Suspense, seduction make thriller film ‘Playtime’ anything but

Suspense, seduction make thriller film ‘Playtime’ anything but

By: - Reporter
/ 12:25 AM June 10, 2024

Suspense, seduction make thriller film ‘Playtime’ anything but

Faye Lorenzo, Coleen Garcia and Sanya Lopez—PHOTOS COURTESY OF GMA PICTURES

Director Mark Reyes told his actors from the get-go that doing the suspense-thriller “Playtime” wouldn’t be anything like what its title suggests.

“There were a lot of difficult scenes. I said it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. It wasn’t going to be a rom-com where you will be just walking on a beach or chatting in a cafe,” Reyes said at a recent press conference for the film, which opens in cinemas on June 12.


About 80 percent of the film was shot outdoors with chase scenes galore. There were guns, knives and booby traps. The actors did almost all the stunts. There were sexy scenes here and there. It was as physically demanding as it was emotionally draining.


Produced by GMA Pictures and Viva Films, “Playtime” revolves around the concept of trust, and the consequences of giving it or breaking it. Three women fall prey to a sexual predator who wears different charming guises to exploit their weaknesses.

Twisted game

Vlogger-influencer Allyson (Sanya Lopez) entertains a seemingly harmless fan. Bride-to-be Roni (Coleen Garcia) decides to hook up with a stranger before tying the knot. Desperate to keep her abusive ex at bay, Patricia (Faye Lorenzo) seeks help from someone she sees as her savior.

Before long, they find themselves trapped in a ramshackle house in the middle of the forest, held hostage by the man they thought they could trust, Lucas (Xian Lim). While it was trust that brought them to this harrowing predicament, it’s also the one thing they have to lean on if they’re to escape Lucas and his twisted games.

“There was a day when we mostly shot chase scenes … scenes where I fell off a cliff but they were all sequenced in a way that allowed us to develop our working dynamic toward the end. We’re so proud of that,” Coleen said.

Faye experienced cramping. “My legs started hurting and stiffening up at one point because I hadn’t warmed up properly. I just ran after hearing, ‘Action!’ As it turned out, I needed some potassium!” related Faye, who chose to do her own fight scenes with Coleen.

“Coleen told me that she was willing to do the fight scenes for real. She said, ‘Hampasin mo ’ko, sabunutan mo ’ko’ so I thought, ‘Kung willing si Coleen, eh ’di magpapabugbog na rin ako!’” Faye said, laughing. “It helped us feel the scene better.”


If you see someone’s face being shoved to the ground, Xian added, then chances are the actor really did it. “The movie isn’t driven by special effects or green screens. Everyone was so pumped up by the story and Direk Mark’s direction that we pretty much did everything,” said the actor, who relishes playing offbeat roles.

Offbeat roles

“There’s that shock factor. If people associate you with romantic comedies or tried-and-tested material, they will say you can’t go back to doing that anymore once you start doing offbeat roles. It’s very fulfilling to be a vessel for different characters. Once I got a taste of playing dark characters, I realized that it felt good doing something that pushes me.”

Is trust something the girls easily give in real life?

Director Mark Reyes

Director Mark Reyes

“I find it hard … There are things about our personal lives that we accidentally share with people we have just met because we feel comfortable with them. But we have to be more careful about the people we share our stories with and know first if that person is worthy of my trust,” Sanya said.

“I have been betrayed a number of times,” Coleen said, “but for some reason, I still easily trust people. The difference now is that I can manage my expectations and know that there’s that possibility that I can be betrayed.”

“I used to trust people easily. But after gaining more experience, I realized that it’s not something I should readily give. Back then, when I see someone with a gentle face and demeanor, I automatically assume he’s kind. But now I’m more scrutinizing,” Faye said.

Complex thriller

The film was inspired by the classic Richard Connell short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” which follows a hunter who becomes the hunted.

“I read it when I was in high school. It’s about a hunter who hunts animals, but eventually gets bored so he starts hunting down humans. It has stuck with me ever since … It had me thinking of coming up with a thriller with that story as the impetus,” Reyes said.

“The girls get into trouble and, almost automatically, they trust each other. But what if someone has an ulterior motive? I want to make the viewers think … I hope it turns out to be the kind of thriller that makes you revisit certain scenes in hopes of figuring out why things turned out the way they did,” he added.

Xian Lim

Xian Lim

Reyes has done drama, action, fantasy, romantic-comedy, science fiction and youth-oriented shows. And in such genres he already knows exactly what buttons to push. In “Playtime,” it’s the sexy elements that threw him out of his comfort zone, he admitted.

“Sanya, for instance, grew up with me directing many of her shows from ‘The Half Sisters’ to the upcoming ‘Sang’gre.’ And now I have to tell her she has to strip for a scene. And then, Faye and Coleen did their sexy scenes … I didn’t know how far Xian was willing to do. It’s only the women you have to be concerned about. Luckily, I was working with real actors,” he said.

Proper guidance

In fact, with Reyes’ guidance and Xian’s support, Sanya never felt uncomfortable with her scenes. “I was a bit nervous at first … But I’m thankful because Xian was easy to work with. He always asked me if I was doing OK,” she related.

“The script just seemed more revealing than how it actually turned out. Hindi malaswa. It just falls under the theme,” Coleen pointed out.

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For Xian, communication is key. “You have to know if, ‘Hanggang dito lang tayo’ or kailangang tumodo. But with the director’s guidance, we can let go. If we’re stiff and afraid, and if we do something we didn’t tell each other about, viewers will notice it,” he said. INQ

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