When the movie Bliss was given an X rating by the country's censors board, it definitely got its star Iza Calzado worrying.
Still, she remained hopeful that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) would reconsider, and finally allow Jerrold Tarog's psycho-thriller to be shown to the public.
“Actually, noong na-X rating kami, siyempre, nag-alala ako na parang, 'My goodness, hindi kami maipapalabas.'
“Pero I knew there will be ways around it, like you can cut... You know, there's always a way."
She was quick to add, “But, of course, I want the film shown in its full integral form.”
Iza spoke to entertainment reporters, including the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph) during the movie's press conference, Tuesday, April 25.
Breaking from the seriousness of the issue, she said about the initial X rating of the MTRCB, “Naisip ko rin, 'Well, finally porn star na ako.' Joke lang.”
Turning serious again, Iza said, “Sabi ko, 'X-rating agad?!'
“Parang that's a little too much.
“But I knew that there will still be a chance for us to have a dialogue with MTRCB, wherein they would understand also where we are coming from, especially Jerrold is the director.
“I knew that somehow we will meet in the middle. And we did, we got an R-18, uncut version.”
Jerrold is the celebrated director of the sleeper hit, Heneral Luna, starring John Arcilla.
Bliss showed frontal nudity, masturbation scenes, lesbianism, and molestation, scenes considered sensitive by the MTRCB.
Before Iza saw the movie, she said she was particularly nervous about her full-body frontal scene.
She said she told Direk Jerrold that she would treat him to dinner, “'This might be our last dinner together. Baka after kong mapanood, di mo na ako friend.'
“Ginaganun ko talaga siya kasi kinakabahan talaga ako kung ano ang kalalabasan ng pelikula.”
It turned out, Iza liked the outcome of the scene.
As she told PEP.ph, “It was longer than I expected, but hindi naman siya na parang ayaw ko nang makatrabaho si Jerrold or parang I knew naman that was coming.
“It's shocking. Kasi, parang white light, tapos... yung parang kahit image mo lang siya, kung anuman ang tricks namin at alam namin ang ginawa namin, it's still considered na it's me.
"It's my face, and I knew that.”
After doing this sensitive scene, will Iza now accept roles that require intimate scenes?
“In terms of nudity? Hanggang sa mapag-uusapan, depende sa role, depende sa materyal. Pero, it's not my priority naman,” the well-respected actress said.
TIRING ROLE. In Bliss, Iza is cast as a disturbed actress.
The A Love to Last actress revealed that she asked her manager Noel Ferrer to block off all other schedules in favor of this movie because this one required physical and emotional stamina.
“This was very tiring. Physically, emotionally I was very tired.
“I would come home na talagang plakda ako sa kama, coming from work,” Iza recalled.
“I've been more tired, you know, I'm older now. But [with this movie] I've never been more tired in my 15 years in this industry.
“I made sure when we did this film, I told Noel, I cannot do anything else.
“I cannot do Maalaala Mo Kaya or anything.
“I cannot commit to that because that would be more exhausting.
“I needed to commit 100 percent to the film.”
In hindsight, Iza thinks she was proven right, “It was a good decision. I don't think magagawa ko yung pelikula if I was doing something else.
"Hindi mo siya mase-segue sa kahit anong project.”
Her 100 percent dedication to Bliss paid off. She received an international acting recognition, the Yakushi Pearl Award, at the 2017 Osaka Film Festival.
Find out why Iza Calzado got this award for the uncut and uncensored version of Bliss when it opens in cinemas nationwide on May 10.
(For Iza fans, see also YES! Magazine May edition, which features Iza in her brand-new, stylish, and airy condominium.)