Preparing for this drama helps young stars grow up

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ELLEN Adarna and Arnold Reyes in “Ang Tag-araw ni Twinkle”

Actor Arnold Reyes had to shed a lot of weight before assuming the role of a colon cancer patient in the Gil Portes drama “Ang Tag-Araw ni Twinkle.”

Arnold lost almost 15 lbs. in under two months. Although it wasn’t required of him, Arnold told the Inquirer he felt he had to do it: “I watch (US actor) Johnny Depp, amazed at how different he looks in each character he tackles. I always change my look to fit a role. It motivates me.”

In “Twinkle,” Arnold plays Ka Ruben, a former rebel who loses his wife in battle with the military. Thinking Ruben is dead, an Army general (Cris Villanueva) brings home his (Ruben’s) daughter and raises her. Years later, Ruben, dying of cancer, hopes to meet his daughter (Ellen Adarna).

Rigorous prep

As part of his preparation, Arnold went to a hospital to observe colon cancer patients and researched at length about the lives of rebels.

He had sleepless nights prior to shooting, Arnold admitted. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I pull this off?’ This happens every time. I guess that’s part of my process as an actor.”

This has been a busy year so far for Arnold. He was cast in two entries in the 2013 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, “Purok 7” and “Liars,” and two Mes de Guzman movies, “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti” with award-winning actress Nora Aunor, and “Sitio.”

Arnold said Ellen was a big revelation in “Twinkle.” He related, “She’s so natural and truthful. Sumasakay lang siya sa emosyon and doesn’t force it. I really hope this project will open more doors for her.”

Just like her

Ellen found her character very much like her. “I ran away from home at 13—I guess that makes you a rebel,” she said. “I can relate to Twinkle on many levels. I used to always fight with my mom, and my dad told her to just let me be.”

Now 25, Ellen said she had no regrets, but admits, “There’s a price to pay for being a rebel. I got to do what I wanted but I didn’t get help from my parents. I was on my own. I know I’d have been more comfortable, had I stayed with my family, but I chose freedom.”

“Ang Tag-Araw ni Twinkle” premieres Sept. 6 at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, as a prelude to the 2013 “Sineng Pambansa: All-Masters Edition,” which starts Sept. 11. Marinel R. Cruz

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