Glaiza de Castro on serial killings in PH, feeling unsafe abroad
When actress Glaiza de Castro agreed to be part of Louie Ignacio’s horror-thriller “Slay Zone,” she also committed to wearing two very different hats: one as an actress, the other as a producer.
Glaiza said this meant that she was already involved in the process of creating her character, vlogger/social media influencer Veronica Ledesma or V. “When the project was first presented to me, it was just a concept. I only knew that it would be a thriller and that I would be working with Mamang Pokwang. My character was only at 10 percent in terms of development. She didn’t even have a name yet,” Glaiza told Inquirer Entertainment in a virtual interview from Korea where she is shooting a TV series.
“To make the story relevant, we tried to define her first in terms of her occupation. There are so many interesting personalities on social media these days. We see a lot about them, either real-life stories and news, or work-related posts. Like me, we sometimes work with brands so we have an image to protect.”
“This is why I said ‘yes’ to it. I liked the idea that I’m involved in the creative process. Of course, during the shoot, Direk Louie also had a lot of inserts in relation to my character and Mamang’s, so this is really a collaboration,” the actress added.
Glaiza then tried to explain what the story is about based on V’s perspective. “She regards the topic of the slay zone as a big platform for her as an influence. She has many secrets. I don’t think she’s aware if she has already overcome her insecurities and has accepted her past. We can’t even be sure if Veronica assumed a new identity when she changed her name to V,” she said.
The film is set in a rural area called Pulang Araw, which is headed by the newly appointed police captain Corazon Fernandez (Pokwang) and is being promoted on social media by V. The place suddenly turns into a slay zone when a series of killings happens. In the course of finding out the truth behind the murders, the lives of people close to them are endangered.
Being a coproducer of the film (under Wide International Film Productions) is not so different from what Glaiza does with her music, she pointed out. “If we hear the word ‘producer,’ we think it entails a really big responsibility. It actually does. I’m grateful that Wide has allowed me to be part of the creative process. I’m hoping that this will happen in all the projects that we will be making in the future. I’m given additional responsibilities and challenges, and another chance to explore beyond my capabilities as an actor. My work doesn’t just end in acting out my character. I’m excited about the possibilities of me being a member of both the creative and production teams,” she added.
Glaiza described her costar Pokwang as “a mom, a friend and a big sister on the set all rolled into one.” She recalled: “We stayed in one standby area so we became close. She’s very thoughtful. I appreciated all her simple gestures of kindness, of her making sure I’m comfortable. You see, we all look after each other during shoots, especially since what we’re doing is not comedy and a lot of our scenes require physical acting. As you’ve seen in the trailer—it’s extremely bloody.”
As to whether or not the film attempts to make a statement on the idea that there could be serial killers in the Philippines, Glaiza said: “Wherever you go, be it in the Philippines or here in Korea, there will be a point in your stay when you’ll feel kind of unsafe. There was a time when, I tried to go to a particular restaurant that I was keen on trying on my own. I rode the subway and when I realized that I was already lost, I felt scared. I stepped out of the train even when I wasn’t supposed to because I suddenly felt claustrophobic. I don’t know what happened to me, but the feeling kind of reminded me of the Itaewon tragedy.”
She continued: “When I was already walking, a weird-looking man followed me and tried to catch my attention by talking to me. I couldn’t understand him, and so I thought I must have dropped something from my bag. I wasn’t sure if he had good intentions, but at that moment, I didn’t feel safe. As much as possible, don’t let your guard down,” she pointed out. “Of course, I also know that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge. Some people could have a chemical imbalance in their brains and are not aware of their medical condition. It’s also possible that they are unaware that what they’re doing is already wrong. It’s interesting to tackle topics like that. I’m sorry if that’s all I could say, at the risk of my explanation ending up being a huge spoiler.”
“Slay Zone,” which starts screening nationwide on Feb. 14, also features Queenay Mercado. Richard Armstrong, Maui Taylor, Rico Barrera, Abed Green, Lou Veloso, Hero Bautista, Paolo Rivero, Raul Morit and Kuya Kim Atienza. INQ