WHAT does Vilma say about her and Nora’s act­ing styles in ‘T-Bird at Ako’?

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Rito P. Asilo @ri­toasilo

Stars come and go—but not Vilma San­tos and Nora Aunor, whose en­dur­ing pro­fes­sional ri­valry is as le­gendary as their re­mark­able reign as movie queens and top­notch ac­tresses.

To cel­e­brate their con­tri­bu­tions to the lo­cal show biz in­dus­try, we urge movie­go­ers and film buffs to make a bee­line for the crisply re­stored ver­sion of Danny Zial­cita’s must-see 1982 drama, “T-Bird at Ako,” which be­gan its re­vival run at SM Cine­mas’ Cine Lokal out­lets last Fri­day.

The film tells the story of sexy dancer Is­abel (San­tos), who’s ac­cused of mur­der, and the re­la­tion­ship she forges with Sylvia (Aunor), the les­bian lawyer who comes to her res­cue.

“Ate Guy and I had a great time shoot­ing that movie. OK kami (we were on good terms), and it was a happy set,” re­called Ate Vi when we asked her last Fri­day to talk about how that ex­cit­ing project went. “It was fun work­ing with her. With Di

rek Danny guid­ing us, we would dis­cuss the best way to ex­e­cute our scenes to­gether.”

But, it wasn’t all that dif­fi­cult to con­vince the ac­tresses to ac­cept the movie, Vilma told us: “We both liked our char­ac­ters

kasi— be­cause the roles as­signed to us played well to our strengths as per­form­ers. Ev­ery­body knows that I ex­press my­self well via body lan­guage, while Guy is noted for her sub­dued por­tray­als. So, when we’re to­gether, our act­ing styles com­ple­ment each other, at la­long na­pa­pa­ganda ang ek­sena (and the scenes are bet­ter be­cause of them)!

“Now more than ever, ‘TBird at Ako’ shows how time­less it is be­cause its theme is as rel­e­vant as ever— na­pa­pana­hon pa rin s’ya!”

The film is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause of the rare op­por­tu­nity to see the ac­tresses’ much-dis- cussed ( and ea­gerly de­bated) act­ing styles, but just get­ting the Su­per­star and the Star for All Sea­sons to agree to share the spot­light with each other is a re­mark­able feat in it­self.

Hav­ing said that, we hope “T-Bird at Ako” won’t be movie­go­ers’ last chance to see Nora and Vilma to­gether on the big screen be­cause, as we sug­gested to Ate Vi in an­other in­ter­view, it’d be great to see them mak­ing thes­pic sparks fly in a dra­matic ve­hi­cle sim­i­lar to, say, a re­work­ing of “Larawan”—as Can­dida and Paula! Or a non­mu­si­cal, Pi­noy adap­ta­tion of “Chicago.”

How about it, Star Cin­ema, Boss Vic (del Rosario) and Mother Lily?

Our quick chat with Ate Vi:

What makes your ri­valry with Ate Guy en­dur

ing? Our ri­valry be­gan at a time when there weren’t as many ac­tors as there are nowa­days. Back then, the com­pe­ti­tion was re­ally one-on-one: Su­san Ro­ces-Amalia Fuentes, Rose­marie Sonora-Gina Pareño— tapos, kami na ni Nora, then Lorna To­lentino-Alma Moreno, fol­lowed by Sharon Cuneta and Mari­cel So­ri­ano.

Ngayon kasi, there are al­ready too many “celebri­ties.” If you no­tice, there are new faces every two months. Ev­ery­body can sing, act and dance. They have work­shops to train the new ones—and even be­fore a tal­ent search ends, an­other one be­gins.

An­other rea­son that ex­plains our longevity is the fact that our gen­er­a­tion was blessed with ace di­rec­tors like Lino Brocka, Ish­mael Ber­nal and Mar­ilou Diaz-Abaya. We were lucky enough to work with men­tors who trained us well and knew how to hone our act­ing skills.

They were very strict! Hindi pwede ang pwede na. Pati ang mataas kong boses at ang galaw ng ak­ing ki­lay, bi­nan­tayan nila. Bin­abato pa ako ng di­rec­tor, who would scream, “Igalaw mo ang ki­lay mo, igalaw mo!”

Who was the di­rec­tor?

Lino Brocka. Then, he’d tell me, “When you talk, just look at the cam­era, don’t look straight ahead. Just look here and de­liver your lines.” (Laughs) I made three movies with him—“Ru­bia Servios,” “Ha­hamakin ang La­hat” and “Adul­tery: Aida Macaraeg Case No. 7892.”

I also learned a lot from Ishma (Ish­mael Ber­nal). He taught ac­tors how to act nat­u­rally and move around as they de­liver di­a­logue. Then, he’d tell them which words to stress. He’d say, “When you say that line, say it with a pe­riod, not a comma....”

See? Th­ese are things you learn from ace di­rec­tors. We were given the chance to learn from them—and now, many of them are no longer with us.

So, how does an ac­tor sus­tain his or her pop­u­lar­ity and vis­i­bil­ity?

You can’t just rely on tal­ent. You also need to strate­gize. It’s part of how you han­dle your ca­reer—you can’t just do artis­tic or com­mer­cial films all the time.

The en­dur­ing pro­fes­sional ri­valry of the Su­per­star (left) and the Star for All Sea­sons is as le­gendary as their reign as movie queens.

Vilma San­tos (left) and Nora Aunor in “T-Bird at Ako”

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