She’s an actress from Take 1 so I had to rehearse my scenes three to five times, ”said actress Maja Salvador, who had to work closely with first-time actress Shella Mae Romualdo , for Mikhail Red’s revenge-themed action film “Arisaka. “
“It helped that Shella Mae and I attended a workshop before the shoot. I liked that it was so easy to work with, considering it was her first film, ”Maja said during a recent special screening of“ Arisaka ”at Ayala Circuit Cinemas in Makati City.
Mikhail first met Shella Mae, who is a full-fledged Aeta, at a drama workshop for non-actors asked to appear on the film. He said Shella Mae was not the first choice to play Nawi, the mysterious girl that Maja’s character eventually meets in the forest.
“Shella Mae got to watch my teleserye, ‘Ina, Kapatid, Anak’ and she liked my character Margaux. She didn’t recognize me [at first] because Mariano, my character in ‘Arisaka’, always looked dirty and bloody on set while Margaux was still in makeup and always wore high heels. When I explained it to her, she said, “Ay kilala pala kita. She’s so funny, ”Maja remembers, laughing.
Playing policewoman Mariano in the film, however, was no laughing matter, Maja said. “I had to do a lot of action scenes. I guess I was able to do them because being an action star is in my blood, since I’m Phillip Salvador’s niece. What was difficult was that I had to redo the scenes several times for different camera angles and I had to be consistent in my performance. Once the director said, “action! I really had to get into the scene, especially if it’s a scene with Kuya Mon (Confiado, who plays the villainous Sonny). He’s such an intense actor, ”she joked.
While Mon felt excited about this particular film as he had to utter poetic phrases, Maja, on the other hand, felt challenged as she had virtually no speaking lines. “I liked the script right away, but in my mind I asked, ‘How can I effectively portray my character with almost no lines? I had to make sure the audience was still hooked on Mariano. I was happy that Direk Mik helped me a lot to create it.
Maja explained why “Arisaka” is a project she couldn’t say “no” to. “First of all, it’s made by a critically acclaimed artist. Second, it’s produced by Ten17P, the team that gave me a Best Urian Actress for “Thelma”. They have a special place in my heart, ”she said. “Third, I took on the role because it talks so much about empowering women. “
She added: “In the film, Mariano falls several times but keeps getting up. It is also very principled. She has a mission and she doesn’t stop until she is able to complete it. Just like her, we all have personal missions. We don’t just stop when we already feel tired from working to accomplish this.
“I would say ‘yes’ to a project if I’m able to relate to the character, if I’m curious about her and if I want to experience being her,” she added.
Prime Minister of Tokyo
“Arisaka” premiered at the 2021 Tokyo International Film Festival in Japan. Maja said she felt touched by the positive comments she received there. “I was able to read articles from different publications in different countries. I’m proud that they are enjoying ‘Arisaka’, that we can make another film that is up to world standards.
The film has been streaming on Netflix Asia since December 9. “This news makes me want to make more films. We are now able to present our work not only through the networks we are affiliated with, but also through these streaming platforms. For us actors, that means we can do a lot more, even though most cinemas across the country remain closed due to the pandemic. For an actress like me, being on Netflix is a huge achievement. This means that I can reach a wider audience, ”she stressed.
Also earlier this year, Maja set up a talent management group called The Crown Artist Management. Among his main talents are award-winning actors John Lloyd Cruz and Jasmine Curtis-Smith.
“The year 2022 will be very exciting. Many new names will be included in our list. We are very grateful to John Lloyd and Jasmine for trusting us. People became more curious about our business when these two decided to join us. I am grateful that in this industry we are all trying to help each other, ”she said. INQ
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