Three weeks before the holidays, it looks like Christmas won't be cold and blue for Iza Calzado, at least when it comes to celebrating it with a special someone.
"Malamig ang panahon, which is perfect for cuddling," she remarked when PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked about it during the luncheon prepared for the cast members of Sine Novela Presents Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit. The affair was held at Café Via Mare on Tomas Morato, Quezon City last Saturday, December 5.
How's her character now in GMA 7's top-rating daytime soap, which has been extended until January 2010?
"My character is very good. Kasi parang biglang nagkaroon ng shape, totally unexpected twist in the story," she said. "Of course, we wanna stretch it out and make it more exciting for the viewers. The ambitious Clarissa is going back to basics because everything that she worked hard for will be stripped off. So, that's the price for her to pay. Kasi, di ba, she was too ambitious to a fault kasi?
"Ang maganda niyan, makakasama ni Clarissa yung audience sa pagbangon niya, that's how I see it. Makikita niyo rin kung ano yung surprises namin. Ang ganda nung biglang naging twist, e, the ironies of life. Meron kang yung, 'Kita mo nga naman!'"
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So what are her plans for the holidays?
"A, here lang because may filmfest, may awards night, may StarStruck... And [I agreed to do] the countdown, para everybody happy. I'm really caught in between jobs," Iza said, stressing that she can't take more than six days off from work.
She added, "I'm targeting around February or March for a long vacation kasi nga because of StarStruck, we're holding like two days, or I have two days and then work, and then another two days for this Christmas season. Maybe I'll just go out of town, not so far, or something really quick."
STARSTRUCK V. For the fifth installment of the Kapuso network's reality-based artista search StarStruck, Iza sits as one of the council members, along with director Floy Quintos and talent manager cum columnist Lolit Solis. How is it, so far?
"Okay naman," Iza said. "With StarStruck kasi, since I don't really get to watch TV a lot, nagpapa-request ako ng CD. So, usually, every Saturday, that's what I do, I review the episodes. It's fun!"
"It's funny nga, kasi like all the other StarStruck shows, halos hindi ko rin napanood. So, parang clueless ako kung ano ba yung nangyayari sa StarStruck. I mean, nakikilala ko na lang yung mga bata pag yung mga Final 14 na sila, when they kind of made it into whoever they are. Pero prior to that, wala. 'Sino 'yun?' Yung talagang gano'n. Tapos ang nakakatawa nga... yung buong proseso niya, alam ko na. It's a nice feeling, though, to be there every Sunday and be part of that journey of all those kids."
How does she find the current Final 14, touted as the "best-looking batch" yet?
"Well, I'd agree," she replied. "But, you know, it shouldn't always be on the looks. I'm really hoping to see that some of them can be made into a star. I mean, it's there. We could actually get probably a few of them. Ang laki nga ng difference nila from the first time we met them to nung Sunday! Naaayusan na. Malaking bagay yun, e, through makeover."
ANG PANDAY. Iza is very happy about doing Ang Panday, a Metro Manila Film Festival entry, where she plays Margarita.
"[My role is] not so much of the swords, really, more of damsel-in-distress. I was stuck in a jar and I really could not get out of it, I had no superpowers to do things. They kinda wanted me to be like that, yung mysterious."
It is also in this movie that she really felt beautiful, thanks to her costume.
"Thank you sa DOP [director of photography] namin, sa director naming si Mac Alejandre, 'tsaka kay Rico G. [Gutierrez] for the special effects. Thank you so much dahil maganda pala ako. Akala ko dati, parang hindi. Kasi sa trailer, parang puro beauty shots. Sabi ko, 'Wow!'"
SUMMING UP 2009. For Iza, 2009 is just about like other past years.
"I think the beginning of the year was pretty slow, but it picked up right after my birthday [August 12]. Kasi, I mean, I had All About Eve,pero I had a movie that was shown in the first part of the year [Bente] wherein I only had few shots. But then after that, nagtuloy-tuloy, which is, a lot of times, it has happened to me.
"I would describe it as, career-wise, very fulfilling. Kasi, oo, ang dami ko talagang [projects]... soap, movie, endorsements, pageant, rock awards... I went from glamorous to rock, which is like my dream. It was my dream to host NU Rock Awards. It wasn't even my dream to host Binibining Pilipinas, kasi dati, nung araw, nag-a-attend ako ng rock awards."
Is her interest in rock music the influence of her boyfriend, Atticus King, who is a rocker himself?
Iza could only give sparkles in her eyes and a wide, sweet smile as her answer. Atticus played guitar and wrote rock songs for a band called King Antares.
Of the many major events in 2009, what's the most memorable for her, if she's going to look back to this year in the future?
"Ang dami! Si Michael Jackson namatay. Isa pa lang 'yan. The Ondoy thing, the fear of the rains," Iza said. "Di ba, parang bigla na lang, si Ondoy, parang yung dating, di ba, sobrang, 'Ayan na 'yung bagyo!' Samantalang dati... siguro yun ang mali din, e, masyado tayong naging kampante noon, na parang 'Bagyo, hay naku, ang dami nang bagyo!' I guess it's always good to prepare so that when things like this happen, we'll be ready."
She added that she cannot forget the Maguindanao Massacre.
"It's carnage. I cannot believe that people are capable of doing these things, all for power. But then that's when you realize how power can turn any individual into a monster."
What is she most thankful for in 2009?
"Moving into my new home. That's really the best thing that's happened to me. Even if, you know, I had to work doubly hard for it and I had to sacrifice certain things, at least I have an investment in the long run," answered Iza.
She added, "Of course, you know, I'm glad I found somebody... But if there's one thing I'm most thankful for, it's that my dad is still with me, and my brother, 'cause my dad got sick several times. Please, if you see Lito Calzado smoking or eating bad stuff, please stop him, 'cause he likes to make daya! Mawalan ka ng isang guesting, mawalan ka ng isang project, alam mong makaka-recover ka. Pero ang mawalan ka ng pamilya, it's different."
EXPECTING BETTER IN 2010. As far as projects for next year are concerned, expect Iza to be fulfilling more of her dreams.
"I can't say what is but... Nakakabitin!" she laughed. "Maybe, hopefully, I'll get to hone my other crafts pa. I'm not gonna make an album, well, not anytime soon, but I'm hoping I can take voice lessons for next year. Maybe, dance lessons which I didn't really get to do in '09. I will be having a cooking show [Healthy Craving on Q11]. It was supposed to be this year, pero na-move siya for next year. I might be experimenting with some stuff like things I've never done before. Might. We'll see."
How about movies?
"Just Working Girls, yun ang first ko with Joey Reyes, and I'm so excited!
"Hopefully, I'll be more fit. And yes, hopefully, a new soap. Laging 'hopefully' kasi mahirap mag-assume hangga't hindi ka kinakausap."
Iza thinks 2010 is going to be better for her.
After portraying fantasy, drama (kontrabida) roles, and a few comedy stints in Bubble Gang, what other roles does she like to do or thinks of doing in the future?
"I've never done comedy on the big screen, so I want romantic comedy. I really want to, more like the Julia Roberts-type.
And who's a perfect romantic comedy partner, if given the chance?
"Kasi I've never worked with a comedian. Maybe Kuya Bitoy [Michael V], or sila Kuya Ogie [Alcasid], yung mga ganun, yung funny talaga sila."