(Spoilers for 'Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes' follow)
MANILA - Angelica Panganiban breaks down as her character Cindy after being told a heartbreaking diagnosis by her doctor -- a scene from "Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes" that ultimately didn't make it to the final cut of the acclaimed film.
The deleted scene, posted by producer Star Cinema on YouTube, shows Cindy learning of the medical reason behind her difficulty conceiving: she has "lazy ovaries."
Cindy is then seen breaking down inside a toilet cubicle. The emotional scene gets a comedic twist, however, with Cindy addressing her ovaries.
"Wala namang ganyanan!" she says, in tears. "Baka puwedeng mag-relax kayo 'pag 40 na ako, o kaya meron na akong tatlong anak sa asawa ko. Huwag naman ngayon. Kinakarir ko ang lahat matanggap lang ako ni mom. Sige na naman, guys, please. Tulong-tulong tayo! Group effort!"
Moviegoers who have seen the revenge comedy by Jun Robles Lana, which is currently on its third week in cinemas, will not recognize this plot point; Cindy being potentially barren was not mentioned throughout the film.
Lana, in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News Wednesday, explained that the scene was part of the original two-and-a-half hour cut of "Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes."
"It was a hilarious scene, and at the same time, set up 'yon for the audience to understand what the character is going through. Nahihirapan siya magbuntis, that's why napaka-desperate siya na mahalin siya ng asawa niya," he said.
The filmmaker cited a number of factors behind his decision to exclude the plot point altogether, one being Panganiban's "brilliant acting."
"Sometimes when you write a script, as a writer, you tend to provide all the information. And then when you start making the movie, you realize na ang galing-galing ng mga artista, may mga puwede kang alisin [na eksena], kasi sa portrayal pa lang nila, marami na silang naki-kuwento na hindi mo kailangan i-verbalize," Lana said.
Such was the case in Panganiban's scenes as the submissive Cindy, who appeared desperate to please both her husband, Felix (JC de Vera), and her mother-in-law (Carmi Martin).
Lana surmised that even without the information of Cindy being infertile, there was "enough sympathy" for the character because of her often humiliating attempts to satisfy people in her life, made more sincere by Panganiban's portrayal.
"It wasn't really moving the story forward. We decided to let go of that," Lana said, adding that he also had to trim the film's final run time.
'RISE AND FALL'
This was one of the reasons behind the exclusion of another scene, where Judy Ann Santos' Lianne is seen being strictly professional with a patient who opens up about her own experience of being cheated on by a partner.
As can be inferred from that deleted scene, Lana confirmed that it was supposed to take place after Lianne's open letter to her cheating husband Gary (Joross Gamboa) went viral on Facebook.
Aside from giving the audience "a glimpse of Lianne's professional life," Lana said the scene was intended to show what the character "has to deal with after inilabas niya 'yung Facebook post."
But, more importantly, the filmmaker saw that it risked interfering with "the rise and fall of emotions ng mga characters," pointing out that it would have been shown shortly before a pivotal confrontation between Lianne and Gary in a hospital.
"I was trying to imagine kung ano rin 'yung pagdadaanan ng audience," he said. "I felt na it was just really too long and nada-digress from the main point of the story."
"Hindi na kailangan. Nagpapatawa na lang, e. Parang punch lines na lang ang mga 'to na puwede mo na alisin," Lana added, referring to a part where Lianne quips she is not Charo Santos of "Maalala Mo Kaya," where letter senders share real-life drama.
A third deleted scene also released by Star Cinema, meanwhile, was meant to flesh out a sub-plot involving Panganiban's Cindy and Nico Antonio's Steve. It shows the two talking about random encounters while having dinner at a restaurant, Ma Mon Luk, where a four-way confrontation among the Reyeses earlier took place.
In the film, it's suggested but not explicitly that Cindy and Steve fell in love. But in the original cut, Lana said the love story was "quite developed until the very end, at makikita natin na na-in love sila sa isa't-isa."
The deleted scene, he explained, was meant to "flesh out the romance, and makita pa 'yung chemistry ng dalawa."
"Kasi iyon talaga, inalis, e. Wala na 'yung mga tinginan, 'yung getting to know each other, 'yung falling-in-love stage. Iyon, nawala lahat 'yun," he added.
Aside from the scene being "too long," Lana shared that his decision to do away with the scene was a matter of trusting the audience's intelligence.
"Pag gumagawa ka naman ng pelikula, you don't really have to provide all the answers," he said. "Otherwise, there's really nothing left to discover. Magandang napapaisip ang audience, magandang nakikiliti sila."
"I think noong makita na si Steve 'yung katabi ni Cindy, makikiliti 'yung audience: 'Sila ba? Magkakatuluyan ba sila?' Mas interesting iyon," the filmmaker said.
Numerous other scenes were deleted for similar reasons, Lana shared, including one where Lianne is shown reconciling with her best friend, portrayed by Gladys Reyes; and another where Gary and Felix have a dramatic confrontation, after the latter asks his newly transgender partner to lessen wearing feminine outfits.
Asked if he regrets not being able to include several scenes his team had already shot, Lana answered readily, "Hindi."
"I'm really merciless when it comes to editing my own films," he said. "Siguro if I had more time, baka ibang movie pa 'yung nailabas ko, e. Iyon talaga ang process ko. I believe in the input ng mga taong kasama ko sa production, ng cinematographer, ng production designer, ng editor."
Lana, whose award-winning career as a screenwriter and later as a director spans over two decades, knows full well that after the process of filmmaking, "posible at madalas talagang ibang-iba 'yung lumalabas na product doon sa original blueprint or screenplay. "
"Basta masaya ako sa kinalabasan, iyon ang pinaka-importante -- na feeling ko, lumabas 'yung vision ko as a director, and na-serve ko 'yung hinihingi ng kuwento," he said.