Eugene Domingo’s Ten Little Ladies star is currently No. 1 on Amazon Prime Video.
First Filipino Amazon Films is the latest offering from the idea of First Company, Jun Robles Lana (director) and Perci Intalan (producer), the duo behind commercially and critically acclaimed films such as Big Night, Panty Sisters, Born Beautiful, Day. The beautiful Ang Dalawang of Mrs. Reyes, Bwakaw, Fabula Barber and Kalel 15. First Video previously announced that it will start streaming in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. 15 Feb.
The murder-mystery comedy tells the story of the widow of Filipino billionaire Valentin Esposo (John Arcilla) and his 10 girlfriends, who will exhaust all means and methods to get the next legal wife. Eugene is a confident Lamia butler who runs the house like clockwork, managing multiple servants and mistresses when they all meet under one roof. But when Valentine died in a mysterious way, everyone became a suspect. Ten Little Mistresses also stars Carmi Martin, Pokwang, Agot Isidro, Iana Bernardez, Donna Cariaga, Sharlene San Pedro, Kris Bernal, Christian Bables, Adrianna So and Kate Alejandrino.
Seen by Direk Jun as “the mother movie to end all movie movies,” Ten Little Ladies is irreverent, outrageous, riotous, campy, right off the bat. It is Eugene who sets the tone in the opening scene, where his blue-hued character pulls Lilith out of the mansion’s window, before leading a musical number to the tune of Sampung Mga Daliri, and leading the rest of the house staff as a chorus.
It’s easy to be a stand-up comedian and live out her “desperate music star” dreams.
“Bollywood itself, ‘di ba?” witty Eugene in one interview with the star in the streaming broadcast on February 15, in which he quickly grabbed the top among the most respected characters from the Filipino platform subscribers.
“We encouraged ourselves many times to try to cover everything and it was so explained. Naka-calcanei kami lahat tapos haladan. Hirap din ako sa tuhod, tapos maybe lyrics, maybe pa-choreography. I’m really aware, I’m really expert here and I can’t get tired. If show that you are tired or ayoko na, lahat nakaka-emotional, and I want — mahirap sabihin’ hahaha — show the juniors na dyusko, kung ako nga G na G (game na game), kayo din; she said.
“The top (theme) music of the whole movie. And then I felt like Cate Blanchett in TAR, parang conductor. Yes, nakakabitin! But if I just heard, maybe in the future, if Direk Jun directs a full-length music, I won’t be surprised.”
Interestingly, before the closing scene the dialogue is less than that musical number which proves to be more cinematic. It took the 12-year veteran comedian 30 years to take the pin.
This is the first series of Lamia. You think you just open the curtains and see nothing. Parang naka-take 12 ako hahaha! Direk Jun was content with the first, second and third, oh my god!” he shared.
“It was very similar, I want to feel more anxious at the same time. And think deeply what you are supposed to feel at that time.’ Oh my god, paano ba yun? Pinaka-mahirap kasi ang walang dialogue, blue eyes tapos pa ako, nag-da-arida. So I had a lot to worry about. This is very technical, but what I’m trying to say is that Direk Jun is very clear with his directions… and he won’t stop until you give it because he needs it.”
Eyes as blue as Lamia’s, no less a feature was added to her character. Eugene had to try seven different shades of blue before using contact lenses in the film, whose color was as blue as the eyes of the superhero Thor.
But every time she put it on, “I automatically felt like the Vampire was inside me. Because of the blue eyes, nasa lines yun ni (co-star) Donna Cariaga, ‘Wala talagang nakakaligtas sa blue eyes mo.’ He has super power hahaha! It’s very exciting. It’s a cute element that Direk Jun added and I really enjoy it. Yun palang, ang camp na!”
Interestingly, when it comes to the details and demands of his roles, his approach today is to fully trust the director and the script. The reason is that Eugene, whose first ever film appearance was in the 1991 drama Emma Salazar’s Case, has “changed” as an actress and comedian.
