The first time she saw the Ciarra's character in Miss No Good, Meryll Soriano already thought, "‘Naku, parang ako na 'yan, hindi ko lang alam umarte. I have to get this role!'"
So, when she was invited to a dubbing audition for the Taiwanese character, the daughter of Willie Revillame went to try out.
Meryll admitted that she really felt nervous before the auditions. She described, "Kabadong-kabado ako kasi naninigas yung mga likod-likod ko. Kasi before Miss No Good, nag-try ako mag-dub ng cartoons, yung Les Miserables. Okay naman yun, kasi cartoons. Madre-madre saka konti lang yung mga linya. Noong nag-Miss No Good na auditions, sabi ko, ‘sige na nga.' Since wala naman akong ginagawa, I mean, why not make use of my time, di ba?"
The 26-year-old actress said she easily fell in love with the character she was dubbing.
"Ang cute nga niya e!" said Meryll. "Sobrang [nae-excite] ako dun sa project kasi hindi naman talaga ako mahilig manood ng mga ganyan [Asianovela]. 'Tapos nung napanood ko siya, ano ba yan, ang cute. Ang cute niya, tapos meron pa siyang picture na kamukhang-kamukha ko! Sabi ko, ‘Ano ba yan? Para namang may babaeng ako sa Taiwan.' Nakakatakot!"
She added that Ciarra reminded her of her younger years. "Actually a few years back, when I was really younger, ganun ako pumorma. Hindi naman ganun ka-wild, pero ganun ako pumorma. I mean, with my friends, very Japanese fashion, 'tapos ganyan din ako kakulit. Sa ngayon, ganyan pa din ako kakulit. Ganyan ako ka-hyper. Hindi lang yata ako tatanda. Tatanda ako pero hindi matanda yung spirit ko," Meryll said.
Was it easy to give a Pinoy voice to a foreign character?
Meryll pointed out, "Kasi hindi naman ako dubber. So nung nag-audition na, ang daldal pala niya, napagod ako. Parang gusto ko tuloy kainin yung mga sinabi ko na this is for me. E, kaya lang natanggap ako, so wala na. Ang hirap po."
She further described the job by comparing it to her usual acting job. She said, "Alam mo mas mahirap siya. Grabe. Sa TV, firm movements already do something. This time, hindi ka kita. So you really have to give an effort to get the meaning of the whole scene, di ba? Ang hirap nun, hanggang pilikmata ko, umaarte. Saka minsan, nabobobo na nga ako, parang, ‘Paano ko ba to aatakihin? Di ko na po talaga naiintindihan.' Kasi minsan, ilang hours akong nakatayo, ‘Kailangan ko pong magbreak.'"
Since Ciarra has some similarities with Meryll's real personality, the young actress said she did not have to prepare too hard each time she goes to work.
She related, "Ready lang ako, kapag nandun na ko. I'm very fortunate kasi, malapit yung character. Sobrang lapit talaga yung kakulitan, so I really have to reserve for the energy. Other than that, hindi naman ako kailangang mag-prepare ng bago. Mas nagpe-prepare pa ko sa cartoons, kasi yung Les Miserables, drama. Grabeng drama. Yun lang nag-dub ako ng Les Miserables, na naka-outfit ako ng Ciara kasi galing akong promo, hindi ako nakapasok. Kasi nga, dramang-drama. ‘Sandali lang po, ah, pwedeng bigyan n'yo ko ng five minutes? Grabe yung bigat ng character tapos ganito yung itsura ko.'
She also said that she became so close to the character that she missed the job and Ciarra after finishing the whole series in two months.
"Nalungkot ako, nalungkot ako ng grabe kasi parang naging routine na rin sa akin yun. Punta lang akong ABS, 'tapos ready lang akong dumaldal ng grabe," Meryll said.
Aside from enjoying the job, she also credited her dubbing experience for improving her acting skill especially in delivering her lines.
"Ang laki ng itinulong niya sa akin. Sa pagsasalita,
everything," said Meryll. "Parang it
opened another lesson of acting. Lalo na sa theater, kasi, di ba, iba ang
ano ng theater, e. Parang, pati voice umaarte na. Sa TV kasi, kinalakihan ko na
siya, e. So parang, it's already automatic. TV and film, it's super normal to
me. This time, I am becoming a better actor because I am learning new things.
And voice acting is really helpful."
In the said TV series, the lead character Ciarra is torn between the love of Arvin and Timmy. Both guys come into terms and will agree man-to-man to have an equal and fair footing when it comes to courting the eccentric girl. But how will this love triangle turn out if Ciarra and Timmy find out that they have the same mom?
Miss No Good airs weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN's Hapontastik.