In spite of her dark hair color, Rufa Mae Quinto has been typecast as the classic dumb blonde since starring in the 2001 comedy “Booba.”
Writer-director Marlon Rivera, however, felt that Quinto could offer so much more than just her busty, dim-witted screen persona.
Rivera hopes to push the envelope with the action-comedy flick “Ang Huling Henya,” where Quinto sheds her bombshell image to play Miri, a hot-tempered undercover agent.
“I think Rufa Mae’s acting abilities have been underestimated for the longest time,” Rivera told the Inquirer recently. “This time, there’s a script that she had to follow closely. That’s different from what she usually does.”
Rivera said he was pleasantly surprised at how Quinto handled the movie’s dramatic scenes. “My objective was to stretch Rufa Mae. I demanded so much from her and she delivered,” he said.
Those who thought that his goal was to reinvent Quinto were sorely mistaken, Rivera said.
He pointed out that he merely wanted to equip the comedienne with additional tools to improve her craft. “She became famous for her own style of comedy. I think it would be unwise to change that,” he said.
Quinto herself said doing the movie forced her to break out of her comfort zone. “I wore only jeans, boots and leather jackets in this movie. That was tough for me because I was used to being fully made-up all the time,” she said.
She admitted that she learned a lot sharing the screen with theater actors Robert Seña, Candy Pangilinan, Ricci Chan and Kalila Aguilos. “They’re all professional. They have incredible work ethic. They are very… profound,” she said in her usual sing-song manner.
“Ang Huling Henya” is Rivera’s follow-up to the award-winning Eugene Domingo-starrer “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” in 2011.
Would “Henya” do for Quinto’s career what “Septic” did for Domingo’s?
“It’s all very unpredictable. You shouldn’t dare to expect too much,” Rivera said.
Did he wish for “Henya” to become a box-office hit or a critically acclaimed film?
“I’d rather that a lot of people watch this movie. The fact that they went out of their way and spent P200 to watch your movie instead of buying pirated DVDs … that’s the ultimate form of flattery,” he explained. “Trophies are nice, but they just gather dust. But I must admit I want to win an acting award,” he quipped.