“I’m very dependent on everyone on set — dependence and respect (all about) dependence. Because you cannot dictate this or that. which I did. I did all kinds of work. But throughout, I was very committed. But I changed,” she shared.
“Before I was too serious, even in comedy, and with too much preparation and planning, (which would follow in vanity) I was frustrated. And when you’re frustrated, you’ve become alone, you try to deal with everything… and things get lost. So as an actor after so many years I learned to believe. Believe everyone that they think for you and they took you because they believe that the actress can save you.
Direk Jun previously starred in hit films such as Big Night and Barberina’s story, which was Eugene’s last lead role in a drama film.
“I always say to Direk Jun, it’s always new for me and I do it like that. I don’t even have to think about it. Everyone thinks about the details. Imagine all of us, among the 10 favorites, plus John Arcilla, Donna Cariaga and the special participation of Cerasi Pie Picache, lahat sila inisip yung looks, clothes, details. And so, if it may be called by Jun Lana, ‘wag ka na masyadong mag-isip’. Just remember your lines and safe parts.
Meanwhile, Ten Little Ones wasn’t all fun, camp and irreverent.
There is a scene in the back where they are all present in one body. After scene after scene of ladies overpowering and tossing each other, with intemperate clothes and all, this scene shows the intemperance being taken down, and looking as one and the same. It emphasizes the message of self-love, who you are, and the virtue of matching women.
Speaking more about this scene, Eugene says, “I am so touched by the scene where we all confess our faults and forgive each other. Forgiveness as much as loving – it is intense and emotional and enhances the relationship itself. And if you forgive, it is love.’
“There is a stage where it is not appropriate for women to admit themselves, let’s not be silent. And what we put in our bodies… this is not for us. We’re trying to impress someone, but that’s not who we are… The real beauty is in you, just being yourself,” he added.
It is worth noting that Ten Little Mistresses had Eugene acting alongside the modern stage and comedy generation. She mocked the veteran with Pokwang, Agot Isidro, Carmi Martin at the presscon. The younger members, however, cast out not so much the energy as they idolized their elders, such as Donna, who gushes with Eugene’s admiration and praise.
“Nagulat ako na ganun na. Kumbaga, oh my god, that is our turn. Hahaha we are veterans now. Because in my heart and in my heart I still strive to do something. I’m not like, OK, veteran. I am not at all. I am still learning to do others. I’m still on that learning path. It is nauna lang ako ng medyo madami-dami taon. But, oh ganito pala, ako na pala hahaha!”
Eugene carefully consults the disc, which he readily admits belongs to another age and time. Their generation is different. What advice can we give them if we are not really the same – working conditions and environment?” he admitted.
However, every time they are asked how to achieve career length, the honest end for them is to become a good teammate.
“See that you are a lovely person at work and you are very professional so that people are always excited to work with you. That to me is longevity — yung magaling ka talaga makisama and you deliver the goods very well so that the producer will be happy, ‘Ah, you get it, that’s for sure.’ Thus the Hindi mauvos, the lazy may become an artist in life.
“And they like younger people, once you have money, connections, influence, they don’t do drugs. Please don’t lose yourself. Because sometimes, not always happy, sometimes you are frustrated and sad, or you feel that something is missing. Medicines do not. Take a break and pray.”
Lending full support to Eugenio from the shoot to the gala premiere and the blue carpet-presscon was his other significant other, Italian film critic Danilo Bottoni. By the way, Eugene first met him when he was the object of the play Barber June direk at the Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy, where he won the Third Place-Audience Award, back in 2014.
Eugene got excited in his audience when he recognized Danilo in the audience. He shared that while he used to attend festivals and awards abroad as a film and film critic, he got shy at the awards for his beloved film in Manila.
“Sabi ko, ‘Babe, why don’t you ask a question?’ He said timidly. Later on, when we were at home, “I had a question.” I said: Well you asked, why didn’t you ask? The question was – I’ll share it with you – in the last scene where they remove the heads or souls of the girls, what is the meaning? Eugene remembers.
“Ano sagot ko? Wala. Hinalikan ko lang siya! Hahaha!”