Jean the grandmother becomes action star

August 28, 2019
Jean Garcia

JEAN Garcia is better known as an effective contravida in teleseryes like “Kambal Karibal” and “Inday Will Always Love You”. She now plays the fearless heroine in an action-thriller, “Watch Me Kill”, an entry in the 3rd Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino directed by Tyrone Acierto who helmed “The Grave Bandits” about zombies that won best picture in the New Wave Section of the Metro-Manila Filmfest in 2012.

“Mahirap palang maging bida in an action movie,” she says. “I’ve done action films before, but usually, as the leading lady lang of the action hero. E, dito, ako mismo ang gumagawa ng action scenes, pati ng stunts and I tell you, it’s not easy, buwis buhay siya. Kung kailan pa naging lola na ako.”

Jean turned golden girl when she celebrated her birthday on August 22. She now has two grandchildren with her daughter, Jennica.

“Noong unang i-offer nila sa akin itong movie, nag-second thoughts talaga ako. Kaya ko ba ito? Kinakabahan ako. But after reading the script, na-in love ako sa character na gagampanan ko, si Luciana, a cold blooded hired killer, walang emotions at walang pakialam sa ibang tao. I haven’t done a character like her and I was challenged kung makakaya ko ba siyang itawid. I was deglamorized here, ni walang make up. Ang damit na suot ko paulit-ulit. Yung boots na ginamit ko, 'yun lang all throughout the movie. Pero 'yung back story ni Luciana, why she became what she is, ang ganda.”

She had to undergo an extensive two-week training for the fight scenes. “I had to train sa krav maga, martial arts, and I learned how to shoot a pistol, pati machine gun at shotgun ha, at mas lalo akong ginanahan. Dati kasi, takot ako sa baril. Ayokong masaktan. Pero nung shoot na, nag-enjoy naman ako. Medyo hardened na ang character ko rito. But she saw her chance for redemption when she became the personal protector of a young girl, si Aurora, played by Junnyka Santarin. 'Yun ang babago sa kanya.”

Supporting them in the movie are Jay Manalo, Althea Vega, Rodolfo Muyuela and Bodjie Pascua. How is it being directed by a U.S.-based filmmaker?

“Tyrone is another reason why I accepted the movie. I wanted to work with a director who studied filmmaking in the U.S. It’s very rare to get to work with someone like him. We shot our movie not in the usual digital format but in 16 mm negative film kaya ang ganda ng resolution and clarity on screen. Tyrone is soft spoken, hindi nagagalit kaya very peaceful sa set.

“Kaya lang, ang rehearsals at blocking namin, paulit-ulit para perfect pag nag-take na, kasi magastos sa negatives kapag nagkamali. E, mostly exterior ang shots namin, sa lahar sa Pampanga. Mainit. And I was driving a jeep. Buti na lang, sanay ako sa manual drive.

“It’s been a long time since I played a lead role na sobrang naiiba, ‘Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwa Paa’, where I played a dancer and I won awards. Ngayon na lang naulit and I’m so proud of this movie. We were accepted sa Warsaw International Filmfest in Poland from October 11 to 19, in competition, kaya sana manalo.”

And here’s wishing they’d also win in the coming Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino that starts on September 13. Jean is really busy these days as she has started taping for her new soap. She plays the role of Alden Richards’ mother in GMA-7’s ‘The Gift”.