Mylene Dizon considers her current movie, Belle Douleur, the hardest she’s made to date.
The 45-year-old actress takes on the role of a single career woman who falls in love with a much younger man (played by Kit Thompson) in this entry to the 15th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
"Ito na yun. Parang pagkatapos nito, uwi na ’ko. Ayoko na,” she lightheartedly announced during the movie’s presscon held last August 6 at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City.
Mylene recalled that she hesitated about accepting the offer of the movie’s producer and debuting director, Joji Alonso, who’s a lawyer by profession which is why she is known in showbiz circles as Attorney Joji.
“Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure because of the love scenes,” the female lead star explained. “I wasn’t sure if I was up to it.
“But I spoke to my partner, Jason, and he kind of encouraged me to accept the project,” she added, referring to her boyfriend of six years, Jason Webb.
Jason is a former basketball star who’s now the assistant coach for the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
"Still when we were shooting the film, I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. Talking about big love scenes that I haven’t done before of this caliber.
"The whole journey—from the time it was offered to me up to when we were shooting it up to last Saturday’s gala—was scary. It was nerve-wracking. Ang sakit-sakit ng batok ko.”
Belle Douleur had a successful gala screening on August 3 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
This Cinemalaya 2019 entry will have a nationwide theatrical release starting August 14.
The last time Mylene did a love scene was for the Chris Martinez film, 100, in which she plays a cancer patient set on completing her bucket list.
Mylene’s stellar performance won for her the Best Actress award at the 2008 Cinemalaya, and at the Urian and FAP Awards the following year.
"When I did 100—me and TJ—ano ba naman yun?” she quipped, referring to her co-star TJ Trinidad.
“It’s nothing close to what I did in this movie.”
Mylene and Kit have three sets of love scenes in Belle Douleur, including one that shows her legs wrapped around his waist.
The first time Mylene did love scenes was for Gil Portes’s 2001 war drama, Gatas… Sa Dibdib ng Kaaway, and after that, she shied away from such assignments.
"Ang hirap kasi talaga,” she said, sighing.
Nevertheless, the award-winning actress accepted Atty. Joji’s offer as she wanted to help the lawyer-cum-movie producer’s filmmaking dreams come true.
She shared with the press what she told her boyfriend Jason after making that decision. “I said she [Atty. Joji] had a dream, and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
"I’m going to do one thing na lang—one big thing—let this be it. Before I turn into a farmer or some sort. Yes, I want to contribute to realizing her dream."
For her part, Atty. Joji said that Mylene was her first and only choice to play the lead role of Elizabeth, nicknamed Liz, who makes a big sacrifice in the story for the man she loves.
The first-time director admitted that she really wouldn’t take no for an answer as she never had any other actress in mind.
"Kasi sinusulat pa lang namin ni Therese,” recalled Atty. Joji, referring to screenwriter Therese Cayaba, “kinu-conceptualize pa lang, si Mylene na talaga.
"She [Mylene] suggested pa—sina Agot [Isidro], ganyan. ‘Hindi, My, ikaw ang gusto ko.’
“Magaling si Mylene na artista. She can draw many emotions.”
Atty. Joji gave an example involving cast member Marlon Rivera, who, along with Jenny Jamora, plays Mylene’s barkada in the movie.
"There’s a scene,” she recalled. “It’s a simple scene, yung sinabi ni Marlon na do something reckless and irresponsible, si Mylene, nakatanga.
"Parang ang dali-dali gawin, pero ang hirap. The way she presented herself yung pagsakay pa lang niya sa kotse, may kilig sa mata niya.
“Apart from that, of course, gusto ko ang lead actress ko is beautiful and sexy.
"So those combined, I cannot go wrong with a Mylene Dizon.”
Mylene then explained how she prepared for the love scenes.
“For me, kasi I have to break my own shell first,” she said. “Every time we would shoot an intimate scene—not even intimate scenes—I have to break my own shell of protecting myself.
“Physically, my technique was, let's say, nakakandong ako sa kanya [Kit], nagbibigay pa lang ng instructions si Direk, nakadikit na ang noo ko sa noo niya.
"Agad, kumportable na. Ipasok ko na ang katawan ko sa crevices niya. Wow, crevices! Ikukumportable ko na ang sarili ko para tapos na.
“Once you’ve broken that shell—for me, at least—it’s easier to get into the emotions because I’ve already broken the barrier. Rather than sa 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ko pa gagawin. That was my technique.”