Director says Marian Rivera 'went to dark places for her character'

‘Balota’ director on Marian Rivera: She went to dark places for her character

/ 12:25 AM June 18, 2024

‘Balota’ director on Marian Rivera: She went to dark places for her character

Marian Rivera at CAD Clinic —MARINEL CRUZ

Actress Marian Rivera, who plays the lead in the independent movie “Balota,” said she did not agree to using a stunt double for her action scenes, and so she ended up with cuts and bruises.

“Balota” is director Kip Oebanda’s entry to this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which will run in August.


“I’m excited because I did a lot of firsts in this movie. For one, Direk wanted a no-makeup look. Here, I also had to deliver lines the way I’ve never done in my other films and TV series. Also, I insisted on not using any body double for my fight scenes. That’s why I went home with cuts and bruises. I didn’t mind. I knew they would all heal eventually, anyway. What’s important is that I was able to give my 100 percent to the film,” the actress told reporters during a recent media gathering.


Marian plays a teacher tasked to be a poll watcher during the 2007 elections in “Balota.” In a separate interview with Inquirer Entertainment, Kip explained that Marian’s cuts and bruises were partly because she insisted on being real and truthful in portraying her character.

“We had on the set a ballot box that was actually used in 2007. It was made of steel and weighed six kilos with the ballots inside. We had a rubber version made, but she didn’t want to use that. The steel ballot box was tied to her wrist. While she was running, the box kept hitting her. That’s one of the reasons she got bruises,” he said.

Compelling part

“Her explanation to me was that she really wanted to go through what her character had experienced. We were also surprised because there were times when, while shooting scenes on the forest floor, instead of putting fake dirt on her face and body, she would just put actual soil on herself,” Kip recalled.

When asked what he discovered about Marian while shooting, Kip said: “What is very clear to me about Marian is that she is a very family-centered person. She would arrive on time, so we were able to start early, and we would eventually release her early. She really loves her family and this, I feel, is a compelling part of her character since this is a mother-and-son story.”


Kip said it was good that Marian was able to bring out and show this side of her—being protective of her family—but he thinks the actress has not fully explored this just yet.

“The one thing that really surprised me was her range. Here, she was absolutely pushed to her limits, not just physically but also emotionally. She really went to dark places for the character. But since my method is about the character and not the actor, she was able to let go easily. When people see this on screen, they themselves will be surprised with Marian’s acting range. In terms of her delivery of lines, all I can say is this: How do you think a feisty teacher would talk if her family and community are in danger? You wouldn’t be so nice about it. You would most likely say some choice words.”


Marian added that because of “Balota,” she is now considering doing action movies in the future. “I guess so, after this one. The experience was a memorable one for me. This movie is a combination of suspense, action, drama and comedy,” she said.

More Cinemalaya projects

The mainstream actress said working with Kip and his team encouraged her to be more open to participating in future Cinemalaya projects. “Nakakakilig. I had fun. After doing ‘Balota,’ I want to do more Cinemalaya films,” she said, adding that she is also part of her husband Dingdong Dantes’ film production outfit, Agosto Dos.

Marian has just wrapped up taping for her TV series, “My Guardian Alien,” on GMA-7. She said: “We’ve been working on it for a year. It’s time to end it. I will miss working on the show, especially my bonding moments with Max (Collins). I’m already close with the other cast, like Kuya Gabby (Concepcion), so I’m really pleased with this friendship with Max, especially because I noticed that she felt uneasy being around me in the beginning.”

Meanwhile, the press conference was held to launch Marian as the latest ambassador of the Center for Advanced Dentistry (CAD), which is located in Bonifacio Global City. “My two kids are not afraid of going to the dentist. This is because I make an effort to explain to them why they need to visit the clinic. I guess that’s the reason other kids are scared. Parents fail to orient them on what dentists do for their oral health,” said Marian during her formal contract-signing with doctors Nelda Valencia-Eufemio, Mia Valencia-Angeles and Carlito Librando.

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She said she was feeling excited to avail of CAD’s services herself. “I always say in my interviews that while moms like me do a lot of things to take care of our husbands and children, it is also important that we take care of ourselves. We have to schedule our ‘me’ time regularly. As they say, you will only be able to care for your loved ones if you are also well taken care of,” she pointed out. INQ

TAGS: Marian Rivera

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