MANILA -- Director Roman Perez, Jr.’s erotic drama, “Adan,” a daring lesbian story starring beauty queen Cindy Miranda and young actress Rhen Escano, starts with a young girl crying after she was left behind by her mother (Maui Taylor). The girl, Ellen, had no choice but to stay with her father, Lucas, a lowly farmer (Bembol Rocco) who hardly makes both ends meet.
Ellen grew up sheltered in the bucolic ambience of their surroundings. She has a childhood friend, Marian or Yan, who eventually works as a cashier in a store in the city.
The two ladies are so close to each other that they share each other’s dreams and secrets. Marian, since she’s the one who earns money, even provides for the feminine needs of Ellen, including sanitary napkins, whenever the latter gets her period.
The owner of the land, a loan shark, asks Ellen’s father for his daughter as payment for the latter’s unpaid debts. When Ellen learns about it, she escapes the cudgels of her father, but not after she and Marian kill him.
The two girls inevitably live together and in doing so, discover their affection for each other.
“When I saw the film for the first time, I didn’t realize it was really me,” admitted Miranda, who was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Tourism 2013. “I wanted to ask myself, ‘Was that really me? Did I really do all those things?’ Somehow, after watching everything, I found it unbelievable if I could really do all those things. While doing the final scene in the bus, we were really hurt. We did everything we had to do to bring the story across. Buong buo. Walang labis, walang kulang.”
Admittedly, it was Miranda’s first time to kiss a girl intimately. Yet, she found no awkwardness doing the scenes with Escano. “Maybe it was because we were already in character when we stepped on the set,” Miranda explained.
“Before I said yes to this project, I read the script. I was assured [by my director and our writer], they would take care of us. I was told, ‘You’re an actress. That’s not you. You should play the role of Marian.’ So I decided to do everything when I accepted the project and gave my nod to play the role.”
Miranda’s sex scene with Epi Quizon, who plays a police investigator, was done in one take when they shot inside the jail office. “I guess when you’re really working with a good actor, you’ll be compelled to do your best or you’ll feel embarrassed,” Miranda said. “He helped me on the set. I was really so thankful to him.”
Escano, meanwhile, was really thankful to their director Perez, who guided them all throughout the filming “Our director allowed us to execute what we want to do to the point that nothing would look calculated or rehearsed,” Escano said. “We look innocent so the scene will look natural to the viewers who will watch the movie.”
The 23-year-old Escano said she has the blessing of both her parents to do a daring scene on the big screen. Although both parents are abroad and are now separated, they are aware about what’s happening to her career.
“I guess whatever I did for this movie, they will support me and they will be proud of me,” Escano said. “They will surely say, ‘Ang tapang mo!’ and ‘We’re proud of you.’ Not everyone can do justice to that kind of role. It’s rare that any actress will get that kind of role and when she does, she will give everything to give justice to the character.”
Both actresses said they prepared for their daring scenes. “I’m ready for whatever the public will say after they see the movie,” Miranda said. “I’m just happy that I was able to deliver what the role really called for.”
Miranda’s family members, who come all the way from Nueva Ecija, are set to watch Viva Films’ “Adan,” when it opens in theaters on Wednesday, November 20, with an R-16 classification.
There is more to the film than just its daring theme for the LGBT community, they insist. “The viewers have long been ready to this kind of film,” Miranda said. “Only, no producer was taking the risk to give this story to the public. If ever the others are not ready, hopefully, this movie will make them ready for this kind of story.”
Miranda and Escano said they will still respect it if others will cringe at the sex scenes between two girls. “But this kind of movie will show the story of lesbians,” explained Miranda. “This will be our stepping stone to show the world that we can also be good actresses, not just sexy stars or bold stars. We can prove that whatever project is given to us, whatever role is assigned to us, we can do it.”
Surprisingly, both of them did not have any inhibitions in portraying their roles.
“This film made me understand lesbians more and gave me higher respect for those kinds of people,” Escano said. “Direct Yam told us love does not exist only between a boy and a girl. Pwede sa lalaki at lalaki or babae at babae. Para sa lahat. So if ever a lesbian will like me or even court me, I will not make her feel that I don’t want her or I’m readily closing the door. I will make her feel that it’s okay. She should not be afraid. After all, she’s free to love anybody. She has the right to love anybody.”
Escano does not discount the possibility that she might also fall for a woman. “If you love anyone, lalaki or babae, go,” she said. “Either tomboy or bakla, no one can stop you from loving anybody. Once it comes, it can happen. You can entertain someone who shows you the emotion. I don’t see anything wrong with that and I am not closing the door to that possibility.”
Filming “Adan” made Miranda understand the relationships of lesbians. “After we did the movie, where my character is a lesbian, I understood their sentiments. I respect them. Until now, I know there are people who still discriminate how they look at lesbians. But I’m happy because at one point in my life, I was given a chance to play a lesbian.”
After a seven-year relationship, Miranda attested she is not committed to anyone at the moment. Meanwhile, Escano bragged that her boyfriend understands her job. “He knows everything happening in my career. He will watch the movie with me. He is not against anything that I did for my role [here in ‘Adan’]. He understands my decisions and he respects the choices I make.”