After 23 years, Lea Salonga is making a movie comeback through a Hollywood movie.
Lea will be part of the U.S. indie film Yellow Rose, which is top-billed by fellow Filipina Eva Noblezada.
In Yellow Rose, Lea is cast as the aunt of an aspiring country singer played by Eva. Princess Punzalan portrays Eva's mother who was deported in the film.
"My scenes with Eva were among the first to be filmed, so we got to hold each other’s hand figuratively for those first days,” said Lea in an exclusive interview with the Inquirer about shooting the film.
This project marks Lea's return to the big screen after starring in the 1995 romance film Sana Maulit Muli.
Eva makes her movie debut through this project wherein her character has to deal with her mother being arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Lea praised their director, Diane Paragas, by saying, “Diane knows what she wants, and how to tease a performance out of her actors. Diane’s 3-year-old daughter Sophie plays my kid in the movie, and she’s such a natural actor, too!”
Fans will be able to enjoy listening to Lea's distinct voice when she sings a cappella to lull her daughter to sleep.
The coach of The Voice PH spent two days in Austin, Texas to shoot Yellow Rose.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to do our stuff as the shooting schedule was an abbreviated one, but Eva did her homework, and her work in it is courageous. People will fall in love with her,” added Lea.
Her shooting schedule did not allow Lea to do scenes with Princess Punzalan who now works as a nurse in the United States.
“All we got to do was share a quick ‘hello!’ We don’t have any scenes together at all,” said Lea about Princess.
In 1991, Lea became the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award for portraying Kim in Miss Saigon. In 2017, Eva received a Tony nomination for the same role.