Young actress Kim Rodriguez, whose role in the drama series “Kakambal ni Eliana” requires her to handle snakes, says she is now so comfortable working with reptiles that she is considering having one as a pet.
“When we started taping for the series, I was terrified of snakes. It was good that the cast members were made to attend workshops that also trained us on how to best handle them,” she tells the Inquirer.
During the sessions, she was instructed not to use cologne or lotion while working with snakes. “These things irritate them,” she explains.
In “Kakambal ni Eliana,” Kim plays a girl born with a snake attached to her back. The reptile wraps itself around her hand every time she experiences extreme emotions like sadness or anger. She grows up hidden in a basement, until she manages to escape. In the outside world, she seeks to find out the truth about herself and her family.
Kim works closely with two Mexican black kingsnakes. “They alternate as my twin snake—although there are other snakes around, in different sizes and color. My character is supposedly friendly with all kinds,” she says. “It’s true that they have this pungent smell that sticks to your skin long after you’ve handled them. This happens especially when they’re molting. I got used to them after a while.”
She recalls, “There was one time when the caretaker neglected to check our taping schedule and fed my snakes. I wasn’t allowed to carry them until after a few hours. A snake with a full tummy can be irritable. Also, while we were shooting in the woods, one snake almost got away. We didn’t worry about it too much because it was spotted immediately.”
While Kim is thinking of having a snake for a pet, she says she is very much aware of the dangers this entails. “One of my uncles owns a pet snake. He says one must really be very careful in handling it. It is still a wild animal. Children and other smaller pets are not safe with a captive snake around,” she points out.
The lead actress claims she has gotten more comfortable with acting. “I’m more relaxed now. I used to feel the pressure because this is my first lead role. I’m glad it is doing well in terms of ratings,” she says. “At the end of each taping day, I would ask my acting coach and director for feedback. They would say I did well, but I’d always feel insecure. I still feel there’s more to me than what people currently see on the show … that I can still contribute more.”
“Kakambal ni Eliana,” which premiered on GMA 7 last April, airs its final episode on Aug. 23.
When the series ends, Kim plans to hone her acting chops by doing indie movies. She will soon be seen in the Jose Javier Reyes drama “Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap,” an entry in the 2013 Sineng Pambansa Film Festival in September. She will also be part of the 2014 coming-of-age road movie “Chasing Boulevards” by Alessandra Dalmas.