MANILA – Prequels are rarely done in the Philippines. Making a prequel of a blockbuster film that remains popular and relevant, is even more uncommon.
Thus, filmmaker Mae Cruz Alviar confessed there was an “intense pressure” when she took the helm of the “Four Sisters and a Wedding” prequel following the exit of original director Giselle Andres.
Titled “Four Sisters Before the Wedding,” Alviar said in a virtual conference on Sunday that she took over the movie because she wanted to help ABS-CBN after its franchise was denied by Congress.
“At that point, high ang emotions ko talaga that any project, whatever you give me, just so I could do my part to help, just so I can help create new content for the company, go, kung ano man iyan. So nung sinabi ni Inang, sabi ko yes, go,” she said.
“Noong tapos na yung call, nung ilang days na, nag-sink in sa akin kung ano ba itong pinasok ko. Tama ba yung decision ko na tanggapin yung project, eh ‘Four Sisters’ iyan. Come on, napakalaking pelikula. Up to this day, it’s so relevant still. Hindi mamatay-matay yung popularity niya. It’s such a classic film,” she added.
In addition to this fact, Alviar said she and everyone making up the film had to deal with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The movie was all done after nearly a month of lock-in filming, under new-normal safety protocols.
“This is the first project that I did during the pandemic. Major adjustment siya for me because time is of the essence. We only had limited shooting days, unlike before na we had double the number of shooting days. We had limited shooting hours as well. We had to be prepared. Everything should be ready. There’s no time for asking questions, for delays, nothing like that,” Alviar.
Far from what everyone in the entertainment industry is used to, Alviar said all the preparations for this movie had to be done online since they could not be together for meetings or script readings.
“We had pre-blocking, script reading online. Even the look test was done online. Even the make-up test was done online. Every single costume was presented down to the shoes. Everything was prepared so that when we get to the set, when we shoot, everything is ready. We had one-on-ones with actors also to discuss the detail of their characters so that when we get to the set, we are very clear on what’s gonna happen and how they’re gonna attack the scenes as well,” she said.
But like in every project she’s done, Alviar said she did not let the pressure get in the way so she would be able to deliver what was required of her.
“The focus is to really isipin what will motivate me, what will motivate the team and everyone. I think we achieved that naman because we are happy with the output. We are happy sa naging samahan namin on set and the way we did it. Ang pressure, we set it aside and we all worked hard together to come up with this beautiful team,” she said.
Refusing to take all the credit, Alviar also lauded the film’s writer Vanessa Valdez as well as her actors.
“I have to give it also to Vanessa because she wrote a beautiful script. That helped a lot. I brought it out sa actors but the basis is the script. It also helps that napakabukas ng mga artista. They are very open to the guidance and they have also done their homework. It made my work easier,” she said.
While they worked under difficult circumstances because of the global health crisis, Alviar said there was never a dull moment on their set.
When asked what’s the relevance of releasing this movie amid the pandemic, Alviar said: “We are reminded of what is essential in life and that is family.”
“Ang Pilipino pa naman, makapamilya. Especially now that Christmas is approaching, we are reminded that in spite of the losses, in spite of the pain that we have encountered or experienced this 2020, what is essential is love. It’s something that you cannot take away. It’s something that doesn’t have a price tag on. It’s something that we should value. Mawala man lahat sayo, ang pamilya mo nandiyan or should be nandiyan. Also, that love is something that you can receive or give to others even if we have nothing materially,” she added.
In “Four Sisters Before the Wedding,” Star Cinema will take views back to the time when iconic siblings Teddie, Bobbie, Alex and Gabbie Salazar deal with family challenges and heartaches.
Topbilled by today’s most promising young stars Alexa Ilacad (Bobbie), Charlie Dizon (Teddie), Gillian Vicencio (Alex) and Belle Mariano (Gabbie), “Four Sisters Before the Wedding” streams worldwide beginning December 11 via KTX.ph, iWantTFC, TFC IPTV, Cignal PPV and Sky Cable pay-per-view.