By By Pablo A. Tariman
What the MMFF best actress trophy meant to Joanna Ampil
posted 24-Jan-2018  ·  
1,973 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
Joanna Ampil as Grizabella in Cats. Flabbergasted when asked who was the better rat catcher, Candida or Griza-bella.

Two days after winning the Best Actress trophy in the 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival (as Candida in Ang Larawan), Joanna Ampil faced the media before she flies to Hong Kong to resume world tour of Cats where she plays Grizabella.

In person Joanna looks very much younger than her character Candida and she replies to questions with one-liners that give one clues to her profile as a singing actress.

Asked how it was singing Grizabella in a world tour and then being asked to sing Candida for the musical’s film version, she knew it would involve hard work. “Remember I tried to quit in this project twice but then my producers really believed I could do it. There was no way I could back out. I suppose I was destined for this role,” she said.

Singing the role of an animal and a human being was a contrasting experience.  From a spinster to a cat singing “Memory” required a lot of focus. “Of course, it was easy to sing the part in Larawan but to act it as well was the supreme but extremely difficult challenge. I got big help from colleague Jake Macapagal who also acted on film and my self-confidence improved. I really have to focus a lot from the way I look, the way I sound and the way I should react with the characters of my co-actors.”

Like it or not, Ang Larawan is a poignant allegory on the plight of artists trying to survive in the changing world before the war.

Two spinster sisters own a precious painting of their illustrious father and it is the bone of contention between them and a scheming boarder and piano player, Tony Javier brilliantly played by Paulo Avelino.

Do they sell it so they can have a good life? Or just hang on to it as a symbol of a venerable artistic status?

Candida (Ampil) bravely faced the consequence of not selling out and told her sister they can give piano lessons and catch rats on the side just to survive.

Asked how she felt delivering that line, Joanna intimated she felt the pathos of it all. “Of course, it is a difficult choice for the character determined to survive no matter what. What I did was to deliver it with conviction to make audiences feel the character could do it. It is a painful decision when you have to give piano lessons and catch rats on the side. You just have to imagine yourself in such a situation to make it all believable. Of course, you have heard of worst scenarios involving Filipinos who want to survive.”

The pathos of it all is lost when a follow question came thus: who does she think is better at catching rats: Candida or Grizabella (her role in Cats)?

She bursts into laughter as she re-figures out her role as a stage cat and a human being.

It is a funny question no doubt, but Joanna finds a way to lay the question aside. After all, no one pits a cat and a human being in one setting.

Yes, the best actress trophy means a lot to her. “It is a confirmation that I did well and deemed by jurors as worthy of this award. It is also a big boost for both producers and actors. They worked hard to make this film happen. The difficulties they faced are almost insurmountable. But we made it. This trophy is our way of telling ourselves we did a good job after all.”

Meanwhile producers Girlie Rodis and Rachel Alejandro said the awards turned them around.

Concluded Girlie: “We lost 15 theaters in the first few days of the festival. After the awards night, we are back in 56 theaters. It’s the moviegoers who are keeping us in the theaters.”

Ang Larawan directed by Loi Arcenas is still showing in selected theaters. It stars Rachel Alejandro, Paulo Avelino, Dulce, Jaime Fabregas, Nonie Buencamino and Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, among others.

Joanna Ampil as Candida with Bitoy of Sandio Martin
Joanna Ampil with Larawan co-star Rachel Alejandro. They did a good job after all.
new to
connect with us to leave a comment.
connect thru
Other Entertainment articles
home home album photo album blogs blogs