Kathryn Bernado & Dolly De Leon Discuss Darkish Comedy ‘A Very Good Lady’ – Deadline6 min read

Kathryn Bernado, referred to as the Queen of Philippines Cinema, and Triangle Of Unhappiness star Dolly de Leon are each nearly unrecognizable of their new film, A Very Good Lady, which ABS-CBN and Star Cinema are opening on the U.S. field workplace right now (October 6). 

Bernado, who is known for her roles in romantic dramas, performs a girl hell bent on revenge towards a former employer who sacked her – a glamorous retail tycoon referred to as Mom Molly, performed by De Leon. Bernado’s character switches between her true self – down-trodden, working-class woman Mercy, now pressured to rip-off foreigners on-line for a dwelling, and her fake persona as high-rolling socialite Philo, out to trick her former boss. 

“I particularly requested Star Cinema to pitch me one thing a bit out of the field for me – one thing about empowerment or a bit darkish,” says Bernado, when requested what she preferred concerning the venture. “My followers within the Philippines had been stunned as a result of they’re not used to seeing me in roles like this.”  

Dolly de Leon in ‘A Very Good Lady’

In the meantime, De Leon, who worldwide audiences know because the resourceful home employee in Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or-winning Triangle Of Unhappiness, spends a lot of this movie decked out in designer attire and swanning round at excessive society occasions.

“I used to be trying ahead to taking part in somebody with company, as a result of that’s so totally different to a lot of the characters I’ve performed prior to now,” says De Leon, whose earlier work additionally contains gritty roles in movies by Lav Diaz and Erik Matti. “It was additionally my first anti-hero position. Molly could be very controlling to the purpose that individuals are likely to hate her, even when she’s making an attempt to win their love. I used to be actually occupied with taking part in a personality who has a sort of psychosis about her.” 

Directed by Petersen Vargas, the darkish comedy deploys lots of the tropes of mainstream Filipino cinema, however with an extra dose of flamboyance and satire, earlier than deviating into the twisted fake mother-daughter dynamic between Philo and Mom Molly. Suppose Loopy Wealthy Asians, however with rather more violence and a few social commentary. 

Nonetheless, Vargas is eager to level out that this a girl’s story – it was initially written by a girl, Marionne Dominique Mancol – and behind the comedy is a story of the lengths that ladies are pressured to go to in an effort to survive on this world. “What I like about this movie is that we aren’t demonizing the ladies characters,” says Vargas, whose credit embrace award-winning LGBTQ drama 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten and Star Cinema romcom An Inconvenient Love.

“That’s why Dolly calls her character an anti-hero, and never a villain, as a result of they’re all victims of sure traditions and values, however on the similar time they’re additionally ladies of company. They’re simply making an attempt to navigate life and reclaim what they’ve misplaced.”

De Leon provides: “It’s undoubtedly a narrative about ladies, however I believe males needs to be additionally as a result of it can assist them perceive ladies extra in a manner. Lots of people, particularly filmmakers, will agree after we say that ladies want an even bigger platform to inform their tales. In truth, the times of girls’s tales being within the shadows are near over.” 

Bernado and De Leon say they’re each personally acquainted with the loopy, wealthy world of excessive society Manila, however like the best way the movie contrasts that with the extra actual facet of the Philippines. “It was a world I grew up in as my mother was a socialite, though we weren’t rich, so I might go to lavish events and be jealous of the opposite youngsters’ toys,” smiles De Leon. “So sure, the social hierarchies within the Philippines are actually far aside, however we’re additionally mates with folks from all locations in society.” 

Kathryn Bernado in ‘A Very Good Lady’

Bernado agrees: “I do know the glamorous facet from being an actress, however I’ve additionally met lots of people who’re very grounded. My line of labor has given me the chance to watch folks from all backgrounds, and hopefully take one thing away from that to make use of in my appearing.” 

On a much less severe be aware, Bernado says she additionally loved the problem of taking part in either side of society in a single movie, even if schedules meant she usually needed to play each roles in fast succession. “I’d be pulling off the false nails and lashes and placing on a complete totally different emotional vary to play Mercy, then leaping again into make-up to play Philo. It was loopy, however thankfully I had the perfect assist system with Petersen and Miss Dolly.” 

Beginning out a a baby actress, Bernado is the primary and solely Filipina actress who has starred in two films which have grossed greater than PHP800M ($15M) within the Philippines – The Hows Of Us (2018) and Good day, Love, Goodbye (2019) – and likewise has a strong fanbase within the Southeast Asia area. 

Classically educated in theatre, De Leon was recognized for her work throughout stage, arthouse cinema and HBO sequence Folklore earlier than her position in Triangle Of Unhappiness, for which she gained finest supporting actress the Los Angeles Movies Critics Affiliation Awards, and nominations on the Golden Globes and BAFTAs. 

A Very Good Lady is already off to a powerful begin on the Philippines field workplace the place it opened final week and has grossed PHP75M to change into one of many largest native releases of the 12 months. It opens on round 70 screens within the U.S. right now.  

De Leon has spent a while in North America since being signed up by Fusion Leisure following her Triangle Of Unhappiness success. “What I spotted on my travels is that there’s an enormous inhabitants of Filipinos all over the place that we will depend on,” she says when requested how she thinks the movie will play within the U.S. “As for the broader U.S. viewers, they’re rather more open-minded and curious lately and the themes on this movie are very common, so it’s going to resonate with them.” 

Mancol wrote the unique story for the movie and co-wrote the script with Jumbo A. Albano and Daniel S. Saniana. John Leo D. Garcia and Carmi G. Raymundo produced for ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema. The forged additionally contains Donna Cariaga, Chie Filomeno, Jake Ejercito, Ana Abad Santos, Gillian Vicencio, Kaori Oinuma, Nour Hooshmand, Althea Ruedas and Natania Guerro.

You possibly can watch the trailer for A Very Good Lady right here.

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