Despite being one of the most prolific directors in the Philippines, ABS-CBN Films Managing Director Olivia Lamasan said there was one actor that she was scared to direct.
In an interview with Toni Gonzaga, Lamasan opened up about helming the award-winning classic Filipino film “Madrasta” starring Sharon Cuneta and Christopher de Leon in 1996.
Inang, as she is fondly called in the entertainment industry, recalled being uneasy while calling the shots for the movie, knowing that she was directing De Leon, who is one of the country's premier actors.
In one scene, Lamasan could not think of a way to motivate De Leon, which resulted in 13 takes.
“Meron siyang eksena with his son. Pero parang iniisip ko, paano mo ba imo-motivate at ididirek ang isang Christopher de Leon. It took us 13 takes. Finally, pumunta ako kay Boyet,” Lamasan remembered.
“'Yet (De Leon), how can I help? Sabi niya, 'naku, Direk, ang tagal kong hinihintay na kausapin mo ako.' Sabi ko, sorry kasi sa totoo lang di ko alam paano ka ididirek,” she added.
Lamasan admitted to the actor that she was intimidated by De Leon’s career as an actor.
“I shared with him na 'I'm so intimidated with you. Can I direct you?' Sabi niya, 'Direk, hinihintay kita,’” she shared.
After a short break, Lamasan was able to motivate De Leon, and they did the scene in just one take.
Madrasta led Cuneta to win Best Actress in the Philippines' major award-giving bodies including FAMAS, FAP Awards, Gawad Urian, and PMPC Star Awards for Movies.
But the feat did not come easy. According to Lamasan, Cuneta was mad at her after filming the movie.
“Natapos na yung pelikula, ine-edit na. Binuo na. Nung pagbuo, sabi ko 'Oh my God. Bakit wala akong maramdaman sa pelikula.' I had to call Sharon, Boyet and explain. I had to do five scenes in one day,” she said.
Lamasan had to reshoot parts of the movie including four confrontational scenes from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. the following day.
“Tinapos ni Sharon tapos umiyak siya. 'I'm so mad at you. Why did you this to me, Mommy O?'” the director reminisced.
Lamasan said she has known Cuneta for a long time as she served as the executive producer of “The Sharon Cuneta Show.”
“I took it. I embraced her. I am sorry but we had to do it,” Lamasan said.
Lamasan said she takes pride in seeing her actors getting recognized and gets satisfaction when people talk to her and tell her how they were touched by her projects.
“When I come across people, and people will come to me and say, 'I'm so touched with that movie you directed. Dun ako naiiyak because it validates my purpose as a storyteller,” she said.
Aside from “Madrasta” and “Milan”, Lamasan also directed “Sana Maulit Muli”, “In the Name of Love”, “Starting Over Again”. She also produced “Hello, Love, Goodbye.”