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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 23, 2019


SHARON CUNETA is back on the big screen in her first horror film, "Kuwaresma", where she gets to work for the first time with John Arcilla as leading man and Erik Matti as director. Shot on location in an old house in Baguio, Matti says he wasn't really sure if Sharon would accept the project when they offered it to her. But it turned out Sharon is a big horror film fan and readily agreed to do "Kuwaresma".

“I met with Direk Erik and Realiy Entertainment Dondon Monteverde and they pitched the project to me,” says Ate Shawie. “15 minutes into the meeting and I said yes na to them agad.  I fixed my schedules and in one month, nagsu-shooting na kami. Gusto ko rin kasi makatrabaho si Direk Erik. His mastery of the film language, especially the horror genre, cannot be questioned.

"Napanood ko yung ‘Tiktik’ niya with Dingdong Dantes and Lovi Poe at ang galing ng lahat. I was so impressed with all its attention to details. I also got excited to do ‘Kuwaresma’ as I haven’t done a horror film yet and I find its story about a mother fighting evil to save her family very engrossing, very gripping. Kaya nga, perfect na pang-Mother’s Day presentation din ito when it opens in theaters on May 15.”

Direk Erik says Sharon is a bonafide horror film fan. “She can recite the entire lines of Linda Blair from the movie ‘The Exorcist’, na pareho naming favorite horror movie.”

“I’ve really been a horror fan since I was a little girl,” adds Sharon. “I like ‘The Exorcist’ kasi I read the book, then watched the movie, and I know that its author based it on a true story. My other favorite is ‘The Omen’, the original starring Gregory Peck about the birth of the anti-Christ. Sa local naman, favorite ko ang ‘Gumising Ka, Maruja’ ni Lino Brocka, starring Susan Roces, and ‘Pandemonium’, also starring Susan Roces with Ronaldo Valdez, which I saw on TV as a child at hindi ko na nalimutan.”

Direk Erik is also a big horror movie fan. Aside from “The Exorcist”, his other faves are “Rosemary’s Baby” with Mia Farrow, “The Innocents” with Deborah Kerr, “Sa Init ng Apoy” with Lorna Tolentino, and various episodes of different “Shake, Rattle & Roll” movies, notably the “Manananggal” episode with Herbert Bautista and the “Undine” episode with Maniyn Reynes. But he says that “Kuwaresma” will be much more scary than any of his favorites.

“The title is ‘Kuwaresma’ because it happens during the season of Lent when it’s believed that patay ang Diyos and evil can reign supreme. Sharon and John Arcilla are a married couple and they have two kids, played by newcomers Kent and Pam Gonzales who are brother and sister in real life. The story starts when Kent comes home after Pam, who is his twin sister, has died, and he tries to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. And that’s when spooky things start to happen in their household. Also in the cast is former child actress, Guila Alvarez of ‘Ang TV’. She now works in the corporate world and I just convinced her to make a comeback in the very important role of a medium na malaki ang kinalaman sa story.”

Direk Erik has nothing but good words for his lead actress. “Sharon’s role is very demanding physically. Ang dami kong pinagawa sa kanyang eksenang not only physically tiring but emotionally rin. Yung iyakan, sobra. Namugto raw ang mga mata niya. And it’s very bloody, so madugo talaga. What’s nice about her is that she respects her director. We didn’t even expect that she’d accept the project. Sabi namin, suntok sa buwan ito, but let’s try it. But when she commits herself to the project, talagang she gives it her all. She’s not the type na pagdating sa set, itatanong agad sa’yo, Direk, anong oras tayo matatapos sa shooting?”

“Maraming hirap talaga ang pinagdaanan ko rito,” adds Sharon. “It’s really very draining. But it's a happy set kasi si Direk, happy pill. Magang-maga ang mga mata ko for crying one million times. Ang dami ko ring ginawang pagmumura rito. After each shoot, I feel soooo tired at bagsak talaga ako pagdating namin sa hotel where we stayed in Baguio. I lost weight while shooting this movie at siguro, by the end of the year, puede na nga ako uli mag-Darna. Ha ha ha! But all our efforts, lahat ng hirap at pagod that we poured into ‘Kuwaresma’, it’s all worth it. You’ll see for yourself when you watch the movie in its entirety when it opens on May 15.”