Elijah Canlas takes steps to fulfill Hollywood dream
Right now, the dream is more alive than ever,” said actor Elijah Canlas, who, despite being one of the most in-demand actors in the country, is also taking steps to pursue a career in Hollywood.
“I want to direct a film someday. But I also want to be a part of a Hollywood production, like ‘Triangle of Sadness’ or anything of that calibre. That would be a blessing and a dream come true,” he told Inquirer Entertainment recently, adding that he has been sending audition videos to various production outfits abroad.
“At this age, it’s already easy to do this. Sending self-taped auditions is practiced not only in Hollywood, but in different countries as well. I’ve sent three or four videos already. A couple of weeks ago, I met international agents who came to Manila to visit [through Cornerstone Entertainment, where he is a talent]. Yes, we’re taking steps. I’ve submitted videos, although no one has picked it up yet … but that’s the actor’s life.”
Elijah said he was proud of what Dolly de Leon, who plays his mom in the upcoming movie “Keys to the Heart,” has achieved globally through her movie “Triangle of Sadness.”
‘Living the dream’
“When we began shooting, I was surprised when I heard her call me by my nickname, Jelo. She said she’d been watching me since I was 12, while performing in theater. I call her Nanay now. I send her messages from time to time, especially recently when I watched her at the Oscars. She is definitely living the dream,” Elijah declared.
In “Keys to the Heart,” Elijah plays a child with autism spectrum disorder. Zanjoe Marudo plays his older brother. “I don’t watch TV often, so I only got to watch his romantic-comedy films. I didn’t know how he would approach his character. He is perfect for the role. I honestly didn’t think he took the craft seriously. Bilib ako sa kanya. I’m happy that I get to work with him here,” Elijah said of Zanjoe.
The 22-year-old is currently promoting a different film for the first edition of the Summer Metro Manila Film Festival, which will run from April 8 to 18. Jun Robles Lana’s dramatic piece “About Us But Not About Us” also features Romnick Sarmenta.
Secrets and lies
In the film, a literature professor (Romnick) meets his student (Elijah) at a restaurant. Over the course of one meal, secrets and lies will be unearthed and the sinister connection to a suicide will be revealed.
Asked how Romnick guided him throughout the five-day shoot for the movie, Elijah said: “He did that just by being the kindest coactor. Even during rehearsals, he would do something I totally didn’t expect. I’d say to myself, I need to match what Kuya Nick has given me. He was already at performance level even during rehearsals. It was a very healthy competition.”
Elijah said they did script reading a day before the shooting. “Kuya Nick and I ran through everything without cuts. It was tough because it took me one week to memorize the whole thing. Although if you ask most actors, especially in theater, memorizing is the easiest part of the performance. it’s the act of putting in the nuances and depth that is more difficult because you have different choices based on how you interpret the text,” he explained.
“About Us But Not About Us,” a coproduction of Octoberian Films, The IdeaFirst Company and Quantum Films, won for Lana the best director award at the 2022 Tallinn Black Night Film Festival in Estonia.