Joanna Ampil admits almost quitting ‘Ang Larawan’ movie

Alexa Villano
Joanna Ampil admits almost quitting ‘Ang Larawan’ movie
Joanna says it was her co-star and good friend Rachel Alejandro who assured her and helped her while doing the film

MANILA, Philippines – International theater actress Joanna Ampil returned to the Philippines to promote the upcoming movie adaptation of Ang Larawan, scheduled for release this year and to promote the single “Memory” from Cats the Musical, which she is currently doing as part of an international tour.

At the press conference arranged by ABS-CBN on Tuesday, June 13, Joanna gave an update on the movie. During the discussion, she admitted she almost quit doing the film. She was grateful to have co-star Rachel Alejandro supporting her.

“Working with Rachel, she was so supportive of me when everyone else was doubting me including myself. I wanted to quit.. I actually did quit twice but GR (Girlie Rodis, Rachel’s manager) didn’t let me go. So I said okay, I’ll just carry on doing this even if it will cause my health. But in the end, it was a fantastic result. It was just Rachel, when I was already… when I reached rock bottom, Rachel was there. So we really bonded. It also worked for the story as well because we play sisters.”



In the movie, she plays Candida, with Rachel as Paula, and Paulo Avelino as Tony Javier. Having done musical theater, Joanna said that it was a challenge to sing kundiman songs in the film. (READ: Joanna Ampil: From stage to movie star)

“You know, isa iyon sa mga challenges noh because a lot of the words are in Tagalog and very, very proper. So nung inaaral ko siya, I was having a hard time with certain words na you know, maski yung mga Pinoy na matagal na nakatira dito, hindi nila maintindihan yung certain words. So tinatanong namin si Mr C (Ryan Cayabyab). Siyempre, mas malalaman niya because he wrote the music. So medyo challenging yung part na iyon to learn the entire score. It took me a while. Of course, it’s very satisfying now after filming it because I can now say that I now know deeper Tagalog words and that I can sing some amazing songs ,” she said.

(You know, that’s one of the challenges because a lot of the words are in Tagalog and very, very proper. So when I was studying it, I was having a hard time with certain words that even Pinoys who have been living here for a long time could not understand. We often asked Mr C (Ryan Cayabyab). Of course he would know because he wrote the music. So that’s the challenging part of learning the entire score. It took me awhile. Of course, it’s very satisfying now after filming it because I can now say that I now know deeper Tagalog words and that i can sing some amazing songs.)

When asked if she’s expecting Ang Larawan to do well once it comes out in movie theaters, Joanna said: “We only have high hopes. This is a film that will outlive us I think because it’s a very important literary piece.”

“This is my opinion. I think it [Ang Larawan] should be part of the curriculum sa mga (in the) schools because it’s a classic and it’s very close to our culture. It talks about our culture and I think the youth should learn about it. I think the people will enjoy it,” she said.

The movie is based from the play written by Nick Joaquin with libretto by Rolando Tinio, and the score by Ryan Cayabyab.

“It is a story about two siblings, who are both struggling and surviving. They are caught between succumbing to modernity or leaving behind their beliefs and traditions. It’s also a story about their father, who lost interest, lost inspiration, was experiencing drought artistically, and decided to give this painting, na hindi sila maka part because na attach sila sa painting (that they cannot part from because they got so attached to it) because it had guilt in it,” she said.

In the synopsis posted on the website, Candida and Paula’s older siblings Pepang and Manolo are urging them also to leave the house because of their problems.

Asked about her experience working in the film alongside Rachel and a Filipino cast from different backgrounds, Joanna said she had a wonderful time.

“It was really blissful… the rehearsal was intense and it was very difficult and quite painful because I was taking home the character. But the filming process was a completely different story. it was so enjoyable. I knew what I was exactly doing, so it was more relaxed and Loy (Arcenas, the director) was more relaxed.

Joanna hopes that film will be considered for the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival 2017.

'MEMORY.' Joanna also announces she recorded her version of 'Memory' from 'Cats.' Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Joanna also talked about the release of the song “Memory” from Cats the Musical in the Philippines, Joanna said she was approached to record it and said yes since she was doing the show abroad. The song she said will be released online next week.

Another single she sang, called “Love Is Always Better” from The Bridges of Madison County the musical, will also be released soon.



With a good career abroad, Joanna was asked what tips she can give aspiring thespians who would like to follow her footsteps.

“You just have to surround yourself with positive people when you’re becoming negative already. This helps. Also, I’m very very blessed because I have my family of course who are very supportive and I have friends who know my weaknesses and my strengths. So alam nila yung mga tamang bagay na sasabihin sa akin and they know when I’m already down,” she said.

Ang Larawan also stars Zsa Zsa Padilla, Celeste Legaspi, Sandrino Martin, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Robert Arevalo, Carla Manglapus, Rayver Cruz, Ogie Alcasid, Jojit Lorenzo, Dulce, Nanette Inventor, Jaime Fabregas, Bernardo Bernardo and Noel Trinidad. The movie is distributed by Star Cinema. –

Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.