MANILA, Philippines — Rising stars Alexa Miro and Rob Gomez went all out (yes, including in the steamy scenes) while staying true to themselves for their roles in the upcoming first Upstream Original film, A Girl and A Guy, directed by Erik Matti.
During an exclusive online interview with The STAR, Alexa said she portrayed her role based on “what’s real.” “Pagdating po kasi sa art ng acting, if the story calls for it, we wanted to show what’s real. And those situations po siguro na kung ano yung totoo lang, na kami sa totoong buhay na kailangan na naming ilabas yung steamy scenes, nilunod po namin yung sarili namin sa paano siya sa totoong buhay.”
“Siyempre on the side, may mga sign of the cross lang. ‘Lord, ikaw na bahala,’” she quipped when asked about how she and her co-star prepared for the sexy shots.
While the actress admitted she was nervous while acting out the sensual scenes, Rob, on his part, shared that they gave everything for the film. “Na-brief na kami ni direk Erik on what we were gonna do, what he wanted to see. But then it was really up to us, on how it was gonna look. If ever we didn’t give the 200 percent, it was not gonna cut it… and the point was, we just really gave everything we had. And of course, yun nga, sign of the cross.”
In the trailer and poster of A Girl and A Guy, which captured the attention of curious netizens, Alexa plays Fiona, an independent millennial who needs respect, while Rob, as Raf in his 20s, needs to figure his life out. The teaser for the R18 flick describes it “as a modern tale of young adults navigating the tricky world of relationships, connection, and intimacy in today’s society.”
Rob explained that the story revolves around a guy’s world, that’s why it was easy for him to relate to his character. “While we were on set, I was saying to myself na I’ve been here. It doesn’t look the same, it doesn’t sound the same, but I’ve been here. I know how to react, I know what to do, how to enter and exit.”
The same is true for Alexa, who admitted that she is similar to Fiona in real life and she somehow experienced the same journey as hers. “As in grabe ang correlation ng identity ko in real life sa character napini-play ko na para bang ni-research ba kami ni direk Erik bago kami bigyan ng ano (roles) kasi parang swak na swak (yung characters). Excited na excited na po ako ipa-kilala sarili ko sa inyo when you watch the film.”
Alexa and Rob also shared the scene that really created an impact on them. Without divulging much details, Alexa described the “vital scene” as “very genuine, pure and raw,” where everybody can relate to it.
It’s like a “whirlwind,” according to her, “parang maze pagdating mo sa gitna, mahahanap mo yung purpose mo, mahahanap mo yung alignment mo. Mahahanap mo yung peace mo. ‘Yung situation na yun was our peace, in the middle of the chaos.”
For this scene, the co-stars said that they were speaking from the heart as the real Alexa and Rob and no longer just acting out. “Wala kami sa character. Ako nagsalita from my heart,” said the newbie actor. “And then she (Alexa) was talking to me from her heart.”
Alexa and Rob had a natural chemistry the first time they met and instantly felt comfortable with each other. They didn’t undergo any acting or intimacy workshop for the film, as everything was spontaneous.
“Parang matagal ko na po siyang kakilala,” confessed Alexa. “Tapos wala rin po akong expectations or anything…Open lang ako sa kung anong pwede niyang ibigay. At nung nakatrabaho ko nga po siya sa taping, lalo lang po gumaan ang pakiramdam ko sa araw-araw na nakatrabaho ko siya. As in natural lang po lahat. Parang ‘yung relationship po ni Raf at Fiona, ganun din po nangyari sa amin ni Rob in real life, ganun ang development (ng chemistry).”
Rob said he was “starstruck” upon meeting the lead actress and was amazed by her work ethics on set. “I got to talk to her, she was very nice. Very, very kind and down-to-earth. Every day when we worked together, I was stunned kasi she was such a great actress. She memorized really great. I was very much inspired by her to polish my script reading, memorizing and everything. And she was very helpful.”
Rob came from the famous Estrada showbiz clan. He looked up to his mom, former actress Kate Gomez, his uncle-actor Gary Estrada and grandfather, the late George Estregan.
Entering showbiz wasn’t his goal at first but then he had a change of heart and pursued acting just recently. “I love sports. I play football po kasi, that was my main goal. And then I used to study architecture. That was my first course, fresh from high school. And then I guess it was metanoia, change of interest, change of heart. Destiny. The stars aligned and they (A Girl and A Guy executives) gave me a chance to show my skills as an actor. And here we are.”
