MANILA — It was a “production number” for Dolly de Leon, having to set up her space for a virtual meeting with Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, who would become her director in a film that would change her life.
De Leon was undergoing the audition process for the project that would become “Triangle of Sadness,” when she was a scheduled for a Skype call with Östlund on January 7, 2019.
“This was a time when ring lights, Zoom, and green screens were unknown to me,” de Leon recalled in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “My daughter helped me set up the stage with books to prop up my tablet, a floor lamp for good lighting and a crappy couch to sit on.”
Preparing for the call, she recounted, took nearly an hour. “I prayed, cleansed my piyao beads with salt and bawled under the Cainta sky where we were living rent-free,” she said.
The meeting, to de Leon, “felt like a callback” — and she guessed right, as she would actually get cast as Abigail, the role that continues to draw her wide acclaim, to the point of being considered a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination.
De Leon shared a black-and-white photo of her during that video call with Östlund, as she waxed sentimental over “Triangle of Sadness” finally being shown in Philippines cinemas. The film was released November 30 across the country, seven months after it premiered in Cannes where it won the coveted Palme d’Or.
“Thank you to every soul who bought a ticket and watched in cinemas. Thank you to every giving heart (here and abroad) who paid to watch it on VOD and watched again with their friends and families. You’re the captain! Mabuhay kayo!” she wrote.
Since “Triangle of Sadness,” countless doors have opened for de Leon, a stage veteran who had mostly been known for her supporting roles on the small and big screens. For one, she signed up with a US talent agency in June, and is expected to essay more international roles.
But perhaps most exciting for new followers of de Leon is the prospect of her Academy Award nomination, or better yet, an Oscar in hand that would make history for Filipino actors.