Pokwang took over role meant for Sharon Cuneta
“During difficult times, you can’t afford to be choosy,” said comedienne Pokwang, who had no qualms about being the second choice to play the lead role in the film, “Call Center Girl.”
The role of Tessa, a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who lands a job at a call center, was reportedly meant for Sharon Cuneta. The former ABS-CBN contract artist transferred to TV5 in 2011, long before producers Star Cinema and Skylight Films began filming the project.
“I don’t mind being a replacement as long as the project is good. I know that the movie will help improve my career, so I agreed to do it wholeheartedly,” Pokwang said during a recent press conference, which was also attended by director Don Cuaresma and cast members.
“My years in this industry have taught me that it’s important to maintain good working relationships with colleagues. Without this, you’re nothing, even if you’re really talented,” she pointed out.
“Mang Dolphy is the perfect example. You keep hearing stories of how well he treated others. He’s really my idol.”
Pokwang’s last film was the 2011 drama, “A Mother’s Story,” by John
D. Lazatin. “It was a difficult movie to make because it was 90-percent drama. I had to recall a lot of my memorable experiences as an OFW while making the film,” Pokwang recounted.
“I enjoyed making ‘Call Center Girl’ because the story is light and funny. I can also relate to my character well because Tessa does everything to win back the heart of her estranged daughter, Regina (Jessy Mendiola). Like her, I would do anything for my daughter, Mae.”
She added: “I think we should show more appreciation for our OFWs, our modern-day heroes. I’ve said this before—I wouldn’t mind working as an OFW again if I fail as an actor. I know people my age who tried their luck abroad and succeeded.”
Pokwang admitted she did odd jobs while growing up just to make ends meet. She recalled her experience as a nanny: “I worked as a yaya from [Grade 6] all through [my] high school years. My employers paid for my schooling. In return, I took care of their two kids.”
She continued: “Working while studying was tough. I had to wake up really early to prepare the kids’ breakfast. When I came home from school, I would clean the house, cook and then prepare for school the next day.”
Pokwang, who now has her own house help, said she always made sure they were treated fairly. “I consider them my equals—we eat the same food, I don’t make them wear uniforms and I shower them with gifts—gusto nila puro pampaputi,” she said, laughing.
She said she was never a strict mom to Mae, 17. “I don’t spoil my daughter. I just want her to be respectful and to care for others.”
Mae’s suitors are allowed to visit her at home. “She’s beautiful, so it’s just normal for boys to be attracted to her. I just told her to bring them to the house and introduce them to me first,” Pokwang said.
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