Laurice Guillen on ‘being mean’ to Jodi Sta. Maria and Joshua Garcia
Seasoned actress Laurice Guillen said that while she has had a ball of a time portraying the cruel Lily Tansengco-Zhang in the drama series “Unbreak My Heart,” she also had ample opportunity to observe her costars, especially lead actors Jodi Sta. Maria and Joshua Garcia.
“Jodi is really a kind person. I think that in all of her projects, she uses the same approach. You won’t see her mingling with other people before she does her scenes for the day. She just stays inside her room. I think she does method acting,” Laurice told reporters in a recent interview.
“In essence, she’s like that. As an actor, we respect each other’s space. I know that she’s a very reliable actor. You know what to expect from her,” Laurice added.
“Unbreak My Heart” follows the story of Rose Jacinto-Zhang (Jodi), a woman desperate to heal her shattered heart and atone for her sins by rebuilding the family she has lost. Lily is the matron of the wealthy Zhang clan. The series, which was shot in Switzerland and Italy, is currently streaming on Viu and airing on GMA 7. It is codirected by Emmanuel “Manny” Palo and Dolly Dulu.
Richard Yap, who plays Jodi’s estranged husband in the series, is reliable, too, according to Laurice. “He’s the quiet type, but when you’re in a scene together, he will match your energy. He will be right there in the moment with you. He’s OK as a coactor,” she added.
Meanwhile, Laurice thinks Joshua is a “natural” actor. “I don’t know if he would be the next John Lloyd Cruz, just like what people often say about him, but he reminds me of the young John Lloyd in the way he talks and how he looks you straight in the eye. Of course, Joshua is so much different from John Lloyd today. I happened to watch his latest film and it’s really extreme,” she pointed out.
“Joshua and I didn’t have a lot of scenes together, but I noticed that he really has talent. I’ve always felt that he would really prepare for our scenes. The first time we shared a scene was at a party where I asked him, ‘Ano ang pangalan mo? Sino ka ba?’ Lily is really a mean girl,” she said, laughing.
Laurice said she has played numerous villain characters in the past, but it was while doing Lily that she was at her happiest. “In the beginning, I even tried to play subtle. But Direk Manny told me to make big movements. He said, ‘You’re the only kontrabida here, so everything bad has to come from you,’” Laurice recalled. “In our first episodes, you must have seen our mansion. Lily’s favorite is the balcony with the view of the hills. It’s so beautiful; but Lily does not care about anything or anyone but herself. Manny would tell me to scream in anger, so I would.”Laurice said she has taped all her scenes in the series. Her last one was shot in Manila. “I had to attack someone,” she said, not wanting to elaborate.
What Laurice, who also has several TV and movie projects under her belt as a director, gamely talked about were the best practices she observed while working on the series that is coproduced by GMA Network and ABS-CBN’s Dreamscape Entertainment Productions.
“One of the best practices of Dreamscape is that it puts premium on production design, set location, and even the look of each character. Meanwhile, GMA 7 would make sure everything is ironed out in preproduction. You’re sure that there’s no glitch when you’re working with them,” she said.
Working in the series in Europe was not an easy task. Laurice said the Philippine team made sure to work closely with the region’s counterpart film development councils for easy access to set locations there. “We hired a gaffer from Switzerland. Also, our bodyguards there are really tall Swiss guys. We brought them to Italy, too, because Manny said he wanted this show to be a game changer. Even our house help are Swiss-Italians. Manny said since we always see Filipinos as helpers, this one is in reverse,” Laurice explained.
Meanwhile, Laurice, who is also president of the Cinemalaya Foundation, is busy with the promotion of the 19th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which will run from Aug. 4 to Aug. 13 at the PICC in Pasay City.
Ten full-length films and 10 shorts received grants from the Cinemalaya Foundation. “They began shooting when the pandemic started. I don’t know if this would have an influence on their storytelling. I really wish I’d feel excited and not disappointed with what we will see,” she said. INQ