Pelikula Q&A with Annicka Dolonius and Niño Mulach
by Jansen Musico
He’s a 70s child star. She’s a budding actress. Both were sharing a motel hot tub with a socio-political activist. If this wasn’t part of the promotion of their upcoming film, Juana C. The Movie, the scenario would have been more than just a bit peculiar. The two were in character. Niño Mulach, portraying a corrupt military man, was in a wetsuit with matching snorkel. Laughing at him was a tattooed Annicka Dolonius, playing a college vixen, who didn’t look too bashful in her bikini. Several shots later, they were in the backroom, willing to share a thing or two about the film, drinking, and dressing in drag.
How did you get cast?
They sent me an email. I almost missed it, actually, because I never check my email. They couldn’t contact me, so they sent me a message on Twitter, and I didn’t see it… again. And when I finally did, I missed the first audition, but I emailed them right away. I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t see this, bada-bada-ba,” and they were like, “No, it’s okay. Come for an audition, cha-cha-cha.” They asked me for an audition. I came in, and then I read, and then I got the part.
What’s your role?
I play Eva. She’s like this conyo college girl that Juana meets. We’re classmates. She sort of becomes Juana’s friend and becomes a bad influence to Juana, so…
So you’re that girl.
Correct me if I’m wrong. Your first ever acting first gig was in Pisay?
No. You’re correct.
How did you get into that?
My mom knew they were holding auditions for Pisay, ‘cause she had been in Maximo Oliveros. And so she took me to the audition.
Willingly or begrudgingly?
Willingly! [Laughs.] Because she knew that I originally wanted to get into drama school, and I was taking a year off at that time. So she took me to the auditions, so maybe I could, you know, get some experience. And I got it.
Then five years later you got cast in Ang Nawawala.
Yeah. I got the role of Enid in Ang Nawawala.
That was a very long gap between films. What did you do then?
I did a bunch of commercials, and I did music videos. It was probably because I was busy trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At that time, I don’t know… Do you remember what it was like being in your early twenties and you’re just all over the place? That’s what I was like, basically. And so I didn’t have a direction. I knew that I wanted to act. But I think, um, I don’t know what happened.
And now, you’re in a sex movie.
It’s awesome. I think that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do the film, because it’s so outrageous. It’s so out there. It’s so shocking. And it’s something I’ve never done. It’s just a lot of fun, man.
What’s your favorite role so far?
So far? I have three to choose from. But they’re so different. I can’t choose a single role. I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing. I can’t choose one.
That’s such a safe answer.
Yeah, right? That is the safe answer. [Laughs.]
What do you do in your down time?
I don’t know, man. I go out and drink with friends, and I wonder why I’m drinking so much with friends. I don’t usually know what I do in my free time. I don’t pay attention. I don’t even know what day it is.
Any plans after this film?
I’m wondering the exact same thing. I’m just making this shit up as I go along.
Raymond Lee, the film’s producer, cast you for the role.
Yeah. She saw me in Slumber Party, then naisip niyang i-cast ako. I play General Palakpak. I got the services of Juana. Si Juana kasi naging prostitute… My role is a spoof of the recent generals na involved sa mga political scandals.
I don’t want to name names. [Laughs.]
Were you familiar with Juana’s work before working on the film?
Yes. That was one of the reasons why I accepted the part. The fact that I was going to be involved in the advocacies of Juana Change was already a big thing for me.
There’s a special screening where your movie’s being bundled with—
Slumber Party, back to back. Yes!
How was working on that movie?
It was good. First time ko kasing maging bading, so a lot of people were surprised with the way I played that role.
How was it talking in Baklese?
Ang hirap sobra ng lines. They only gave me like five days before shooting? They gave me the script. It wasn’t easy. Even on the set, on the day of the shoot, I was still memorizing. Each and every word, iba eh. “Kayechi bang nakatira sa balurchi nitechi balu?” Di ba? Kayo ba ang nakatira dito? Ganun lang kasimple, pero ang hirap. [Laughs.] It’s so hard.
How was it like dressing in drag?
That was the fun part of it. They even did my nails. I couldn’t even hold the script with those nails.
You’ve been in the industry since when?
Since I was two-and-a-half years old.
And for a time you disappeared.
I spent time with my kids a lot. I scuba dived. I’ve been directing stage plays. Now I’m shooting my first film in June, Sino Ka Ba San Pedro Calungsod? By the way, I’m going to have another movie coming out, OTJ. I have short guest role there.
On The Job by Erik Matti?
Yes, yes. It’s already in Cannes. But it’s coming out here I think in August or September.
There are a lot of Filipino films in Cannes this year
Yes. I just hope to see the day the Philippine movie industry comes back to life and we’re able to come out of this rut we’re in; hopefully with better movies. It really hurts for someone like me na dito na nagkamulat. I know that we are the first filmmakers in Asia pero napag-iwanan na tayo. So sana manumbalik ulit yung sigla.
Juana C. The Movie opens in cinemas on May 29.