Alexa, on the other hand, was fond of acting since she was a kid. “Bata pa po ako, five-years-old pa lang, as far as I can remember, ‘pag tinatanong ako ng mga tao — teacher, kaibigan, kaklase, mga titos and titas — I would always say, ‘One day, I would like to become an actress.’ A performer. Everything around performing arts po talaga.”
Alexa joined the ABS-CBN’s Munting Miss Universe in 2001 and won the competition. She was supposed to enter showbiz, but things in her personal life (like family issues) prevented her from doing so. Alexa focused on her studies instead, but her love for acting did not fade. She would join theater plays in high school and college. “Kasi andun po talaga ang puso ko sa pag-arte, sa pagkakanta at sa pag-e-express ng sarili ko through performing arts.”
Alexa is a familiar face because she was also featured in a viral Jollibee commercial titled Signs in 2018 as part of its Valentine series. That opened many opportunities for her to be discovered in the entertainment industry.
The TVC director, Ted Boborol, chose her to take part in the drama teleserye Araw Gabi, starring JM de Guzman and Barbie Imperial. Various projects poured in after that until her biggest break came, the soon-to-be-released A Girl and A Guy.
A bit of trivia: Alexa got her screen name from her idol, Angel Locsin, who goes by that name in some of her movies. “Saludo po talaga ako sa acting niya at naging inspiration ko siya for the longest time.”
For the movie, the female lead star landed the part of Fiona when a photographer friend casually introduced her to direk Erik and set her up for a meeting with the latter. “When I got there (in his office), I didn’t know that there was a movie,” she said. “Nagkamustahan lang kami ni direk, siyempre na starstruck po ako. Pagkatapos po naming mag-usap-usap, parang bigla na lang niyang sinabi na, ‘Tayo ka nga dun. Dun sa gilid.’ Tapos may camera, nagsabi na siya, ‘Magbigay ka ng ganitong expression, ganito naman, tapos try mong ganito.’”
After the talks, direk Erik spilled the story plot and the details of his upcoming movie. “Parang napako na po ako sa upuan ko,” recalled Alexa. “Talagang na-in love ako sa narrative ng film. It’s like parang napanood ko na yung pelikula sa pag-kwento ni direk. Ganun siya kaganda. At bigla na lang po niya akong tinanong at sinabi na, ‘If you want the role, it’s yours.’”
Moreover, Rob met direk Erik when he was 16 years old through his tito Gary. He auditioned for the filmmaker’s horror movie Kuwaresma but didn’t make the cut. After a while, he received a call from film producer Dondon Monteverde, who urged him to try out for the role of Raf. “I heard po na they had someone else for this movie. Nagkataon lang po na may complications. At sa akin po na biyaya yung parte. Sobrang thankful po ako. Life-changing siya, since I’ve been wanting to act for a few years now, show off my skills and become the greatest actor that I can be.”
The two newcomers have nothing but praises for direk Erik. “Parang siya yung pinakatotoong director na nakasalamuha ko,” said Alexa. “Sobrang totoo niya, sobrang raw niya… Wala po akong masabi, hands down at sobrang taas po ng respeto ko sa kanya. Napakasaya po niyang katrabaho at andami ko po talagang natutunan. He inspires me all the time, to be the best.”
Rob added that direk Erik was “on fire” and always in focus while filming. “He works like magic.”
One piece of advice that direk Erik gave to Rob that made a mark on him was, “Sabi niya ‘wag kang umarte, ‘wag mong bigyan ng arte. Kasi actor ka na. Ibigay mo yung ikaw. Less is more.”
The onscreen tandem is inviting everyone to watch the film that will surely “blow our hearts away.” “We’re gonna show a lot of heart. Then, we’re gonna break them all. Scatter it and then blow it away. Ganun po yung mangyayari. Sobrang excited po ako na makita niyo lahat,” Rob said.
Alexa echoed, “Totoo po yung sinabi ni Rob. Na parang sisirain namin ang puso niyo. Bubuuin namin uli. ‘Tas gigibain namin ulit. Tapos bubuuin uli kasi ganun po tayo sa totoong buhay hanggang sa mahanap po natin yung sarili natin.”
The film also stars Rosh Barman, Sarah Holmes, Carlo Tarobal, Emilio Francisco, Chloe Reyes, Roeder Camanag, Donna Cariaga, Marina Benipayo and Shaun Salvador.
(Reserve tickets at upstream.ph before its worldwide premiere on June 24.)
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com