Alfred Vargas continues to challenge himself as an actor and producer with his new project “Pieta” which will start filming this month. As if playing a difficult character is not demanding enough, he will also star with two of the most revered thespians in Philippine Cinema — no less than Superstar and National Artist for Film and Broadcast Nora Aunor and multi-awarded actress Gina Alajar.
According to the actor-politician, he and internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Adolfo Alix Jr. visited Aunor in her home to personally invite her to join them in the project.“Gusto kong magpasalamat sa the one and only Superstar, si Ate Guy, Miss Nora Aunor dahil napasama ako sa pelikula niya at tinanggap niya itong project na ito. Nung tinanggap niya yung project na ito, biglang lumaki yung project. Nagpunta po ako mismo sa bahay niya. Para akong umakyat ng ligaw, kasama si Direk Adolf. Tapos tuwang-tuwa ako kasi napakamapili ni Ate Guy pagdating sa mga projects. Napili niyang gawin itong 'Pieta' with us.,'” Vargas told the media during the upcoming movie's story conference.
“Si direk Gina naman po, ang dami ko kasing workshop days na kasama siya. Siya din ang nag workshop sa akin to prepare me for my last film, 'Tagpuan.' Kaya thank you to direk Gina. At least masasabi ko na sa career ko, dumating yung panahon na sa pelikulang ito, nakasama ko si Nora Aunor at Gina Alajar, ako po ang leading man,” he continued.
Vargas then admitted that he is nervous to be working with the two veteran actresses.
“One hundred percent nandoon yung kaba, aaminin ko. Pero yung kaba, it's the good kind of kaba. Kasi, may halong excitement. At gaya ng sabi ko kanina, pumunta ako sa bahay ni Ate Guy, kinakabahan ako nun. Pero you know what, once in-open niya yung pinto, she made me feel so welcome. Parang she really makes me feel at home, ang sarap kasama. I look forward to this project very, very much,” he added.
In “Pieta,” Vargas will be playing the role of Isaac, who was just released from prison but believes he was wrongfully accused for the killing of his father years ago when he was young. Now, he is looking for answer to know the truth.
In this cautionary tale of a mother and son trying to find answers from their past as they seek redemption, Aunor will play Rebecca, Isaac's blind mother who grapples between her memories. Meanwhile, Alajar will be Beth, Rebecca's friend who selflessly devotes herself in taking care of Rebecca.
Aunor worked with director Alix in “Whistleblower” (2016) and “Kontrabida” (2022) which won the Best Asian Film at the Hanoi Film Festival in November and set to be released in the country this year. On the other hand, she has worked with Alajar for five films such as “My Little Brown Girl” (1972), “Condemned” (1984), “Bulaklak ng City Jail” (1984), “Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak” (1987), and “Andrea, Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina?” (1990). Alajar also directed Aunor for GMA Network teleserye “Onanay” (2019).
Asked why she accepted the project despite her previous health issues, Aunor said, “Unang-una, magandang challenge for me yung role ko as Alfred's blind mother kasi first time kong gaganap na bulag ako. Si Gina naman, kumare at kaibigan ko yan, at gayundin si Direk Adolf na kilala na ako at pinagtitiwalaan ko bilang direktor.”
Despite her stature, the 69-year-old shared she was hesitant at first that she might not be able to pull of what Vargas is expecting of her, but doubts disappeared once she was able to talk with him personally.
“Sabi ko, gusto niya ba talaga akong makasama? Kasi naging congressman siya, ngayon councilor, so parang nahihiya ako. Baka mamaya, hindi ko naman magawa yung ine-expect niyang maipakita ko sa pelikula. Baka hindi ko magampanan nang maayos,” she admitted.
“Pero nawala ang alinlangan ko nang magpunta siya in person sa bahay ko, kasi napakabait pala niya. Very humble at napakadaling kausap. Nakita ko, intelihente siya at maunawain din. Natutuwa akong bilang konsehal, madali siyang makaunawa sa mga problema ng kanyang kapwa,” she added.
Meanwhile for Alajar, she cannot help but gushed over Aunor's unchanged humility throughout the years.
“Hindi ko siya kinakitaan ng pagka-diva. And yun nga, yung sinasabi na parang hindi niya magagawa yung mga eksena kung hindi ko siya tinulungan, hindi totoo yun. Magagawa niya yun. Magagawa niya yun. Minsan lang naglalambing siya,” Alajar said.
In the end, Vargas is as excited to get to work with the two respected actresses in the industry saying. “Hindi sila basta basta tumatanggap ng project so I'm just very happy and blessed na kinakabahan ako sa first shooting day namin this month. Pero mas excited ako to work with Nora Aunor and direk Gina Alajar.”
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