October 16, 2019
Showbiz royalty Janine Gutierrez is about to stun audiences, not with her bewitching beauty, but with her naturally inherited acting skills that will keep them at the edge of their seats.
Known for taking on strong and fierce female roles on television, the 30-year-old actress-cum-high fashion model is eager to showcase her versatility via “Babae at Baril,” a proud entry to this year’s QCinema International Film Festival under the Asian Next Wave Competition.
In the gripping psychological thriller, Gutierrez portrays a hardworking saleslady who’s had enough of being an underdog. Just as she decides to take things into her own hands, she mysteriously finds a gun on her doorstep. With it, she can do whatever she wants, talk back to whoever she wants and even hurt those who have wronged her. Empowered by the weapon, her bitter past comes rushing back to her and rather than wallow in it, it angers and transforms her.
“Wala pa akong character na quite like this,” Gutierrez excitedly shared at a media conference on Monday. “Lagi kong sinasabi na ito talaga yung pinangarap kong role. Para siyang galing probinsya na wala pa masyadong alam sa Manila and very out of place. Pero may mangyayari sa buhay niya na sobrang magfi-flip yung character niya.”
According to the talented daughter of ‘80s stars Ramon Christopher and Lotlot de Leon, the movie will be an eye opener for those who frequent department stores.
“Nag-shoot talaga kami sa loob ng mall and this is the side the public doesn’t see — kung ano talaga yung totoong buhay ng saleslady. And siguro naka-relate din ako sa fact na yung saleslady, pag nagtatrabaho, kailangan nakangiti, bawal magalit. Bilang artista parang ganoon ka din eh. Bawal kang masungit, bawal kang magsabi ng mali. I especially felt that kasi puro artista ang kamag-anak ko. So kahit anong gawin ko, magre-reflect sa nanay ko, sa lola ko, sa tita ko — lahat sa kanila if I don’t put my best foot forward. So dun ako naka-relate sa pagiging saleslady niya kasi hanggang saan ka magtitiis bago ka pumitik?”
Needless to say, the script of “Babae at Baril” locked her into the project; while such new experinces as shooting in shady places complete with a gun challenged her to no end.
“Sobrang na-pressure din ako kasi napakaganda ng script. Pressured para magampanan mo, mapantayan mo ang ganda ng kuento on paper — hoping na lumabas din siya onscreen,” Guttierez continued.
“Pero dapat siyang abangan kasi I think in a way lahat tayo makaka-relate na may mga nangyayari sa buhay natin na talagang naiiba sa pagkatao natin gustuhin man natin o hindi,” she shared.
“And aside from that yung pangalawang gusto ko sa project na to is super female-led siya which is something I am very passionate about as you know — women empowerment. Kasi director namin, writer namin, DOP (director of photography) namin, producers namin puro babae. Yung kuento tungkol sa isang babae na hindi mo aakalain na kaya niyang gawin ang mga magagawa niya. So I think it’s a really important project especially considering everything that’s happening now.”
Asked how she fared doing her action scenes, the ever candid actress replied, “Wala akong training na ginawa dito in terms of the action scenes. Yung character ko diba may mapupulot na baril but ang pagkatao niya, wala naman talaga siyang alam about guns. So ayaw ni direk na mag-training pa ako para natural na kung ano lang yung alam ko, yun lang din yung alam ng character ko. That’s why makatotohanan yung paghawak ko ng baril at pagkapa ko sa baril,” she said.
According to the film’s director Rae Red, the film is inspired by people who usually hide their inner anger. Red, who comes from a family of prominent filmmakers, said she picked Gutierrez to portray the main character because of the depth in her acting.
“Yung ‘Babae at Baril’ ay tungkol sa isang girl na napuno na sa buhay tapos gusto lang niyang isa-isahin yung mga kinaiinisan niya. So I think parang lahat tayo may ganuong punto sa buhay na gusto mo na lang mag-explode. And I think naging influence din yung family ko because I came from a family of filmmakers and mostly yung mga ginagawa nila mga gangster films or semi-action din. So I think I got my inspiration sa pinaghalo kong experiences,” Red shared.
“We wanted Janine to do this film because maraming names ang binigay sa akin tapos bawat name na na-suggest, I watched their videos on YouTube. Tinitignan ko yung mga acting pieces nila before. Nag-stand out si Janine kasi the role requires a certain level of intellegence, maturity. Tahimik lang ang character. Halos walang linya, so kailangan idaan sa facial expressions. May na-feel akong depth sa acting ni Janine kasi sa soaps madaming nag-iiyakan, nagsisigawan pero yung kanya may certain level and yun yung eksaktong hinahanap ko,” she enthused.
“Also, nakuha namin ang gusto namin from her, and more pa. Super relaxed sa set, wala akong na-feel na ere. She’s always there and nakaabang na siya sa next scene kahit hindi pa kami prepared and nakikisama siya with the other staff. Sobrang puring-puri sila sa kanya kasi nangangamusta pa siya sa kanila, kaya everyone loves her,” Red said.
In ending, Gutierrez said there is so much more to the story once people watch it.
“Siguro ang pinaka message niya is hindi mo kailangang magtiis. You shouldn’t have to settle. Lalo na dito sa Pilipinas. Minsan bilang babae pinalaki tayo na dapat mahinhin, dapat tahimik at sumusunod lang — padaanin mo lang yan mawawala din yan.
“Pero I’ve learned also from a lot of women and a lot of younger women — especially now yung Gen Z — yung walang makakalusot na mali. I think it’s very important to know that bilang babae, may kapangyarihan ka to say no, to ask for more, to realize that you do deserve more at hindi mo kailangan magtiis dahil babae ka,” Gutierrez ended.
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