MANILA -- Chai Fonacier is back in Manila after shooting the much-anticipated Philippines-Ireland film co-venture “Nocebo” in Dublin with international actors Eva Green and Martin Strong under the direction of Lorcan Finnegan.
What thrills Fonacier was the praise accorded her by Green in her social media post last weekend. Posting a photo of them on her Instagram, the French actress wrote: “My fabulous co-star, @chaifonacier and I from the film we are shooting, NOCEBO directed by the amazing @lorcanfinnegan. Chai is truly a great actress with extraordinary depth and sensitivity and she was an incredible partner -- she blew me away!"
“Sobrang happy ako for hear to say that," Fonacier told ABS-CBN News Wednesday from her quarantine in a Metro Manila hotel.
“Most of the time, in my acting projects, the only thing I really want is to know if I'd done my part in realizing a creative vision, and this was more validation than I could hope for. After having very few projects throughout 2020 because of the pandemic I'd been feeling rusty going into this one, so sobrang happy ako to hear Eva say that. She's the loveliest person, really. It's a great experience working with such a talented artist, I'd do it again!”
It was in late February 2021 when Fonacier started her shoot in Ireland for the psychological thriller co-produced by Epic Media Philippines with international filmmaker, producer Brunella Cocchigglia.
Fonacier plays a Filipino caregiver who will use folk medicine to help the character of Green, a fashion designer battling a mysterious illness.
“Nocebo” will start shooting its sequences in Manila this summer. “Plan is May pero baka June because of the travel bans and strict lockdowns,” said Philippines co-producer Bianca Balbuena who also expressed pride for her provincemate.
“We're both from Cebu. I've always pushed for Cebuano and other talent to be more exposed to the local and international film co- productions because we want the world to know that Filipino talent is unparalleled. Very happy that our own Chai Fonacier has been well received by the Irish production team, by Eva Green and Mark Strong," Balbuena told ABS-CBN News. “She owned the part, she studied her character, that's why I was confident she's going to nail it. She has also received some meeting invitations from foreign agents so hopefully it will all turn out well.”
Balbuena previously disclosed to ABS-CBN News that several local actresses auditioned for the “Nocebo” role but Fonacier was the “perfect fit.”
Fonacier is best remembered for her award-winning performances in “Miss Bulalacao” and “Patay na si Hesus.” She also starred in the movies "Born Beautiful," "Respeto," and "Pauwi Na."
Other Filipino filmmakers are on board “Nocebo" in the writing and production design departments.
In its write-up, the Hollywood trade publication Variety cited the film's themes that “explore consumerism, human exploitation and the fast fashion industry, as well as the brain’s power in deciding whether to harm or cure the physical body.”
Nocebo is the antonym of placebo, and refers to the effect in which negative thinking on the part of a patient results in a more negative outcome.