Alice Dixson in a scene from 'Dyesebel' (1990). Regal Films/Rated K
MANILA - "It made me as an artist."
These were Alice Dixson's words in recalling her title role in the 1990 film adaptation of Mars Ravelo's "Dyesebel."
At the time, Dixson, whose semifinals finish at the 1986 Miss International pageant effectively launched her showbiz career, had already starred in several Regal Films movies.
"It's one of my favorites," Dixson told ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual, referring to the mermaid role. "It really made me as an artist. Looking back, it was one of the best times in my career."
Directed by Mel Chionglo, Dixson's "Dyesebel" was the fourth portrayal of the iconic mermaid on the big screen, following Edna Luna (1953), Vilma Santos (1973), and Alma Moreno (1978). It also marked several firsts as a film adaptation of the comics classic.
"For me, it was [difficult], because we had underwater [scenes]," Dixson said. "We were the first 'Dyesebel' that swam underwater. Mother Lily (Monteverde, Regal Films producer) bought the first encasement for the camera so we could take underwater shots."
Dyesebel's fish tail in the movie, Dixson said, was the first to be orange in color in the films. Thanks to prosthetics by Maurice Carvajal, the actress recalled Dyesebel's human legs convincingly grew scales as she transformed back into a mermaid.
"The first to come out in its time," Dixson said. "So marami kaming firsts, and I'm very proud to have worked with Mel Chionglo and James Cooper (makeup artist), who was very active at the time. I miss them!"
"I think Mel just set the standard really high and I was very honored to be compared to the other Dyesebels before, and meron kaming naibigay na kakaiba at naaalala pa ng mga tao. Nagpapasalamat din ako."
Anne Curtis in a promotional image for ABS-CBN's upcoming 'Dyesebel' adaptation. Photo by Mark Nicdao
Dixson, who continues to be active in showbiz -- her TV5 sitcom co-starring Ogie Alcasid was recently launched -- also gave a piece of advice to the latest actress to portray Dyesebel, Anne Curtis.
The ABS-CBN star will top-bill the network's adaptation of the Ravelo tale. The Primetime Bida series, which is under the direction of Francis Pasion and Don Cuaresma, will premiere on March 17.
"I've said this before and I'll say it again to her -- just enjoy the role," Dixson said, when asked for her message to Curtis. "Have fun with it, Anne, and good luck. I wish you the best!"