Max Collins is cast as a probinsyana in Maryo delos Reyes' The Bamboo Flower

Maryo J. de los Reyes is in the process of shooting The Bamboo Flower, his newest film under the Sineng Pambansa initiative of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). This film festival gives veteran filmmakers seed money to make their dream movies set in their hometowns.

The Boholano director joins 11 other filmmakers who are fielding entries for the prestigious 2013 Sineng Pambansa: All Masters Edition this September.

Aside from Direk Maryo, other directors included are Elwood Perez, Romy Suzara, Jun Urbano, Gil Portes, Peque Gallaga, Mel Chionglo, Tikoy Aguiluz, Joel Lamangan, Carlos Siguion-Reyna and Jose Javier Reyes. The fund was established as a way to honor these directors for their contribution to Philippine cinema.

(Read: Veteran filmmakers to take part in 1st Sineng Pambansa All Masters Edition)

GMA-7 actress Max Collins is one of the lead stars of The Bamboo Flower. Before she went to Bohol, was able to interview in a quaint Quezon City coffee shop.

Max says, "We are starting shooting end of this month but then my dates so far are May 29 to June 1."

Since this is her first time to visit Bohol, the Kapuso actress said that she is excited to see the tourist spots of the province.

When she is there she will be sure to "definitely see the tarsiers and the rivers. I've seen pictures and videos of the rivers. More of nature, because I'm a nature lover so I'm excited to tour around just to see the sights."

She describes her role by saying, "I'm Dolores and she is an OJT student working in a resort in Bohol. She has a boyfriend na probinsyano, medyo mahirap ang role ko and mahirap din ang boyfriend ko."

"Tapos I'll meet a foreigner who'll offer me a chance for having a better life abroad with him and it's very simple, it's very subtle and the stories are very true to life."

Aside from Max, The Bamboo Flower also stars Neil Ryan Sese, Mylene Dizon, Diva Montelava, Orlando Sol, Ruru Madrid, among others.

"There are three different stories, lahat ng stories iba-iba, isa ako sa mga stories," explains Max.

"We all cross each other's path somehow but then kanya-kanya ng story."

Max reveals that Orlando Sol, a member of the sing-and-dance male group Masculados, will play her probinsyano boyfriend. She is looking forward to working with Orlando, "because he is a new partner, again. And the relationship between Dolores and his character Luis, I like the dynamics between Luis and Dolores."

"They are just two probinsyanos in love, I'm looking forward to seeing what chemistry we can create."

Paul Homme from PETA will play the foreigner Walter, "I was recently introduced to him. He's a British actor who used to work for the UN, yan palang alam ko, but he's a very nice man."

How is Max preparing for the role of a probinsyana lass?

"I just read the script, very light talaga yung kwento namin, pero true to life and I'm excited because it's gonna be my first time to play plain, a probinsyana, and magpapaitim pa ako, ganoon."

She adds, "I think I might darken my hair again, I already darkened it actually but baka kulang pa and when I get there, I would like to make friends with a lot of the students there para maging true to life din ang portrayal ko.

"I really want it to be from their vision."

"It's very challenging for me because it's very different from the characters I've ever played, that's why I'm so blessed Direk Maryo challenged me with such a role."

"I don't want to let him down."

How has Max seen herself grow the past couple months since she got to work with Direk Maryo?

"I've matured so much because of him, he has taught me so many things, and the trust he has given me, gave me room to grow.

"The fact that he trusts me with heavier roles, because even Magpakailanman, he directed that as well...

"What I love is that he throws challenges at me and he helps me get through that.

"It's more like every project that I have with him gets more exciting."

Max recently starred in the Magpakailanman episode wherein Aljur Abrenica portrayed macho dancer-turned-actor Kristoffer King.

"I am so proud of him," says Max about Aljur. "He really gave it his all, he worked so hard on it. His focus was incredible.

"Bagay talaga sa kanya yung role, bagay na bagay. He was able to pull it off with flying colors, a lot of people loved the episode."

Max tells us her opinion on what makes The Bamboo Flower special. "Maganda yung idea ni Direk Maryo na he wants to show how Filipinos or mainly probinsyanos try to leave their province.

"He wants to bring enlightenment, there's this pag-asa na by just staying in your hometown, working with what you have and what you're given, you don't have to leave to find happiness elsewhere."

Max turns a little bit reflective as she continues, "The beauty of the script, the story is that just like a bamboo flower, the whole story of a bamboo flower is that it dies, that's the moment that, in relation to the story, when people find happiness like before the end of their time or before they fall or fail in life, they find strength, they find hope.

"The whole point of the story is that you give hope to Boholanos and other probinsyanos and that they can be something beautiful, they can have a beautiful life without having to look elsewhere."

Max fervently believes "that is what makes it special. I think all of the movies will show their own culture, but this one is very close to Direk Maryo's heart."

She is happy with how her career is going, even without a regular TV show, "as of now there is no plan, I've been doing regionals since Pahiram [ng Sandali] ended and then the movie, wala pang naka-line-up. It's not that I'm taking time off TV, if I'm given a project that's great."

"I did get guest roles in Bubble Gang and Vampire Ang Daddy Ko, thankfully, tuloy-tuloy yung trabaho ko."

Does she miss the weekly grind of a teleserye? "I miss it, but this is too great of a project to pass up on, I'm so thankful to be given this opportunity."

Now that she is stepping out and experiencing more in showbiz, Max says she prefers to work with senior stars in the biz.

"Nothing beats the veterans, I want to work with more veteran actors. I can't just pick one."

She enumerates, "Aga Muhlach, I'd really like to work with him, Dawn Zulueta, Gloria Romero, it would be a dream to work with her.

"I'd love to work with Tita Lorna [Tolentino] again, Christopher de Leon and I would really like to work with Alden would really be great to work with him.

"I just wanna work with everyone, honestly, I really wanna try working with everyone because everyone has their own unique quirks, actors who challenge you, kahit malungkot ka, actors who are passionate about their craft."

Max relates an anecdote that illustrates Lorna Tolentino's quirky way of working. "She memorizes her lines word for word, she highlights her lines, it has to be a yellow marker, hindi pwede ibang kulay.

"It is so interesting, she is so professional," and Max turns a bit playful, "I try to copy her, I get my yellow pen and highlight my lines too!"

"The way that they are is so nice to observe because they all have kanya-kanyang personality so nakakatuwa lang."






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