Singer-actor Markki Stroem's career is definitely on a roll as he stars in three feature films for the second half of 2013.
In an interview of PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press with Markki last July 26 at the Kozui Restaurant, Tomas Morato Avenue, the Kapamilya talent expressed his excitement for his current and upcoming projects.
First on the list is the Cinemalaya 2013 Directors Showcase entry Amor y Muerte, which is an erotic period drama. He is also slated to appear in the comedy film Raketeros and the Metro Manila Film Fest entry 10,000 Hours.
“A bit dark” is how Markki described this movie with indie film actress Althea Vega. The Fil-Norwegian actor plays a Spanish military man named Diego de Saavedra who fell in love with an Indio named Amor (played by Althea).
Markki explained, “He [referring to his character Diego de Saavedra] moved to the Philippines to take over the country.
“So, ito yung parang unang beses na na-meet ng mga Spanish yung mga Indios or yung mga Tagala—Filipina people.
“E, sa time na yun, the ones who were leading the pack were the babaylan, di ba?
“So mga babaylan, they’re the ones—the women—they’re the empowered ones pero, di ba, sa Spanish sa time na yun, the men were the strong [ones].
“So 'yan ang nangyare when they met, there’s a 'clash of the titans' in a sense kasi we had a conquistador and the daughter of the leader of that certain village.”
Aside from this, Amor y Muerte also explores sexuality during the 16th century. Being a sensous woman, Amor makes noises while making love with her husband Diego to express her pleasure.
(READ: Althea Vega says her character was treated as a sex object in Amor y Muerte)
Markki explained, “It tests the taboo of the 16th century.
“So it explores sexuality at that time in terms of hindi lang period film na history ang pinag-uusapan.
“Tungkol ‘to sa sexscapades when a Spanish met a Filipina and it also explores mental disorder during that time and it wasn’t just crazy, my character here is a sociopath.”
AMOR Y MUERTE. Markki previously admitted that he is confident about shooting nude scenes. In fact, he revealed that his erotic scenes for the movie last 47 minutes, dubbed as the longest sex scene in Cinemalaya history.
The singer-actor also gave credit to his co-star Althea Vega for being comfortable with him as they shot the sensual scenes.
“She’s India, so in terms of when you see her parang...parang Pinay na Pinay.
“Actually, komportable ako kasi komportable rin siya,” Markki pointed out.
“Yung feeling na gumawa kami ng sensuality workshops wala kaming qualms na… kasi ako taga Norway ako, half-Norwegian ako.”
The singer-actor assured viewers that the erotic scenes of Amor y Muerte are tastefully done and were not just added for the sake of showing more skin.
Markki said, “Medyo open ako sa nudity and I guess here, hindi siya masyadong tinatanggap ng mga tao, feeling nila na bold.
“Pero, in a sense, bold siya pero hindi bold na… it’s bold na I’s something different.
“And it’s required… kung pangit yung script hindi ko tatanggapin yung movie.
“Pero sobrang ganda nung nabasa ko yung script.
“Sabi ko, ‘wow iba ‘to, a,’ kasi mostly mga period films tungkol sa history, tungkol sa things that happened before so parang facts, ito fiction.”
Markki also admitted that he was drawn into the scene as they both did the sensual scenes.
The singer-actor revealed, “Nadala kami, kasi actually nine scenes yun, nine different scenes pero nagawa namin in one… [in] forty-seven minutes.
“Kasi na-memorize na namin yung lines, na-imbibe na namin yung character so hindi na sila nag-cut.
“Ginawa na namin yung mga scenes, sequences, based on the sequence guide.
“Alam niya [Althea Vega] yung mga lines, ako din alam ko so dire-diretso.”
EXPLORING CHARACTERS. From portraying an all-out gay designer in the 2012 Cinema One entry Slumber Party, Markki shifts to being a sociopath Spanish conquistador in Amor y Muerte.
The alumnus of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 1 is happy to have explored different characters this early in his career.
