For multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos, movies, at this point, would simply have to wait.
"Nami-miss ko talaga ang pelikula. I swear, I swear. I miss doing films," enthused Vilma to the press last Tuesday, February 19.
The Star for All Seasons was chosen by Pfizer's Ponstan SF as its first ever celebrity endorser and was officially launched the same day in a special ceremony held at the Isla Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
Star Cinema, according to Vilma, has a standing three-movie offer. "Isang pelikula with John Lloyd Cruz; isang pelikula with Lucky [Manzano], my son; at isang pelikula with Sharon [Cuneta]," she enumerated.
When the press let out a collective "Wow!" Ate Vi smilingly retorted: "Wow tayo ng wow, e, wala nga akong maumpisahan!"
TORN BETWEEN TWO LOVES. Of the three offers, Star Cinema's first priority is the one with young dramatic actor John Lloyd Cruz. But while Star Cinema and John Lloyd are raring to shoot, Vilma, unfortunately, just couldn't find enough time to commit to the project.
"Nahihiya na nga po ako," said Vilma sincerely. "Nahihiya na rin ako kay Lloyd, kasi sa totoo lang, ang tagal na. Mahigit isang taon naming pinlano itong movie na ‘to with Lloyd."
Vilma's concern has nothing to do with the story or the script or the casting—common issues faced by serious actors before accepting an offer. In fact, she was very enthusiastic about the project, saying, "napakaganda kasi ng istorya." The real reason for stalling is none other than public service.
Last year, Vilma ran and won the governor seat in Batangas to become the province's first woman governor. She garnered 475, 740 votes against then incumbent governor Arman Sanchez's 344, 969. Prior to that, she served as mayor of Lipa Batangas from 1998 to 2007.
Airing her side, Vilma reasoned: "Nagpatong-patong, hindi ko naman alam na maggu-gobernador ako... ‘Yong mga ganoong pagkakataon, e, di naantala na naman ako. Hindi naman pupuwedeng tatlo, apat na buwan ka pa lang [in office] nagsu-shooting ka na."
The shoot location is another concern. "Fifty percent nung pelikula namin ni John Lloyd, e, sa New York gagawin, ‘yon ‘yong isa pong nakaka-hold sa akin," confessed Vilma.
"Dahil if we talk about 50 percent, that means you'll be staying there for three weeks, shooting in New York, e, at this point in time, hindi pa makakaya ng schedule ko. But I'll be having a vacation, April, pero alangan naman sa pagod kong ‘to, e itatrabaho ko pa dun? Para namang napaka-unfair na sa sarili ko."
Since geography is a major issue in the John Lloyd project, she is thinking of pitching in a suggestion to Star Cinema to reflect on the possibility of doing first the Vilma-Lucky film.
"Baka sakali they might consider the one with Lucky also. Kasi ‘yong kay Lucky, dito lang [sa Pilipinas], mas madaling mag-shooting dito kesa ‘yong 50 percent sa abroad."
She never denied feeling nervous that by making Star Cinema wait, the film outfit might just one day give up on her. But then, Vilma knows fully well her responsibilities and her utmost priority as of the moment. She's still feeling her way as a governor and her administration is still in its infancy.
"But ako'y nakikiusap sa Star Cinema na sana pagbigyan lang nila ko. Siguro after a year, once ma-implement ko na ‘yong mga proyekto ko, eight months pa lang naman ako, bago pa lang, so ma-implement ko lang at makita ko nang ginagawa na, napapakinabangan na, so nagmu-monitor ka na lang, e, pupuwede na ako nun.
"Pero hangga't di ko nakikita ‘yon, I will not dare because I'm dealing with reality ng totoong buhay ng tao. Isang maling desisyion mo diyan, palpak 'yan, hindi lang pangalan ko ang sira pati pagkatao ko sira and hindi ko isusugal yon."
ATE VI WANTS TO DO INDIE. Given all her success in the field of movies, Vilma confided that she's excited with the thought of appearing in an independent movie—this despite the shoestring budget allotted even to the actors. A few months back, it was reported that Vilma is set to grace an indie film titled, Independencia.
"Talagang hindi nawawala ‘yong pagka-artista ko," she quipped. "I want to experience 'yong ganoon lang kakunting shooting, wala pa akong ganoon, e."
Talking about Independencia, Vilma eagerly announced, "‘Yong Independencia, that's going to be anytime September [or] October. It's a period movie and it's about tatlong character lang—the mother, the son, and ‘yong papasok na character sa anak ko—ganoon lang."
Again, nothing at this point is still definite but the Star for All Seasons couldn't help but feel grateful and blessed.
"The mere fact na alam mong may mga ganyan ka [movie offers], it's good enough," she beamed proudly. "At least alam mong may-offer ka pa. At least alam mong may naghihintay sa iyo, and at the same time, may umaasa sa ‘yong probinsiya na positibo na naniniwala sa ‘yo, ano pa'ng hahanapin mo?"
The same goes for her family and private life. "And I'm very very happy and comfortable with my immediate family. With Ralph [Recto], tatay siya ngayon, asawa siya ngayon, so mentor ko siya ngayon at senior adviser ko pa rin siya sa Batangas."