|Marian Rivera and Piolo Pascual play the lead roles in a film within film topbilled by veteran actress Vilma Santos. Photo courtesy of Filipinas in Showbiz webpage
MANILA -- Once thought as an impossible team-up due to the "network wars," Marian Rivera and Piolo Pascual will portray a couple in an upcoming film which features the indie debut of veteran actress Vilma Santos.
In "Ekstra," Rivera and Pascual portray actors who topbill a TV series titled "Nauna Kang Naging Akin," effectively making their debut project together in a film within a film.
According to entertainment columnist Ricky Lo, a recent shoot for "Ekstra" saw the characters of Rivera and Pascual play out a poor boy-rich girl scenario in the fictional "teleserye." In one scene, the two meet in a sugarcane field after circumstances forced them apart, sealing the reunion with a kiss.
Pascual and Rivera have faced off time and again on primetime TV, being the respective lead stars of shows aired by rival networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7.
Santos, who reportedly plays the maid of Rivera's character in "Nauna Kang Naging Akin," takes on another layer of portrayal as the title character of "Ekstra."
Produced by Atty. Joji Alonso under Quantum Films and directed by Jeffrey Jeturian ("Be Careful With My Heart"), the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival entry centers on the character of Santos, who makes a living as an "extra" or bit player in films.
Dubbed the country's "Star for All Seasons," Santos has reportedly waived her talent fee for the film, as did Pascual and Rivera.
Joining Santos in the cast of "Ekstra" are Cherie Gil, Pilar Pilapil, Nico Antonio, Marx Topacio, Olive Isidro, Tom Rodriguez, Tart Carlos, Ronaline Enriquez and Roli Inocencio.
Film director Jose Javier Reyes will also make a cameo appearance as a director of the film within the film. Richard Yap of "Be Careful With My Heart" will likewise reportedly make an appearance in the Cinemalaya entry.