How Carla Abellana channeled postbreakup ‘vulnerability’ into ‘Voltes V’ role
Carla Abellana was in a “vulnerable” state when she started shooting last year for the upcoming science fantasy series “Voltes V: Legacy.”
She was still reeling from her breakup with her ex-husband, Tom Rodriguez. While she felt a change in environment would do her good, Carla couldn’t help but feel anxious about returning to work, especially with all the noise surrounding the issue.
But instead of letting her worries get the best of her, the GMA 7 artist channeled them into her portrayal of the heroic scientist and mother Mary Ann Armstrong. “Because I felt vulnerable at the time, it was easier to get in touch with my emotions. Mas madali humugot. There wasn’t really a connection between my role and what I went through, but at least I was able to draw the emotions needed,” she told the Inquirer in a recent virtual pocket interview.
“It’s OK to be vulnerable. Sometimes, that can be healthy, instead of being guarded and not being in touch with your feelings,” she said. “And that’s important for us actors.”
It has been almost a year since news about Carla and Tom’s separation hogged the headlines. No doubt, she’s in a better place right now. But “better,” in her case, doesn’t necessarily mean “happier.”
“I’m not sure about being happier. But compared to how I was a year ago, things are very different [now]… better. I take care of myself more,” she said.
And for the 36-year-old star, self-care entails letting go of things that are “toxic,” negative or beyond her control. “There was also a lot of acceptance involved. And I always try to be grateful. I count my blessings every day. So I guess those things helped,” she said.
Teased that she seemed to be handling the “moving on” phase well, she pointed out that, at times, it really is a matter of necessity.
“As women, we have to endure a lot of things. My belief is that we all have that ability [to move on], especially when you don’t have a choice but to stand up, work and function. You have to take whatever life throws at you, or takes away from you. To be honest, I don’t know how I did it,” she said. But she wouldn’t be doing as well as she is doing now if it weren’t for her loved ones and for professional help. “I give a lot of credit to my family, especially my mother and sister. I also sought professional help. I wouldn’t have been able to make it without the guidance of professionals,” she said.
Faith in God is another important part of the equation. “I now have a closer relationship with Him,” she said.
“Voltes V: Legacy” is a live-action adaptation of the iconic 1970s anime “Chōdenji Machine Voltes V,” or simply, “Voltes V.” It follows the exploits of a specially trained five-member squad against the Boazanian Empire, an alien faction that seeks to invade Earth.
Mary Ann is a scientist who assisted her husband, Ned Armstrong (Dennis Trillo) in creating Voltes V. Their three sons, Steve (Miguel Tanfelix), Big Bert (Matt Lozano) and Little Jon (Raphael Landicho)—together with friends Jamie Robinson (Ysabel Ortega) and Mark Gordon (Radson Flores)—are then tasked to pilot the battle robot to help defend the human race.
Carla is no stranger to playing mother roles. And she didn’t mind being asked to play another one in this series. “I’m not saying I’m good at it, but it’s not too far from my acting comfort zone. I love working with younger actors and children. I find joy in knowing that I get to work with people who are just starting out. It feels nice to be part of their growing careers,” she said. It’s no secret that Mary Ann sacrifices herself and dies early on in the series. And while her screen time will remain pretty much the same in the live-action version, the character’s backstory, Carla said, will be fleshed out.
“We will see more of how she meets Ned, how they fall in love and start their own family,” she related.
“We will also see more of her inner turmoil as a mother and scientist. She has important decisions to make for the sake of the planet. But she also has three sons who depend on her. Which hat will she choose to put on at a given situation? These are the kind of moments that we will see from her,” she said.