Singer-turned-actress Lovi Poe takes her acting career to a different level with Sagrada Familia. Directed and written by multi-awarded tandem of Joel Lamangan and Raquel Villavicencio, Sagrada Familia tells the story of Kat Asero (Lovi), a young girl who is physically and emotionally abused by her own father. Her father in the movie is portrayed by Emilio Garcia while her mother is portrayed by Snooky Serna.
Lovi, the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr. and former actress-model Rowena Moran, was initially hesitant about accepting the role. But realized she has to grow and mature as an actress. "At first, I was hesitant to accept it because I have to do daring scenes. But when I read the script, I thought it's really good and I really wanted to grab the opportunity to work with Direk Joel Lamangan."
She admitted that she was apprehensive and distressed doing the daring scenes with co-actor Emilio Garcia. "I was actually nervous na gawin yung mga eksena especially the rape scene with Tito Emilio. I had three rape scenes sa movie. But he's really a good actor. Napaka-effective sa role as an abusive father kaya nadala ako sa eksena. It's good I feel comfortable kay Tito Emilio kasi we have the same manager."
But Lovi had a much harder time doing the bed scene with her suitor in the movie, Felix Roco. She said she had to talk to Felix on how they would execute the scene. "It was the most difficult and scariest scene na nagawa ko! I was nervous kasi it was my first time to do a bed scene. Ganun din si Felix, first time nyang gawin yun. In all fairness to Felix, napaka-gentleman nya. I never felt he took advantage of the scene."
In the said bed scene, Felix had butt exposure. "Pero di ko siya tiningnan at all. Nahihiya ako. Besides, sa eksena naka-plaster naman yun at may cover rin ako," she laughed.
This is not the first time Lovi potrayed a role involving carnal relationship. In Walang Hanggang Paalam, an indie film written and directed by Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos, Lovi was also involved in an incestuous relationship. Since Sagrada Familia is her second movie doing delicate scenes, Lovi is quite open to doing more daring roles in the future. "I'm open to doing daring roles kung kailangan talaga sa story. My dream role talaga is to portray mature, kakaibang roles that has sense," she explained.
GRADED "A" BY CEB. Joel Lamangan is definitely on a roll with his third straight graded "A" film after Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love and Dukot.
The Cinema Evaluation Board gave Sagrada Familia a grade of "A" and cited the film as a "powerful adaptation of classic Greek tragedy transposed into local setting, the potentially explosive proceedings threatening to destroy everything in its path until the director reins in the pathos in the nick of time."
Direk Joel is all praises for Lovi's performance in the film. The multi-awarded director said that Lovi is a revelation in the film and he was that glad that he took a gamble on her. "Nung una, nag-doubt ako kasi alam kong malaking role to para sa kanya. Pero after two shooting days, I have found an intelligent, sensitive actress in her," he said.
EMILIO GARCIA. Urian awardee Emilio Garcia gives an intense portrayal of Johnny Asero, the abusive father who feels abandoned by his wife (Snooky). He sexually abuses his daughter Kat Asero (Lovi Poe) and threatens his mother (Gloria Diaz) not to interfere with his actions.
One CEB member suggested that Emilio's performance as the deranged father "should be nominated for this cautionary tale about the sacredness of family and the extremes it can lead to...it brings back memories of Vic Silayan in Kisapmata."
Emilio, flattered by the reviews, said, "It's really an honor for me na maraming nagagandahan at nagagalingan sa performance ko. I owe this not only to my director but also to my co-actors dahil magagaling silang lahat."
When asked about his working relationship with Direk Joel, he pointed out: "Kahit ilang beses na rin kaming nagkatrabaho ni Direk Joel, kinakabahan pa rin ako. Sa husay nyang director baka hindi ko maibigay yung hinihingi niya sa eksena. Ayoko siyempreng ma-disappoint dahil gusto kong ibigay yung best ko sa bawat role na ginagampanan ko."
SNOOKY SERNA. Snooky plays the lead role of Merle Asero, a mother who worked abroad to support her family. Merle has big dreams for her daughter, who wants to take up medicine. But little does she know that her being away will destroy her family.
Recently, Snooky bagged the Best Supporting Actress plum at the 57th FAMAS Awards with her realistic portrayal as an organ broker in Paupahan and has appeared in several critically-acclaimed political-drama films such as Mel Chionglo's Bente and also Joel Lamangan's Dukot. Snooky admits it would be a blessing receiving an acting award for Sagrada Familia, "I would be very grateful kung mapansin nila ang performance ko dito sa pelikula. It such an honor na ma-recognize ka ng mga nagpipitagan at magagaling na film jurors sa ating bansa. It's a blessing."
GLORIA DIAZ. Beauty queen-turned-actress Gloria Diaz breathes life into her role as the consenting mother of Johnny. When she found out that her son is abusing her granddaughter, she becomes vulnerable but later on, she helps her granddaughter to escape from her deranged son to redeem herself.