Fresh out of the premiere screening of her very first horror film last night, July 24, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos exited the theater with a glorious beam across her face.
Camera lights and flash photography followed the veteran actress and her husband—and also escort for the night—Senator Ralph Recto, the moment they walked out of Shangri-La Cineplex Cinema 2.
The Star for All Seasons was met by a group of reporters at the entrance of the theater. She greeted them with energy, expressing her elation on the outcome of The Healing.
“Definitely, I’m very happy! Talagang mananakot!”
The Chito Roño-directed film stars Vilma with Kim Chiu, Martin del Rosario, Janice de Belen, Pokwang, Ynes Veneracion, Carmi Martin, Allan Paule, Robert Arevalo, Ces Quesada.
It has the special participation of Joel Torre, Mark Gil, Daria Ramirez, Jhong Hilario, Ina Feleo, and Mercedes Cabral.
The film was given an unprecedented two classifications by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB): a Rated-13 version, which means the movie may be seen by individuals aged 13 and above; and a Rated-18 version, which means it may be seen by individuals aged 18 and above.
The R-18 version contains the Director’s Cut or the uncensored version of the film. The Healing includes scenes of bloodshed by fictional doppelgangers.
Governor Vi is thankful that the public will get age-appropriate access to the film.
“So, at least, may freedom of choice kung makita niyo yung Director’s Cut, meron tayo. At kung meron namang konting pambata, a, meron din tayo.
“And thank you kasi rated A kami!” The actress was referring to the grading given The Healing by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB).
Governor Vilma mentioned why she deliberately accepted a suspense-horror project considering her forte ahs always been drama.
“Actually, that’s why I chose suspense-horror. Iba naman!
“Kasi after In My Life, after Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa?, Dekada ’70, parang if you see me there crying again, parang redundant na!
“So, why not something new which is The Healing? Mananakot lang kami… [it’s] something different to offer.”
The Healing gave the virtuoso actress a third time to work with acclaimed filmmaker/producer/writer Chito Roño. The two teamed up in the 1998 film, Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa? and in the 2000 film, Dekada ’70. Both the films were adapted from Lualhati Bautista’s novels.
Asked how she feels about continuous warmth and affirmation she is given by her fans and the public, Governor Vi stated, “Oh my god, it’s an honor! Staying in the business for fifty years is no joke. It’s an achievement…
“Hindi ko makukuha lahat ito kung hindi dahil sa pagmamahal at suporta ng publiko. Kaya naman yung lahat ng ginagawa ko, para rin sa kanila yan. Yan ang utang na loob ko.
“Kung ano man meron ako ngayon, [dahil] sa publiko ‘to.”
THE HEALING. The actress said she definitely enjoyed “doing something new.”
“At least hindi lang ito puro iyak.Hindi lang ito yung lagi kang may loveteam. Hindi, e.
“This one, if you will notice, if you watch the movie, kukunin mo yun as a whole, tama? Ang gagaling ng mga kasama kong artista!
“Si Kim pa. At least, si Kim dito iba dahil … hindi rin ito yung loveteam-loveteam. Pero naman siya, marami naman siyang susunod na ganun.
“At least na-try namin na iba, tama ba? Iba naman. Yun lang naman ang maganda dun kasi ‘pag paulit-ulit na, especially in my case, redundant na, e.”
When Senator Ralph was asked if the film was successful in spooking him out, he said he found himself holding onto Governor Vi’s hand.
“Kumapit nang husto!” he chuckled.
Governor Vilma, added, “Alam mo kanina, nung nanonood kami, ang tinitignan niya yung audience. Nararamdaman niya yung audience na tahimik talaga.”
She said that the public, who will enjoy the nationwide screening of the film, will definitely find the film a scary one.
Senator Ralph found a few scenes poignant— “Marami, e. Meron sa gitna, meron sa dulo rin.”
Governor Vilma joked, “Palagay ko yung nagustuhan niya yung tinatapon ako!”
Indeed, in the final scenes of The Healing, Vilma, whose character is Seth, was thrown over a kitchen counter and stabbed with a knife by one of the characters’ doppelgangers.
The actress does not deny that she found those scenes physically draining. Governor Vi did not opt for a stunt actor to take her place.
“At the end of the day, hindi mo puwede ibigay sa double, e. Kasi if you notice, may passion yung scenes. Hindi naman pupuwedeng lahat.
“Kahit papaano, sasabihin ko na nagkaro’n ako ng mga eksenang pisikal diyan. Talagang dinare [dare] ako ni Direk Chito e, ‘Kaya mo pa ba?’
“Sabi ko, ‘Why not?’”
Rounding up the interview, reporters asked Senator Ralph about how proud he is of his wife. He looked at her, smiled, and said, “Very proud, very proud. Always proud of her.”
Will the Star for All Seasons continue to make horror films in the future?
It does not necessarily have to be horror. The actress replied, “Sa susunod, isip naman tayong iba! Di ba para iba-iba naman!
“Malay mo baka comedy the next time! Why not, di ba?"