Mike Tuviera on Maine Mendoza: She’s driven by a need to get better
While Maine Mendoza has been “improving by leaps and bounds” as an actress these past few years, director Mike Tuviera thinks that she’s too much of a perfectionist to be completely at ease with her work.
“She’s driven by a need to get better, so she’s never comfortable. Among all my talents on the set, she’s the only one who goes straight to the monitors to see how she did in her scenes,” Mike told the Inquirer in a recent interview for the heist-comedy flick, “Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity.”
And sometimes, Maine tends to be too tough on herself, Mike observed. “She studies her scenes and her acting. The standards she sets for herself are so high. But I also believe that that’s the reason she has been making great strides as an actress,” he said of the 24-year-old star.
For Mike, one of Maine’s biggest assets as a performer is her keen sense of observation. “She notices a lot of little details,” said Mike, who previously directed Maine in the movies “Imagine You and Me” and “Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles.” “I have been working with her for three years now, and I think that it’s something that comes naturally to her.”
Meanwhile, directing and working with Vic Sotto for the second time, he said, was a more relaxed experience compared to last year’s. “The first project we did, I was intimidated,” admitted Mike, the son of TAPE and APT Entertainment top executive Tony Tuviera.
“I have known him my entire life. He’s one of my wedding godfathers. But I had never dealt with him professionally,” he added. “But this time, it was all fun and collaborative.”
Still, Mike thinks he will never not be apprehensive when it comes to giving Vic instructions on what to do.
“Every single time, I get quite nervous when I order him to do something. But the best thing about him is that he will make you feel comfortable. He doesn’t make you feel like he’s one of your producers. He’s just one of us,” he said. “Sometimes, he’s even the one who would suggest that we do another take.”
And despite Vic being technically his boss, he never tries to micromanage Mike’s work. “He gives me liberty when it comes to creative choices,” Mike related. “He sticks to the script but gives suggestions or tips once in a while.” For “The Don Identity,” Mike, a fan of the heist genre, drew inspiration from films like the “Ocean’s” series. And to shake things up, he switched around his artists’ roles to create a new dynamic: Jose Manalo, Vic’s perennial sidekick, was made to portray the villain; and Maine doesn’t play Vic’s daughter for a change. “I wanted to take them out of their comfort zones a little bit,” Mike said. “So I thought, why not make Bossing and Maine’s characters at odds with each other? At the end of the day, the central theme of the film is family—that’s why I surrounded myself with artists I consider family.”
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