Why Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly de Leon felt nervous, intimidated by each other | Inquirer Entertainment

Why Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly de Leon felt nervous, intimidated by each other

/ 12:25 AM August 30, 2023

Scene from “A Very Good Girl”

Scene from “A Very Good Girl”

Actress Dolly de Leon is hopeful that “A Very Good Girl,” the project she made with Kathryn Bernardo, will be that movie that will “open the doors of Philippine cinema once again.”

“I have faith in the Filipino audience that they are looking forward to watching homegrown work again. I know some people say that movies are just a form of entertainment. This is not true. Movies help shape and build an economy.


“The film industry enables other industries to move, like food, retail and beauty. The things we use in filmmaking every day, they flourish because of movies,” she told Inquirer Entertainment during the media gathering that marked the start of ABS-CBN Film Production’s promotional campaign for this dark comedy film by Petersen Vargas.


“I’m very proud of this project because I’m helping open the doors again for people to come back to the cinemas and have a cinematic experience. It’s different if you watch movies inside the movie theater. You get the full experience with popcorn, your friends and on a full screen. This movie is very important to me, and to all, actually,” Dolly said of the film that premieres in local cinemas nationwide on Sept. 27.

A Very Good Girl” tells the story of two self-made women—Dolly as Molly and Kathryn as Philo—and how they navigate life. “We’ve been done shooting this for quite a while now. Watching the trailer for the first time gives me a feeling of nostalgia. Thanks to the team that made it. I feel that it didn’t give away too much. It’s like we’ve only scratched the surface,” she declared.

Meanwhile, Kathryn recalled what it was like to work with Dolly, an experience that, in the beginning, made her feel “intimidated” and later, “pressured, but in a good way.”

She explained: “When the story was pitched to me, the first thing I asked was, ‘Who are we going to get as Mother Molly?’ When they said it was Ms D (a nickname Kath used to call Dolly), I answered, ‘Do you really think she’d have time for this?’ I heard that she was about to start working on her Hollywood project at that time. The team said they would still try to ask her.”

Good pressure

Kathryn and Dolly, along with Petersen, eventually met up to bond. “The goal was to get to know each other, to understand each other’s work ethic. But when we were already on the set, and I saw Ms D all glammed up, I really felt intimidated, especially because I saw how she would focus and prepare for her scenes. I told myself, ‘Oh my God! I got to keep up!’”

Kathryn added: “Eventually, this feeling of being intimidated changed into feeling pressure—a good kind of pressure—because she didn’t make me feel I had to do good so I could keep up with her. She was actually very supportive. I really wanted to be good so Ms D would feel that this project was worth saying ‘yes’ to.”


Dolly said she met Kathryn for the first time when the latter was only 12. “Ibang tao ka pa noon,” she told Kathryn, adding that it was the young actress’ mom, Min, whom she would often chat with at work.

Kathryn Bernardo as Philo

Kathryn Bernardo as Philo

“When I met her again recently for this, I was super nervous. This was because when the project was pitched to me via Zoom, I already liked the story. When I asked who would play Philo, the young woman, the team said it would be Kathryn. I said, ‘Yes, I want to do this as soon as possible!’” Dolly recalled.

“I’ve admired Kathryn for so long. She was really good in ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye.’ Also, my impression of her was that she is a good person and that I’d work well with her. When I met her, I realized that she wasn’t just kind, she’s also a cool person. On the set, she is creative. She would put forward a lot of her ideas. It’s funny that she felt intimidated by me because I also felt nervous being around her during the first few days at work,” the actress said.

More comfortable

Dolly said that, eventually, she felt more comfortable. There were even times when she would chastise herself whenever she caught herself “watching” Kathryn. “It’s a no-no as an actor that when you’re in a scene, you just stand there and watch your coactor. You also have to be in that scene as your character. There were many times when I’d just watch her while she acted. I’d say to myself, ‘Stop it! You’re Molly now, not Dolly!’ It’s true that I learned a lot from her. She actually had nothing to learn from me,” Dolly said.

“She’s just saying that! The truth was that she helped me in all of my scenes,” Kathryn interjected.

Dolly then shared an interesting lesson she got from her younger coactor. “I’m not a very technical actor. In fact, I don’t even look at the monitor after the take. Kathryn is very technical, which is a good thing. She knows how to play with the camera. She has memorized all the angles of her face. She is very in touch with her emotions and vulnerability, and she can bring them out to make them work with the angle of the camera. It’s a skill that she has and I don’t have,” she explained.

Dolly de Leon as Molly

Dolly de Leon as Molly

Kathryn said the project was really difficult for her since she was used to doing romantic films. “I really needed someone to hold on to. It’s good that I have P (Petersen), Ms D and everybody. There were times when I felt I was doing everything wrong, but once Ms D said, ‘That’s fine, Kath. I felt that!’ It’s like an assurance that I’m on the right track, that I just needed to believe in myself,” Kathryn pointed out.

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“It’s hard to explain without giving away the story, but Philo is a gray character. Her personality, her values, are also very different from mine. I was tasked to do the role with a very short amount of time to prepare, so there were times when I really felt lost. During those moments, I’d look at her and ask, ‘OK ba ‘yon?’ I had the best support system!” INQ


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TAGS: A Very Good Girl, Dolly de Leon, Entertainment, Kathryn Bernardo

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