Teen actress Kathryn Bernardo is not one to watch horror films.
She confesses to being "duwag," or a scaredy cat, when it comes to seeing gruesome and creepy flicks that toy with her imagination.
So when Regal Films included her in the 13th installment of the Shake Rattle and Roll movie franchise, the star of Mara Clara (2011 remake) had to toughen up.
The official Monteverde movie entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) casts a powerhouse of actors in its typical three-story thriller.
Among them are Eugene Domingo, Jay Manalo, and Edgar Allan Guzman for the first episode ’Rain Rain Go Away.’
The second episode ’Tamawo’ stars Zanjoe Marudo, Maricar Reyes, and Celia Rodriguez.
Kathryn is cast alongside Dimples Romana, Sam Concepcion, Louise delos Reyes, Ina Raymundo, Ara Mina, Julia Clarete, and Hiro Magalona in the third story, ’Parola.’
After proving her knack for drama in her soap opera and first film, Way Back Home, the 15-year-old was willing to make the most out of this yearender project by enduring the sudden shift to horror.
What was the first thing she had to endure exactly?
Thrilled, Kathryn is quick to utter: "Kasi sobrang takot ako sa mga uod!
"Tapos marami pong scene na may kasama akong mga worms na totoong natatakot talaga ako dun.
"Yun yung pinaka-nahirapan ako... umiiyak talaga ako habang nagshu-shoot kami."
While that part frightened her immensely, Kathryn relays that nothing was more challenging for her than actually acting scared.
"Sa akin, nahirapan ako kasi yung kailangan mo matakot talaga [kahit] na alam mong hindi totoo yung mga yun.
"Kailangan galingan mo pag-arte mo para maging effective," states the pretty morena.
Asked what aided her in fulfilling the acting task, Kathryn says that their director, Jerrold Tarog, was awfully kind.
"Sobrang ang bait po talaga ni Direk Jerrold sa amin. Siya yung [tumutulong] sa akin para huwag ako matakot.
"Tapos siya yung nag-ask sa akin na gusto niya under-acting hindi yung over-acting na masyadong takot na takot.
"Yung parang normal lang talaga. Iba yung atake po ni Direk Jerrold din kasi."
Kathryn explains that the filmmaker—who joins director/scriptwriter Chris Martinez and Richard Sommes in Shake Rattle and Roll 13—did not put the pressure on her to forcedly appear frightened in the scenes.
Direk Jerrold encouraged her to adhere to a more ""realistic" type of acting.
WORKING WITH A KAPUSO TWEEN. A salient factor in this particular MMFF entry is that it mixes a pool of actors from rival networks ABS-CBN and GMA.
A perfect illustration would be Kathryn and Tween Academy star Louise delos Reyes.
No form of enmity or competition happened between her and her equally talented co-star, says Kathryn.
"Okay naman. Wala namang naging problem kasi madali rin naman pakisamahan si Louise.
"Sa konting shooting days namin, nakapag-bonding kami."
Will it be possible for them to be best friends?
Kathryn straightforwardly quips: "Hindi ko masasabi rin po yun, e.
"Sa akin po kasi, gusto ko kilalanin muna yung tao bago ko masabing best friend. Like Julia [Montes], na ang tagal ko rin po siyang nakasama kaya sobra ang tiwala ko.
"So sa akin po muna ngayon, friends [kami]."
MISSING JULIA. Filming Shake Rattle and Roll 13 is a milestone for Kathryn because it marks the first time she is included in an MMFF entry.
But it also means working for the first time without close friend Julia Montes.
The two have shared successful projects this year, counting Mara Clara, Way Back Home, and the youth-oriented series Growing Up, and have also grown to treat each other as sisters.
How does she find working without Julia beside her?
"Ang hirap! Naiyak nga kami nung taping namin [sa Growing Up.]
"[Sabi namin,]’Last na ’to. Wala na. Wala na akong kasabay mag-ganito, ganyan.’ Kasi kami yung nagbo-bond.
"Pero hindi naman mawawala sa amin yung friendship. Minsan bibisita ako sa set [nila], saka tawagan kami pag may mga nagkaka-conflict."
As Kathryn hopes that she and Julia will get to be in another project soon, the teen actress also mentions that she is currently working on a new soap opera, You’re Always in My Heart.
This one stars her with young actors Daniel Padilla, Enrique Gil, and Pinoy Got Talent Season 2 finalist Khalil Ramos.
(CLICK HERE to visit PEP’s microsite of the Metro Manila Film Festival)