What drives Enchong, Jasmine and direk RC to create an alter account
The alter world may seem a naughty or even sleazy choice as a backdrop for a rom-com, but director RC delos Reyes’ third romantic comedy, “Alter Me,” merely utilizes that alternate reality to tell the breezy romance that blossoms between uptight human resource executive Aimee (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) and down-on-his-luck nice guy Uno (Enchong Dee), who moonlights as a pay-for-play sex object for sexually repressed women to make ends meet.
For Enchong and Jasmine, however, there’s more to their film than the featherlight treatment of its subject matter suggests.
“Playing Uno reminded me of the importance of loving oneself above all else,” Enchong said during our recent three-on-one video interview with him, Jasmine and Direk RC when asked what it was about his character that appealed to him. “Pinaalala sa akin ni Uno na bago ka magbuhos ng pagmamahal sa ibang tao, punuan mo muna ang sarili mo ng pagmamahal. Then after that, you can shower others with love.
“It’s a reminder that I get to use even in my personal life. More than that, the film also shows how in touch Filipinos are with their intimate selves.”
For her part, Jasmine sees a lot of similarities between Aimee and previous experiences in her life that helped shape the confident, more self-assured woman she has become.
“Oh yes, I also saw myself in her. ’Yung pagiging very strict and uptight n’ya with what she needs to do and what she wants to achieve in life,” disclosed the beautiful actress, who was obviously more relaxed in the presence of the playful and easygoing Enchong and their good-natured director.
She added, “But iba rin naman ako. Like, I’ve already learned [from my mistakes], whereas Aimee is still in the process of self-discovery and learning how to become that version of herself that she can be happy with—I think I’ve surpassed that already.
“I’ve been through that journey before, kaya na-identify ko agad ang part na nadaanan ko when I was doing it. Having said that, it feels different when you’re portraying the character because it’s her life, not yours.”
True enough, both Enchong and Jasmine said that they came out of the project with a less gilded, more enlightened view of love.
Asked if she could relate to the sense of betrayal that Aimee felt—from the father who left her to the man who ended up deprioritizing her and their relationship—Jasmine nodded and said, “Uh-huh. I’ve been there (laughs)!”
For the affable Direk RC, who’s hot on the heels of his twin successes with the Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Mary, Marry Me” and the Xian Lim-Alex Gonzaga starrer “Love the Way U Lie,” the movie presented a different kind of test for his storytelling mettle.
“The biggest challenge for me were Uno’s intimate scenes with Aimee, as well as Enchong’s steamy sequences at the start. After all, most of my films are wholesome, with just a tinge of naughtiness (laughs) … because they’re comedies,” RC explained. “But this time, I had to unleash the sexual RC in me to give those sequences justice (laughs).
“As to why the secretive alter world was used to frame Uno and Aimee’s romance, it’s just a backdrop that helped set the stage for them to meet. What the story really focuses on is when the two characters finally ‘connect’ in the real world.
“I’m not saying that the alter world is ‘sikat’ these days, but with the advent and popularity of social media, more and more people are driven to create alter accounts with the hope of finding a measure of fulfillment in their lives.”
If Aimee uses her alter account to express herself sexually and shake off her inhibitions and Uno tries to make a living out of it, what would justify the two stars from creating an alter account?
“I already have one (laughs),” quipped Jasmine.
“You mean you lurk Enchong?” we asked her. “Hindi lang n’ya alam (laughs)!” Jasmine gamely replied.
“I also have one, obviously,” RC winkingly interjected, laughing.
“There was a point when I had one,” Enchong admitted cryptically. “But it was just lurking—it wasn’t something that I used to interact with people. Minsan kasi, katulad ng sa pelikula, it’s more of a release … na kailangan mong gawan ng paraan because if not, ikaw rin ang mapeperwisyo.”
Given the happy tone of this exchange, it was just a matter of time before Enchong and Jasmine professed their “love” and respect for each other.
“I love Jasmine,” Enchong said matter of factly. “If we’d get a shot at another project, I’d be only too happy to do it.”
“It’s the same for me, really,” Jasmine shot back. “What I learned about working with him is how much a friendship can contribute to onscreen chemistry. Kasi, dati, I’ve always been someone to act professionally in the workplace. I want to make sure I’m not crossing boundaries with my partners onscreen. I also don’t want to be misunderstood na baka akala nila, I’m trying to make it (the screen romance) happen in real life.
“So, it’s nice when you can establish a friendship without that insecurity in your head … na baka mamaya, my God, I’m already being too flirty and it would be misconstrued for something else. What I learned is that when you establish a good friendship, like what Enchong and I were able to do, everything becomes easy. Then, you produce good work in the end.”
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