One of the actresses the local movie audience has learned to love after almost 60 films and a great variety of character roles is Eugene Domingo.
When asked to comment on her newfound success, she laughs and says, “I was maid to be a star!”—in mock reference to one of her “signature” roles.
Indeed, the UP Theater Arts major is one of the busiest actresses this season. She has three films in the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival—“Shake Rattle and Roll,” “My House Husband” and “Enteng ng Ina Mo.”
Eugene’s slow but sure rise to fame has amazed even her colleagues in the industry. Boots Anson-Roa, her co-star in “Shake…” once told her: “I’m happy for you. You’re no Anne Curtis, but you made it!”
But, there was a time, when, out of sheer frustration, she stopped acting for the TV-film cameras. “When I started as a bit player, talagang maghihintay ka kung kelan ka kukunan, unlike in theater where there is a schedule to follow, and walang pa-star.”
Eugene went back to school and after she finished college, decided she would perform only in stage productions. But, a friend, TV director Andoy Ranay, insisted that she give TV acting a second chance—and, the next thing she knew, she was already appearing in Wenn Deramas’ “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan” as lead star Claudine Barretto’s protective friend.
“Acting for TV was really sweeter the second time around, kasi natagpuan ko ang grupo na may respeto sa craft, kasi they also came from theater,” she recalls.
After Eugene’s impressive TV comeback came an offer to appear in “Tanging Ina,” the launching movie of comedienne Ai-ai de las Alas, where she played Ai-Ai’s best friend.
Her biggest break came via her launching movie, Joyce Bernal’s “Kimi Dora,” where she portrayed twins. The movie was both a critical and box office success. Eugene was ecstatic!
Eugene is happy and thankful to her followers and mentors. ”Natuwa ako kasi tama ‘yung timing. Handa na yung utak at katawan ko. Mature na ako nung na-launch ako. Hindi ako nasisilaw sa kasikatan.”
For Eugene, everything in show business is fleeting, if not handled well. “After doing your job, you have to save, you have to invest, because yung mga award, wala nang makakaalala niyan. Naalala mo ba kung sinong nanalo last year? Baka ako na lang nakaalala na nanalo ako. And, when that happens, sana ‘di ka mapi-feature sa “Wish Ko Lang,” kasi wala ka nang pera! ”
Two weeks ago, Eugene and others involved in “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” were in Hollywood for the movie’s screening for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the Golden Globes. She was happy that the film was well-received. “Yung reaction nila, parang reaction din ng audience dito sa atin. Pero, realistic naman kami. ‘Di man kami lulusot, we’ve gained a lot from the experience.”
“Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” is also the country’s entry in the Oscar awards’ Best Foreign Film category.