BEHIND the success of every horror film is a good story.
When film producer and director Erik Matti offered Katski Flores to direct the movie,“Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz,” the latter was hesitant as she is afraid of horror films.
But what drew Flores to accept the challenge was when Matti told the plot of the story.
“I saw something beyond the scares. Exactly as Erik Matti promised,” Flores said.
It was three years ago when “Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz” was conceptualized but underwent several revisions until it was finalized last year. The script was then written by Charlene Esguera, the writer of "Saving Sally," an animated film that received international awards.
The movie follows the story of Leah dela Cruz (Shy Carlos), a girl mysteriously jumped off their balcony, and Ruth Lumawag (Sarah Lahbati), the police officer who investigates Leah’s case. The people, who were being blamed by Leah’s action, are her family’s maid, Rosario, and school guidance councilor Sister Eloiza.
As Leah’s strange behavior escalates, so does the conflict between her parents. Ruth pieced together the lies and secrets of the people closed to Leah before the demon takes hold her.
“This is more than just a story of a young woman being possessed. More than a movie about a troubled cop, who wants to find peace and redemption by helping an accused of a crime,” said Flores.
“It is a story of how easily innocence can be corrupted, and how one action, big, small, good or evil, is a ripple-carrying pebble, the breath of a monster sleeping in a deep abyss that surfaces slowly without anyone noticing, until it’s too late,” Flores added.
What is just as important as the story, is the production -- from its tough heroes, ugly villains, scary settings, difficult stunts to shooting and editing.
Flores said one of the challenges she faced was finding the appropriate actors, since two months before they started shooting, the actor for Leah's role backed out.
One time, a person from Reality Entertainment came to her and said that Carlos will play the role of Leah.
The director was only convinced that Carlos is right for the role, when the latter read sample lines in the script.
“Na embody nya talaga eh ang role (she embodied the role), sweet and innocent pero may dilim kasi sa mata ni Shy (but there is darkness in Shy’s eyes),” Flores said in an interview at Robinsons Galleria, Cebu City, on Monday, June 26.
As for Lahbati, Flores said at first she is also hesitant if the former can justify the character of Ruth.
“Does she even act? I mean she's a model? Does she even speaks Tagalog?” These are the questions Flores had in mind upon knowing that Lahbati was to play the female cop.
“Doon ako napaniwala na totoo ang magic casting kasi when she read it (script) napaganoon ako ‘parang may bell,’ ang galing ni Sarah Lahbati,” Flores said.
From the creator of the blockbuster movie, "Seklusyon," which was directed by Matti, “Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz” opens in cinemas on Wednesday, June 28. (SunStar Philippines)
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