MANILA -- Can you imagine beauty queen and 2016 Miss International Kylie Verzosa in a deglamorized role?
When she decided to embark in an acting career in 2017, following her beauty queen stint, Verzosa was seen portraying ordinary characters on TV and even on the big screen.
She appeared in Rodel Nacianceno’s “Ang Panday” (2017), Ruel S. Bayani’s “Kasal” (2018), Don Cuaresma’s “Abay Babes” (2018), Irene Villamor’s “Ulan” (2019), Dado Lumibao’s “Sons of Nanay Sabel” (2019), RC de los Reyes’ “Love the Way You Lie” (2020) the more recent “Love Lockdown,” megged by four directors – Andoy Ranay, Darnel Villaflor, Noel Escondo and Manny Palo.
Yet, it was only recently that Verzosa agreed to portray a deglamorized role as a housemaid. Late last year, when the 28-year-old actress was offered the title role in Viva Films’ version of the South Korean sexy drama, Verzosa admitted she initially had qualms about playing the part.
“When this project was pitched to me a year ago, I had my hesitation in the beginning,” Verzosa said. “'The Housemaid' is a different film with a lot of requirements. After I read the script, it took me three days to say yes to the project.”
Knowing that she will be working with such award-winning actors as Jaclyn Jose and Albert Martinez gave “comfort” to Verzosa.
“It’s a big honor for me to work with award-winners in this film,” Verzosa allowed. “Our director, Roman Perez, Jr., also gave me a lot of encouragement. We are now preparing for this film and we started our locked-down shooting in Pangasinan.”
She watched the film, the 2010 version, more than once. “I’m careful not to copy anything,” Verzosa said. “I watched the trailer and the whole film. My role is intense and very challenging. I will consider this as my most challenging role to date.”
In “The Housemaid,” Verzosa plays Daisy, an au pair contracted to work for a rich, pregnant lady. However, before her boss, Roxanne, can give birth, Daisy needs to tolerate the sexual advancements of Roxanne’s domineering husband that leads to a destructive affair.
Martinez is the powerful head of the rich household. Since his pregnant wife cannot satisfy his sexual needs, he starts to flirt with Daisy until he successfully slides up under her sheets.
Jose is Madam, the mayordoma Martha who hates her job, as well as the ways of her rich bosses, but is left with no choice but to perform well. Nothing escapes her keen eyes, so she knows everything that is happening around the house. She takes liberties in the mansion and her salary benefits her well.
Verzosa insisted her character in “The Housemaid” is not a typical role and therefore, not an easy one to portray. She had to talk to her director about her limitations and restrictions. While she gave her nod to love scenes opposite Martinez, the only male cast member, she is strictly not doing any nudity.
“The role made me curious right away,” Verzosa said. “After I accepted the project, I felt nervous and at the same time, excited and thrilled.
“Direk Roman will make the treatment to the scenes insinuated. I talked to him about it. Even while filming, I’m sure we will still talk about the treatment to the suggestive scenes that I will do. I have no doubts he can do them really well.”
It was back in 1960 when the original, black and white version of “The Housemaid” was shown in South Korea, then directed by Kim Ky-young. In 2010, a new version was released, an erotic and melodramatic film megged by Im Sang-soo. It even competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
It has taken a decade before an adaptation of “The Housemaid” landed on Philippine shores and Viva Films was entrusted to remake the sexy thriller.
“This is an iconic and influential film,” acknowledged Perez, who previously directed “Sol Searching” and last year’s erotic thriller, “Adan,” with Cindy Miranda and Rhen Escano. However, while his previous two films had interesting turns, “The Housemaid” offers a darker twist.
“We are adapting ‘The Housemaid’ to a Filipino context,” Perez said. “I watched both versions, the 2010 and the 1960. I studied both and noted what’s the same or different. I was able to incorporate the Filipino context and adapt it to the treatment of our film.”
The respective characters of every actor in “The Housemaid” were pitched to every one the director eyed for the part. “We got all the actors we wanted for the role,” Perez said. “We chose the actors for this project. This is a very timely film. And yes, this can also join film festivals abroad eventually.”
Perez disclosed that both the cast and production crew all observed and followed many protocols while they are in their locked-in filming. “We followed everything. All the safety protocols required.”
Also in the cast of “The Housemaid” are Alma Moreno, Louise de los Reyes, Jobelyn Manuel and Elia Ilano.
Although the film does not have a playdate yet, Perez said “The Housemaid” is one of the biggest films that Viva will release next year.
Last January, Viva Films announced its acquisition rights for Korean hits like “Sunny,” “The Wedding Dress,” “Spellbound,” “More Than Blue,” “A Man and A Woman” and the completed “A Hard Day,” with Dingdong Dantes and John Arcilla.