American actress Sumalee Montano paid tribute to her Filipino mother in producing and starring in her new film "The Deal."
Montano shared that her mother Linda Montano raised her as a single mom in America. Her latest action-drama film is primarily about a Filipina hero named Tala Bayani.
"This project is really dedicated to her and to women, to people like her, who will do anything for the people that they love," said Montano. "My mom passed away nine years ago and so really this is my love song to her."
“The Deal” marks the first time that a Filipino character is leading in a dystopian action-drama film.
In it, Montano co-stars with Emma Fischer, who plays her daughter Analyn, as well as with actress-producer Lisa Brenner, who’s married in real life to Filipino-American Hollywood producer Dean Devlin.
"The mother-daughter story is what struck me the most," Brenner said. "At some point it was becoming too much of an action films like no, this is not just an action film. We're gonna have intelligent smart, love-driven women."
Montano previously received praises for her performance in the Peacock series "Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol."
The Filipina-Thai-American actress went to Harvard for college but left a career in investment banking when she realized that acting was her true passion.
Montano also has a successful career in voice acting in several high-profile animation projects, including as a regular cast member of “The Ghost and Molly McGee”.
Her latest project, coming out on Netflix on December 9, is “Dragon Age: Absolution” where she’s one of the lead characters.
She is also the co-founder of LinLay Productions, together with Grace Lay. One of their projects as executive producers this year is the award-winning film “Nanny” coming out on Amazon Prime on December 16.
"Getting to be a producer is different for me and it’s wonderful because I could really put more intentionality into how the story was crafted," Montano said. "When you're an actor, you don't necessarily get to do that. People of color have been relating to white centered-stories for decades. So I don't think it's too much to ask for people to find themselves in this story."
"The Deal" is now streaming on the Roku Channel.