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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.

Feb 10, 2020


xian lim with cristine reyes in UNTRUE

XIAN LIM has no regrets that he moved to Viva to be managed by VAA (Viva Artists Agency). He has since done several movies with them, including “Miss Granny” with Sarah Geronimo, “Hanggang Saan” with Louise de los Reyes that was filmed on location in Japan and now, “Untrue” with Cristine Reyes that was shot in Tbilisi, Georgia.

“Nagpaalam naman ako naman ako nang maayos sa ABS-CBN after my contract with them has ended,” he says. “Career move lang naman ang ginawa ko kasi Viva has given me the chance to work also behind the camera. And I’m really getting very challenging roles from them. But I have not burned naman my bridges with ABS and I’m now doing a new teleserye with them.”

He’s very pleased with his role in “Untrue”. “It’s really so different from anything I’ve done before. Yung movie mismo, kakaiba siya kasi hindi siya yung usual romcom na ginagawa ko before, so I really welcomed the chance to do it.”

We heard his role was originally meant for Mark Anthony Fernandez while that of Cristine was for Claudine Barretto, but the project didn’t push through so it was given to them.

“I know I was second choice pero okay lang naman kasi maganda talaga yung role. Mag-asawa kami rito ni Cristine na nagbubugan. Grabeng sakitan talaga. But our director, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, required me to gain weight para sa role ko as Joachim, an overseas Filipino worker in Georgia.

"So noong una, ang saya, kasi kain lang ako nang kain. I gained about 20 pounds. But after the shoot, I’m reporting to another project, sabi nila, bakit ang laki mo. So I have to go back to the gym and dieting to lose the weight I gained while shooting ‘Untrue’.”

How is it shooting in Georgia?

“Napakalayo, napakahirap puntahan. We have to fly there through Dubai. Napakalamig, so ang hirap umarte, lalo sa exterior shots na sobrang lakas ng malamig na hangin kasi talagang giginawin ka. The place is so quiet.

"But most of our locations, tourists spots so in between takes, naglalakad-lakad kami ni Cristine para mamasyal kasi picture-friendly yung lugar at ancient na talaga ang ibang structures nila.”

How’s it working with a young female director like Sigrid Andrea Bernardo?

“She’s intensely meticulous. Perfectionist siya, to the the point na she won’t do another scene unless perfect na talaga yung eksenang ginagawa nyo. She won’t settle for anything less. Hindi puede sa kanya yung, okay na yan, bawi na lang sa susunod o sa post production. Grabe yung passion niya in what she does, hindi lang siya but her staff, the people working with her, lahat ng kasama namin sa production, very exacting sila.”

In real life, has he ever been “Untrue” to Kim Chiu? “No, you have to be true to your partner. Wala akong ma-recall na incident na naging untrue ako sa kanya. I try my best to be truthful.”

Xian is also part of Viva’s Vision 2020 that bared all their projects for this new year. Boss Vic del Rosario was obviously pleased and inspired by the huge success of their MMFF entry, “Miracle in Cell No. 7” and they’re now releasing no less than 34 films this year.

Aside from “Untrue”, Xian is in the cast of two other new films, “Love the Way You Lie” where he’s paired with Alex Gonzaga and Kylie Versoza in a love story with a touch of whimsy and the supernatural. Then he’s also scheduled to shoot “Sa Muli”, a drama romance which will pair him for the first time with former Kapuso actress Ryza Cenon. 

Last year, Xian tried directing with the Cinemalaya entry, “Tabon”. He now says he’ll just concentrate on acting. Good for him. We should all know our limitations.