VILMA Santos dazzled us at the Cinema Evaluation Board with her heartfelt portrayal of a bit player (Loida) in “Ekstra,” which we graded A. Ate Vi has mastered the art of restrained yet powerful acting. She made us empathize with Loida every “retake and buckle” of the way. It’s no easy task for a star of Ate Vi’s stature to play an “Ekstra” but since she has always kept her feet on the ground, she’s still within the reach of lesser mortals. That’s why she was able to effectively portray an unsung hero in her first indie movie (which is now on its regular run).
Kudos, Ate Vi! You’ve uplifted the dignity of ekstras. Because of you, we now know that they are also extraordinary.
What did you learn about bit players when you filmed “Ekstra”?
It’s a cliché but it’s the truth: they’re not getting the proper respect that they deserve as bit players. A movie will not be complete without their participation.
If you had the power to make laws in the industry, what laws would you implement to protect and uplift the dignity of bit players?
Right benefits or fair benefits for bit players. But the problem is that the movie industry lacks the laws needed to protect itself as well as the people in it.
What piece of advice would you give to bit players?
Dont lose hope. Keep going and love your work.
What would it take for a bit player to get noticed and move to the next level?
Love your job and it will love you back.
What’s your next project after “Ekstra”?
I am not entertaining any offers yet because Batangas is my priority as governor—and I am on my last term.
What was your first indie experience like?
It was fantastic! I was able to enter another world of “artists.” Imagine doing a film in 12 days. Hahaha!
What do you remember about your first husband Edu Manzano?
A good provider and a respectable father.
How do you and Sen. Ralph Recto make marriage work?
Respect! Dialogue! Supporting each other’s strengths and weaknesses! And of course, love!
What do you tell your sons about love and women?
Live their lives with respect for women. If there’s respect, everything follows like: love, understanding, caring, etc. And letting them know that their mother is a woman who loves them unconditionally.
What do you like most about Jennylyn (Luis’ girlfriend)?
She’s a sweet lady. She’s responsible. Motherhood adds maturity and responsibility.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Being a mother, a wife, an artist and a mother to a bigger family in the province of Batangas.
What’s your fave line (dialogue) from any of your movies?
a. “Si Jun-Jun, si Jun-Jun, si Jun-Jun…” (“Paano ba Mangarap”)
b. “Si Val, si Val. Lagi na lang si Val, si Val na walang malay…” (“Saan Natatago ang Pag-Ibig”)
c. “Para kang karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain…” (“Palimos ng Pag-Ibig”)
d. “Ding, ang bato!” (“Darna”)
Do you ever plan to retire from show biz or will you always be around (even just behind the camera)?
As of now, despite my responsibilities as a public servant, I still find time to do movies as a little contribution to the film industry because I’m still an artist.
If your life story would be made into a movie, what would the title be?
“Ang Makulay na Daigdig ni Vilma”! Hahaha!
What’s your beauty secret?
Living comfortably. Eating everything in moderation. Having a happy and fulfilling life.
What is the best legacy that you’ll leave behind?
As a person who did everything to make her life meaningful for her family and the people she served.
What’s your guiding principle in life and in love?
Live your life to the fullest because life is short. Be optimistic. “Tomorrow is another day.”