MANILA – Liza Soberano revealed that she got to exchange messages with Filipino-Canadian actress Shay Mitchell right after they learned that they will voice Alexandra Trese in the Filipino and English versions of the animated series “Trese,” respectively.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Soberano admitted she got really excited when Mitchell started following her on social media, much more when she got a private message from her.
“We’ve never really talked in person yet but she did follow me on Instagram. Kinikilig nga ako noon. She messaged me. Of course, I messaged her right away,” she exclaimed.
Expounding on what they talked about, the Kapamilya actress said: “She was telling me that she hopes to meet me one day and I said I hope so too and she just replied, ‘I hope it’s sooner than later.’ That was our conversation. She’s really sweet.”
Adapted of the Filipino graphic novel by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, “Trese” is set in Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans.
Detective Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld composed of malevolent supernatural beings.
Recalling the moment the role was offered to her in November 2020, Soberano said she instantly accepted the project before realizing what the role would actually require from her.
“It’s funny because right away I said yes because when it was offered to me, they mentioned that it’s a Netflix series and that Shay Mitchell would be part of it. They told me that already. I said yes right away but at the back of my mind, after texting ‘Yes, I want to be part of it,’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, what did I just say yes to?’”
Soberano said it quickly dawned on her that she would be doing voice acting and it’s something she has never done before.
“I’m used to dubbing my movies and commercials but that’s completely different because in dubbing, I just have to be my natural self. In voice acting, you have to create this completely new character that is far from yourself because the last thing that you want is for somebody to watch the anime series and go like, ‘Oh that’s Liza Soberano.’ Because that’s not who I’m portraying,” she said.
Hence, the first thing Soberano knew she needed was to read the graphic novel so that she could get a gist of what the story is all about, and get to know her character.
“I did that twice in a row. I read it and then a week later, I went through all the books again because the first time I read it, I just wanted to know the story. I got so excited about it that I finished it in a day and a half. The next week, when I read it again, I wanted to go back and see some minor details that I may have missed out. Maybe there was an Easter egg there or two that I didn’t quite get when I first read it.”
In addition to that, she also prepared for this project by doing extensive research on voice acting, and actually tapping a voice coach.
“The other major challenge that I had was being able to finish the dubbing without losing my voice. I had two days of dubbing and our first concern was I usually get paos after two hours of talking straight. I know that because when I would dub my movies before, I’d get super paos,” she said.
“My voice coach told me that it’s because I use my throat when I talk so I tend to strain my vocal chords a lot more. He had to teach me how to be able to talk with my chest and bring my voice a little bit lower, and how to rest my voice after using it. What to do and what not to do.”
In addition to that, Soberano confessed that another major struggle for her was to be able to speak in Tagalog without an accent at all.
Despite this, it helped the actress that she relates well to her character because of their many similarities.
“I can relate to her because she’s family oriented. She would do anything and everything for the people that she loves, may it be her family, people that she treats as her family, and even her countrymen.
“She is also very responsible and respectful. She respects two different worlds, the supernatural world and the human world. She is also very brave and I feel like I am also brave in the sense that I am also willing to stand up for whatever I think is right and for whatever I believe in as long as I know that I am doing good.”
When asked if she personally believes that mythical creatures exist, she said: “I believe in some of them. Not all of them. Because for me, I don’t think that a story or the idea would even pop up into somebody’s minds without them experiencing something.”
Ahead of its Netflix release, Soberano said her supporters should look forward to the animated series because it showcases Philippine culture and mythology, and so much love and Filipino pride was put into it.
“As you can see, almost everybody that is part of the project, from the cast, the director, producer and even the people on the technical side of it, almost all of them are Filipino. For a Filipino graphic novel to be showcased on a big, big platform which is Netflix, on a global stage, it means it’s really big and it’s really something,” she said.
“I feel like all Filipino should support this because I feel like this is our stepping stone into getting a bigger audience for people that will appreciate Philippine culture and Filipino entertainment and Filipino artists.”
The Other voice actors in the English version include Darren Criss, Jon Jon Briones, Nicole Scherzinger, Manny Jacinto, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Dante Basco.
“Trese” will be available for streaming on Netflix starting June 11. There will be a total of six 22-minute episodes directed by Jay Oliva, Mel Zwyer, David Hartman and Tim Divar.
Filipino band UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down, composed the series' theme titled "Paagi," with lyrics by Armi Millare and Paul Yap.