Anna Luna said that doing the road movie, “Requited,” gave her the chance to test her limits. She was never a competitive biker, but she successfully rode across lahar-covered Mt. Pinatubo in Pampanga with her costar, Jake Cuenca.
“This is the most physically draining film I have made so far. It was my first time to go trekking, and I was with Jake, who is a mountain biker. He rode so fast, and I had to keep up with him. On our last day of filming, I was so tired that I felt like I was going to vomit. I didn’t want our director to know that I was struggling,” Anna said during a recent visit to the Inquirer office in Makati City.
The actress was the guest storyteller of Inquirer’s Read-Along session for July.
“Requited,” written and directed by Nerissa Picadizo, is one of the nine finalists of the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which runs from Aug. 4 to 13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.
“Aside from the fact that I needed to carry my heavy bike in some scenes, there were also ‘heavy’ dramatic scenes that required me to cry,” the actress recalled.
In spite of that, Anna said this particular trip to Pinatubo turned her into a nature lover. She has done two other films set in the Mt. Pinatubo area—“Maestra” and “Paglipay.” She pointed out: “For those movies, I only got to as far as the foot of the mountain. It was my first time to reach its crater while doing ‘Requited.’ You can pitch a tent and stay there overnight. My body is missing it. I will definitely go back. I will bring friends who are first-timers, so I could trek ahead of them and say, ‘Let’s go! This is so easy!’”
In “Requited,” Anna plays Sandy, who is one of the most celebrated volleyball players in the country. She decides to ride to Pinatubo with Jake’s character Matt, an ailing biker, for one last time. “They both admit to loving each other, but Sandy is driven and is more focused on achieving her goals as an athlete. Sandy cares for Matt deeply, but thinks that it’s already impossible for them to be together,” Anna explained.
Anna said she was grateful that, throughout the trip, Jake was supportive of her.
She recalled, “We shot some scenes while riding on the side of highways, with trucks speeding by.
“Jake would always check on me to make sure I was safe. He would also offer to rest when he saw that I was already looking tired. When sitting together in the van, he would ask: ‘Are you OK?’”
She added: “I was intimidated by him in the beginning, he being a well-known actor. I realized later on that he was nice, funny and playful when the cameras weren’t grinding. I remember teasing him once, by asking him to buy me a bottle of beer. We enjoyed our drinks so much that we finished five bottles each.”
Anna said she felt flattered that Jake appreciated all the work she had put in the film. Jake, who waived his talent fee for the project, is also a coproducer.
“When filming was over, he sent me a message to thank me. I appreciated that gesture,” Anna pointed out.
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