When Iza Calzado first met her Taiwanese leading manKen Zhu, she didn't know how to approach him. The two are paired together forthe Ignite Media and GMA Films movie Batanes, which will open intheaters nationwide starting December 5.
The Filipina actress narrated during the Batanes presscon last night, November 13: "Si Ken noong unang dating niya, kinakabahan kamilahat because we don't know what it's like to work with a Taiwanese actor. Andnot just any Taiwanese actor but I have to say, a superstar—at least in Asia,di ba?
"Baka ipa-feel niya sa amin, ‘Superstar ako!' Nung unangdating niya, kung maglakad si Ken [Iza shows that he holds his head uphigh]... Ganun talaga siya maglakad, apparently ganun lang talaga siya maglakad.
"'Tapos, nakita ko minamasahe niya si Adolf [Alix Jr.,director of the movie] ...para akong nasisiraan ako ng bait...bakit siyanagmamasahe?"
It was later revealed that Ken is familiar with the martialart tai chi, which can be used to hurt as well as heal people.
Iza points out that despite his superstar status, the F4member is very down-to-earth.
"Nalaman ko na sobra niyang grounded. Ang damikasi niyang pinagdaanan. He didn't start out rich. He comes from humblebeginnings. I was so amazed kasi we had this one scene, kakakain lang namin nglunch and he had to eat so much again for the scene. Yung noodles malamig pa.Kung ako 'yon, ipapainit ko pa, siya hindi.
"I told him, ‘Do you want to spit it out?' kasi tapos nayung take. Sabi niya, ‘No. I've learned in life because I once went a couple ofdays without food. From that day on, I said I will never waste food.'
"Ang laki ng impact sa akin yung [fact na] isang superstarwould not waste food that he could just buy with a snap of his fingers. Meronsiyang mga prinsipyo—that says a lot about a man," says Iza, who plays the characterof Pam in the 90-minute movie. Ken plays the role of Kao, a Taiwanese fishermanwho gets stranded in Batanes.
Aside from praising Ken for his humility, Iza also commendedher co-star for his professionalism.
"Pagdating naman sa trabaho, alam niyakung ano yung gagawin niya. Alam niya yung script niya, alam niya yungmaterial. And nakikinig siya sa director, although alam niya sa aming lahat,siya yung may pinakapangalan.
While shooting the film in the northernmost province of thearchipelago, Ken whiled away the time by singing songs for the cast and crew,prompting Iza to dub him as a jukebox.
When asked if Iza had a crush on the F4 in the past, shecandidly replied, "Hindi ako. Sinabi ko sa kanya 'yon. Basta may sinabi ako sakanya, nag-apologize ako for something.
"Kasi mahilig siyang kumanta, so sinabi ko... Kasi, di ba,minsan, ‘pag may mga boy bands, duda ka kung kumakanta nga ba talaga sila. Onenight in Batanes, sinabi ko sa kanya, ‘You know what Ken, I have to apologizefor something. I actually thought you guys [F4] couldn't sing.'
"Nagulat ako talaga kasi para siyang jukebox. Ang ganda ngboses niya—puwede siyang Michael Bublé.I told him, ‘You have a very lovely voice in person.' He said, ‘Thank you.'"
Ken is part of the phenomenal boy band that gainedpopularity for their shows Meteor Garden and Meteor Rain. Themulti-lingual Taiwanese actor speaks not only Mandarin but also English,Cantonese, Singlish, and a bit of Thai, Indonesian, and Japanese.