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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.

Aug 1, 2019


stars and director of JUST A STRANGER

ANNE CURTIS did three films last year: “Sid and Aya”, “Buy Bust” and the Metro Manila filmfest entry, “Aurora”. She got nominations as best actress for all of them in different award giving bodies. It’s already the second half of the year now but her first movie for 2019 is just about to be shown, “Just a Stranger”, from writer-director Jason Paul Laxamana, and opens in theaters nationwide on August 21. How come she started late this year?

“Last year, I was really so busy kaya I took some rest naman for this year,” she says. “Kasi doing three movies one after another, tapos may daily noontime show pa ako, my husband was complaining that I hardly have any time for him. This year, makaka-two movies pa rin naman ako, kasi I’m shooting another movie now with Vice Ganda intended for the Metro-Manila Filmfest. So may entry uli ako sa festival this year, pero comedy naman at hindi horror like last year.”

In “Just a Stranger”, Anne plays Mae Pimentel, a lonely woman in her mid-30s married to a rich businessman, Phil, played by Edu Manzano, who is taking her for granted. While they’re on vacation in Lisbon, Portugal, he meets a handsome young man, Jericho (Marco Gumabao) or Jekjek, the 19-year old son of the Philippine ambassador who charms her. They’re quickly attracted to each other and, before you knew it, they had a one night stand.

Their understanding is it’s the first and last time they’ll do it. But when they meet again in Manila, sparks fly anew and they couldn’t resist the temptation, even if their conscience both tell them that the illicit affair their having is wrong. Their motto about each other is: “I’m not your friend.  Not your lover.  JUST A STRANGER.” Where all this would eventually lead to and how long will they be able to hide their affair is what this scorching sexy drama is all about.

Aside from Edu, also supporting Anne and Marco in the film are Cherie Gil as Edu’s business associate who makes Anne jealous, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez as Marco’s parents and Jas Rodriguez as Phoebe, Marco’s girlfriend.

In real life, is it possible for Anne to fall for a younger man? “Yes, my husband is actually younger than me,” she laughs. “I’m 34 and he’s 32. But as they say, in love, age doesn’t matter kasi hindi mo naman matuturuan ang puso.”

Would she take hubby Erwan Heussaff to the premiere night of “Just a Stranger” to watch the movie with her? “He doesn’t usually go to premiere nights, kasi when there are love scenes, like in ‘Blood Ransom’ and ‘Sid & Aya’, lahat, nakatingin sa kanya to watch his reaction kaya he feels awkward tuloy. We’ll watch na lang sa regular screening.

"Alam naman niyang I have love scenes with Marco in the movie kasi pinabasa ko muna sa kanya ang script before I said yes to the project. Okay lang sa kanya, he’s open-minded, understands my work completely, and very supportive kasi it’s really a beautiful story.”

How is it working with Edu Manzano as her husband? “It’s a lot of fun. His son Luis is my best friend and he made me feel comfortable right away. It’s really nice to work with him and also Ms. Cherie Gil.”

How would she size up Marco as her leading man? “We’ve worked together in ‘Aurora’ but konti lang ang scenes namin doon together. Unlike here na our characters figure in a lot of emotionally challenging scenes. Ibang-iba ito and I’m really excited for him dito sa ‘Just a Stranger’, kasi it’s his launching movie as a leading man.

"Okay naman siya, he delivers, and he has all the potential to be a good lead actor. But sa love scenes, first time for him to do it so pinag-usapan naming mabuti ang blocking with our director. We have to guide him kung anong gagawin niya, kasi nga, neophyte siya, but he did it like a real pro.”