In the 2012 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, LJ Reyes stars with JM de Guzman and Joross Gamboa in the social realist drama, Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino. The film, directed by Lemuel Lorca, depicts the stark poverty in Kalye Marino, Cavite City.
The plot centers on the filth of environment and the everyday survival of its residents.
Lead actor JM plays the role of Intoy, the mussel farmer or “magtatahong,” while LJ portrays the role of Doray, the prostitute.
It is the actress's second time to participate in Cinemalaya. In 2010, LJ bagged the Best Supporting Actress award for The Leaving.
In Intoy Syokoy, Doray feels no guilt or remorse in selling her body so long as she can tend to the needs of her two younger siblings.
The role is LJ’s most challenging as it required her to shoot amid the squalor of Kalye Marino and to internalize the plight of Doray.
Did LJ have a “peg” for her character Doray?
“Ang hirap niya lagyan ng peg dahil nagulat ako na ang bayaran dito, isda lang. Hindi siya binabayaran ng pera. Poor area sila, e. Yun yung condition nung place.
“So anong puwedeng bayaran? Kahit yung mga mangingisda, isang kahig, isang tuka. So, ang binibigay sa kanya, isda. Yun yung payment sa kanya.
“Tapos ang ginagawa niya, kukuha siya ng para sa kanila, kakainin nila and the rest, binebenta niya.”
This is the first time the 24-year-old actress is playing the role of a prostitute. LJ admits she initially had reservations about what the script required of her.
“I was very nervous and scared at first. Pag binasa mo yung script, oh my God, merong love scenes, dalawang beses sa customer!
“Siyempre, pag customer, hindi artista yun! Hindi ko sila kilala dahil siyempre pag ganung mga sensitive na eksena, mas madali kung kilala mo talaga yung ka-eksena mo. Kaso hindi, e!”
Prior to shooting Intoy Syokoy, LJ attended a workshop with veteran actor Ping Medina.
“Sabi ko [sa kanya,] ‘Puwede pong kayo na lang yung customer ko na isa?’