“Our chemistry together is a selling point,” Iza Calzado said, pertaining to the original Sang’gres’ reunion to create their new project, Mystified.
The first IFLIX Originals film premieres on March 29 and it will star the four leading ladies of Encantadia 2006: Iza Calzado, Karylle, Diana Zubiri, and Sunshine Dizon. Mystified is fantasy-themed and centered around a group of sorceresses who are living in the mortal world. They’re also protecting humanity from the wrath of Hellga (Sunshine Cruz) and her dark forces.
All four ladies are extremely happy and proud of this project, mostly because they started Sang’gre Productions with direk Mark A. Reyes in the process. They even shared an anecdote that they all shed tears of joy when they first wore their costumes. Karylle also described the feeling as being kilig over the fact that she’s working with her best friends. Perhaps their fans will feel the same with their sisterhood and not just another love team.
Although this film isn’t connected to Encantadia, they’re excited to see how their fans will receive this and share it with “the new millennials.” We also asked the four ladies for more Mystified insight that may or may not convince you to tune in later this month. (To tell you the truth, I’m pretty intrigued by it!)
How did you and direk Mark A. Reyes make sure that this is different from Encantadia?
Iza Calzado: We really had to make sure it would be different because, first of all, pangit naman if we do something that’s lifting off from [Encantadia]–like a spin-off. With all due respect to GMA, we can’t do that. So we had to make sure it was in line with fantasy, still had some type of magic. I guess us being in the mortal world and our powers are different.
Sunshine Dizon: When we were doing Encantadia, we all played one character. As Yael [Yuzon] was explaining to us earlier, it’s a very different universe.
Karylle: Same genre lang.
SD: Here in Mystified, we have present lives within the mortal realm. From witches, I became a doctor, Iza became a teacher, [Karylle’s] a vlogger, and Diana’s an events specialist.
Were you trained in different fighting styles for this project?
Diana Zubiri: What do you call that? Was it tai chi?
SD: Well, I did that, but you guys had different trainings.
DZ: I had to have mine changed too because I couldn’t do all the balancing.
SD: I think we all had different styles. But originally, there was a specific one. But for me, I had to adjust because of my back problems. [Laughs] Ultimately, we worked with the same people from the original Encantadia—
IC: With the time that we were given because we were sort of pressed for time also.
SD: Our fight director, Ali [Leal], knows our strengths and weaknesses. He had to choreograph it in a way that’s exciting but we can do it.
Aside from the inevitable body pain from doing your own stunts, were there any accidental injuries or bruises among you and your co-stars?
IC: Wala naman!
SD: I think I only got body aches. I admit, I’m getting old. I’m already 35. I’m not a super athletic person also that’s why, on the first day of training, my body was filled with Salonpas.
IC: Thank god there were no injuries. That was the last thing we wanted.
K: My body pain was okay because I had my yoga mat around.
IC: Yeah, K was always stretching!
K: I didn’t really care if I looked a bit crazy because I was always doing splits. That was the only way [to fight the body pain.] Dipping in a jacuzzi helped as well.
How will Mystified promote empowerment and breaking stereotypes about women?
IC: When it comes to women empowerment, the fact that we are doing this and it’s mostly a female-led project. That in itself is a source of empowerment and hopefully, it’ll inspire other women to take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for it to happen. In terms of breaking stereotypes, for my character, she’s a teacher who really enforces what’s right. Not so much breaking stereotypes, but she’s defending basic human rights.
K: For me, I found so much inspiration from Reese Witherspoon—she finds her material [from books] and produces them [into shows.] I was inspired with how she and her best friend-slash-partner, and how they create and seek out strong women leads. How does she do that? So, I started watching her speeches and pick up clues on how she does it because she has so many businesses that centers on empowerment. Hopefully, we can do that for one or two people. It’s also different when you see a woman do it also—it kind of clicks in your head that I can do it too.
IC: I guess it’s also like… You know, we’re not 20. At our age, I think it’s still nice that we can still kick some ass on set.
Is Sang’gre Productions going to make more “women for women”-themed films in the future, especially with the two upcoming ones you hinted at?
IC: No, no, [the upcoming films are] going to be different. And we’re not starring in it.
SD: But that is the goal, eventually—to have a female-led movie, female director, female writer. That is the dream.
K: We’re gonna get there.
IC: It’s also nice [to see a film from] the female gaze. Like, maybe we can get Sam Lee or someone like her [to direct our next projects.]
SD: I also want to say that we’re very lucky to have direk Mark behind us. He respects our visions, our talents. He’s like our pillar.
IC: He’s our ally.
SD: Yes, and it’s nice to have a man who pushes us upward for a change. It’s not us depending on them to get things done.
Photos courtesy of IFLIX Philippines
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