …
ELMO MAGALONA: I’ve done my scenes with my friends, my barkada… then the next few days are… ako lang, then with you – my parents – and when I’m being interviewed (by the psychiatrist) about my situation.
ABQ: Your role a Miles is a heavy one and he struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies. How was it like preparing for the role?
ELMO: I like thinking about what would my character think of… what would he feel during this moment.. like let’s say im just at home watching a movie or eating food, like what would he be thinking at this moment? That’s how I prepared.
There are scenes here where I have to show off my body so I also had to prepare for that. Before I started filming I had gained weight. Fat weight. I stopped working out late last year. I gained probably 10 to 15 lbs. It was all going to be seen on screen and I would be the one to suffer. I didn’t want that so… Miles as a person doesn’t really have to have a nice body… but visually I just wanted it to be a good project that I want to watch when I grow older.
ABQ: What was your regimen like?
Diet. It was more on cutting down on rice and then I enjoy eating veggies and fruits now and I usually run. More on running rather than lifting.
ABQ: Can you empathize with Miles? Or was it a difficult stretch for your imagination to think of yourself as suicidal.
ELMO: As myself I wouldn’t think of suicide. But I get why he thinks he wants to kill himself and its not even… not everyone’s going to understand him but I do. On a personal level. He just doesn’t feel happy. Some people are just really like that, you can’t explain it and you shouldn’t explain it.
ABQ: You accepted a role in a movie that deals with suicide among other issues that the youth deal with nowadays. Some people think that this may hurt your ‘squeaky clean’ image. I heard several actors were approached but ayaw nilang gawin kasi nga controversial, why did you accept?
ELMO: Because its an experiment since people nga aren’t used to seeing me doing projects like this, I just really want to challenge myself. And I’m ready to hear the criticism from others. That’s what I want and that’s how I’m going to grow.
ABQ: How do you deal with criticism, haters and bashers?
ELMO: I’m very open naman when it comes to criticism as long as its constructive… as long as there’s a reason and its not on a personal level that they’re criticizing me. Im usually open naman to the feedback that people give me and I think that’s how I’m going to grow, that’s how I’m gonna learn when they finally watch the movie and tell me how they liked it.
ABQ: This movie is in the middle of being shot and people are already talking about you… that this is your most daring movie… that you’re going to do your first screen love scene. What do you think of that?
ELMO: It’s a very overwhelming situation but I try not to think about it since it’s just going to bother my head while shooting the film. I don’t want to lose focus. I haven’t shot the love scenes yet. I don’t know if they are holding on to that for that last day of shoot. But I’m excited. It’s my first time to work with Sophie Albert and… I’m not really sure what Direk Gino wants to do with scene…
ABQ: What do you think your biggest challenge will be in the love scene?
ELMO: Maybe… feeling ‘conscious’, I guess. Because there’s a camera in front of me. I just want them to capture me as Miles and him experiencing his deep, deep love for Lia (played by Sophie Albert).
ABQ: What lessons have you learned from Miles?
ELMO: He doesn’t know what he has. He kind of takes advantage of his life because he’s living a normal life, a privileged life, in fact. Maybe because of that nothing excites him anymore about life and that led him to suicide.
ABQ: If you as Elmo could talk to Miles, what would you tell him?
ELMOl I would give advice but I wouldn’t bet on him listening to me because he doesn’t really listen to anyone. He just… when he’s made up his mind he’s clear about it and he doesn’t want to lose focus on it as well. Like that.
I’m really excited to see the whole thing. They actually showed some of the scenes we shot the first two days. I can say that it might shock a lot of people.
ABQ: Do you think your Dad (the late Francis M.) will be proud of this?
ELMO: I think so. Because it’s me… experimenting. And it’s me exploring.
ABQ: Well your dad was experimenter and he was an explorer.
ELMO: As well… as well… because he started out and people weren’t really accepting of him in the beginning.
ABQ: So what do you hope to achieve with #Y?
ELMO: Basically I just want to be different from other artists and I hope this movie shows that.
ABQ: Thank you very much Elmo, it was a pleasure!