‘Small but significant’ role for Ritz in Mamasapano film
In our industry, it’s not how popular you’ve become, but how long you’ve lasted that’s more important,” said actress Ritz Azul, who also believes that longevity is the basis of how effective a person really is in his work as an actor.
“I was never picky when it came to accepting projects. I’m in this industry as an actor. I don’t turn down a role just because it’s small. I want to be able to experience all that my work has to offer. I’m just lucky that when I first joined the business, most of the projects assigned to me required me to play lead roles,” she told Inquirer Entertainment during a recent media gathering for the action-drama “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told.”
“These days, I’m happy to accept offers to do supporting roles. I believe that this industry doesn’t base success on how popular you are, but on how long you’ve lasted because, as we would always hear people say, acting is not a stable job,” Ritz pointed out. “Acting is a passion for me. As long as I have a character to play, I’m happy. Why would I turn down the opportunity to be part of a movie like this when it has a noble intention?”
“Mamasapano,” directed by Lester Dimaranan, tells the tragic story of the so-called Mamasapano massacre on Jan. 25, 2015, when members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force had an encounter with two of the world’s most wanted Islamic terrorists.
Told in nonlinear fashion, the film alternates between battle scenes and the proceedings of the PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group Board of Inquiry. It gives a unique perspective of that disastrous incident from the point of view of the investigators, survivors and witnesses.
Ritz and actress Myrtle Sarrosa play field reporters from rival broadcast networks. “When I read the script, I said, ‘This seems good.’ Even though I will be seen in the film for only short periods, the role is important and the film is big. It attempts to tell the truth about what happened in Mamasapano during that fateful time,” she began.
“The role I play here is also new to me. I had to study how to act like a reporter. It was challenging for me and Myrtle because we’re rivals here,” she explained. “Before this project, I never knew that news reporters also feel pressured because of the network war. I used to think that they just tell the story, report the news, and that’s it. It’s really good to be able to assume different roles because you learn new things.”
Ritz said her and Myrtle’s character will try to outdo each other in the film. “Patalbugan kami. I’m the more senior one, while Myrtle is relatively new. And no, I didn’t try to copy any broadcast reporter. Since mine is a fictional character, I created one by watching news programs,” the actress said.
Ritz opted to lay low from show biz after she got married in November 2021. While on break, she said she took on a new sport and a hobby. “I’m into golf now because my husband (Allan Guy) is a golfer. I’m happy to have found a new sport to focus on. The downside is that I have terrible tan lines,” she said, laughing. “I’m also into pottery now. I’ve been doing this since the start of the pandemic. It enables me to meditate. We all went through a lot during that difficult period. This hobby helped me relieve myself of stress and frustrations.”
Taking a break from work was something that Ritz and Allan talked about after they got engaged. “I told him that I would very much want to continue acting. It’s just that, now, I’ll have limitations. That’s a personal choice. Allan is so supportive that he would become my stylist sometimes.”
Ritz continued: “I’m really happy with my life now. I used to feel frustrated with my schedule. I would go to tapings every single day, no rest. After 10 years of working in show biz, I’m now able to do what I want, when I want to. Ang sarap ng pakiramdam! I guess this is why I’ve grown a lot heavier lately.”
Ritz said she has left Star Magic, her talent management company, and has decided to be a freelancer. “I wanted to focus on my personal life,” she stressed, adding that she hoped to start working behind the cameras soon. “I really want to become a director. Back when I was still doing teleseryes, I would try working as AD (assistant director) because I wanted to experience it. I want to start from the bottom and work my way up. I also want to see for myself what production people go through.”
“Mamasapano” is an official entry to the 2022 Metro Manila Film Festival in December. A production of Borracho Films, it also features Edu Manzano, Paolo Gumabao, Aljur Abrenica, Allan Paule, Rey PJ Abellana and Gerald Santos. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.