What drew Lea Salonga to 'Yellow Rose'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2021 04:11 PM

What drew Lea Salonga to 'Yellow Rose' 1

MANILA – Lea Salonga said it did not take that much convincing when she agreed to take on her role in “Yellow Rose,” the acclaimed film about Filipino immigrants in the United States.

Speaking in a virtual press conference on Monday, Salonga said she was mainly drawn to the project because of what her manager told her and because of its powerful script.

“My manager in the US sent me the script and he actually pushed really hard for me to do this. He said, ‘You have to do this film, you should do this film because it’s the right thing to do. It is very topical,’” she said.

“It was the power of the script, power of the story, power of my manager’s words saying ‘This is the right thing to do, you got to do it.’ That’s it.”

Salonga said she also liked the idea of playing a character that is not so easy to like.

“I think it is something far more interesting for me to play after having played many ingenues and heroines in my career. It was interesting to tackle and to try something where the character isn’t really well liked. Trying to gain some empathy from the audience would be a little more challenging, unlike Rose who you know is the hero throughout the entire narrative of the film,” she said.

Salonga revealed that she actually patterned her character after someone she did not like.

“It made for an interesting shoot for me -- me trying to gain empathy for that kind of human being. But recently, I was reminded why I didn’t like this person. So, it was interesting to revisit this all at the same time,” she said.

After making rounds in international film festivals and a theatrical release in the United States, “Yellow Rose” is finally debuting in the Philippines.

The film will be available for streaming on the ABS-CBN platforms KTX.ph and iWantTFC, as well as Cignal PPV and Sky Cable PPV beginning January 29.

“I’m glad that it’s finally coming here and that there are platforms to make it available. I’m glad that it’s able to come home. I’m glad that audiences will be able to meet Eva (Noblezada) this way,” she said.

“I think she’s poised to be a major superstar. Her life is gonna change once this movie comes out. I still believe that that is going to happen. Her life is definitely going to change as if it hasn’t already. There’s been so much going on in her life since that debut in the West End. I’m so excited for people to finally see her,” Salonga added.

“Yellow Rose” centers on a Filipina teen (Noblezada) from Texas whose country music dreams are derailed by a threat of deportation.

While it is not a true story, director Diane Paragas said “it is based on very real things that are happening to real people all over America.”

The film began its festival circuit in 2019 before its US release in October 2020. By that time, the film had already reaped 13 jury and audience awards from various festivals including acting prizes for Noblezada.

Aside from Noblezada and Salonga, also part of the movie's cast are actress Princess Punzalan and American country singer Dale Watson.

The film was co-produced by ABS-CBN Global’s Cinematografo Originals, and is being distributed locally by ABS-CBN Films’ Cinexpress.

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