“I guess it also explores na madami akong characters na pwedeng gawin,” Markki said.
“And happy ako kasi nakapag-explore ako ng mga different characters.
“Let’s say, for example, sa February ang character ko dun autistic and then sa Raketeros naman which is the other movie na lalabas din in two weeks, next naman ako dun.
“And 'yan yung MMFF, Metro Manila Film Festival [10,000 Hours].
Markki is set to play another dark character in the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival entry 10,000 Hours starring Robin Padilla and Alden Richards.
Robin Padilla plays a senator who flees the country and leaves his family behind while Alden is cast as the young Robin in the movie. Markki, on the other hand, plays the son of Robin Padilla who became a cocaine addict when he left the country.
“Hindi ako yung bida rito, more on support pero ako yung… medyo nahihiya rin si Robin, yung character ni Robin sa anak niyang drug addict… na cocaine [user]."
Markki added, “Naging drug addict lang [yung character] ko dahil parang umalis siya [Robin] sa Pilipinas.
“So, umalis siya sa Pilipinas for 10,000 hours...or for a hundred days at pumunta siya sa Europe as a Senator.
“And yun madaming nagyare sa Pilipinas, sa family niya na-kidnap.”
ON BEING AFFECTED BY HIS ROLES. Since he portrayed more than three totally different characters for film and theater in a year, Markki shared his secret on how he shifts from one character to another.
The Kapamilya talent believes that his background in theater helped him a lot during his characterization.
Markki said, “It’s a… yung ano ko style ko “being,” e.
“Sinasabi ng mga tao na nakakatrabaho ko sa set na hindi na nila nakikita si Markki.
“Usually, kapag pumapasok ako sa set nagiging Diego, nagiging Elle, nagiging Mark, nagiging character na ako para hindi na ako magshi-shift from one character to the other character.
However, Markki observed that this “acting style” has its own “side effects.”
The 16 year-old actor narrated, “Sabi nila hindi to, it’s not good for an actor to do that dahil I mean, naranasa ko na sa Amor Y Muerte, yung character ko is a socio-path, madami siyang pinatay.
“Medyo dark yung pakiramdam ko and sa time na yun, natulog ako after the shooting ng scene na yun na marami akong pinatay.
“At sabi ng driver ko nung natutulog ako na tumatawa ako sa panaginip, ‘a, happy ka pala, happy ka pala Markki,’ sabi ko ‘teka muna, yung dream ko kahapon was ano mina-massacre raw."
In one instance, Markki recalled that he consulted his best friend—who also happens to be a psychiatrist—to further understand the character he is playing.
Markki narrated, “Wala naman akong pyschological disorder pero I have a best friend na psychiatrist din and kinausap ko rin siya tungkol sa socipathy to understand [Adolf] Hitler, [Benito] Mussolini kasi yung character ko based on that.
“Yung military na may sociopathic tendencies kasi usually people sa military, pumasok sa military dahil gusto nila pumatay ng tao.
“And this killing is justified kasi nasa military sila.
“Medyo mahirap mag-“being” pero the result is great.
“I’m happy sa result ng Amor y Muerte nung napanood ko yung mga final scenes sabi ko, ‘wow, worth it.’”
Nevertheless, Markki makes sure that he does his research first to completely imbibe the character he is portraying.
“Paminsan pumapasok yung characters ko sa 'kin kasi nagri-research talaga ako.
“Halimbawa sa Amor y Muerte, nag-16th century Spanish lessons ako, 16th century Tagalog lessons sa Bulacan.
“Then, nag-ano ako kay Ama Quiambao who recently passed away.
“Nag-lessons din ako from historical background ng character ko, pano nangyare na naging sociopath ako or naging crazy ako.
“Tapos nag-lessons din ako kay Jake Macapagal nung pinakamabigat na scene sa movie.
“And then finally, in-depth study ng sociopathy and ano yung mga movements.”