‘Marya’ on a roll in comedy

B. Allie Tah
Maricel Soriano in back-to-back comedies by top director Wenn Deramas

THE QUEEN. Maricel Soriano in familiar territory after 9 years. Photo from her Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – 2013 is the year “Diamond Star” Maricel Soriano is on a roll.

Marya, her popular nickname in showbiz, has two, back-to-back comedies. Both are directed by Wenn Deramas, a name that implies box-office draw.

In Viva Film’s “Oh My Mamma Mia,” Maricel co-stars with the versatile “dramedienne” Eugene Domingo.

Then she appears with Vice Ganda in “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy,” one of the 8 official entries in the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival.

READ: MMFF 2013 aims to revive the spirit of its heyday

“I’m back!” Marya said, as if referencing her Filipino-inflected phrase in “Soltera” (1999). She met with the media recently. “Na-miss n’yo ba ako?” (Did you miss me?)

Maricel is full of praise for Direk Wenn.

Mabilis si Direk Wenn mag-shoot. [He works fast shooting scenes.]  In one shooting day, we get to finish 9 sequences at puro [and all of them are] big scenes iyon.”

This marks Maricel’s return to comedy after 9 years.

Oo nga, ‘di ba? Yung last comedy na ginawa ko [The last comedy I did] was ‘I Will Survive’ in 2004 pa. Puro na mga drama ang ginawa ko. [All I did since then were dramas.] The last movie I did was ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’ in 2011.

Ngayon, back-to-back comedies ang ginagawa ko. Para masaya tayo, ‘di ba?” she laughs. (Now I’m doing back-to-back comedies, so we’re happy, ‘di ba?)

Maricel came to be called Comedy Queen during the Eighties, when she did one hit comedy after another such as “Inday Bote,” “Inday… Inday Sa Balitaw,” “Super Inday and the Golden Bibe,” “Maria Went to Town,” “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang,” “Taray en Teroy,” “Gorio & Tekla,” and “Stupid Cupid.”

She played Dolphy’s daughter in the now-classic, long-running sitcom “John en Marsha,” which has been reissued in the wake of Dolphy’s death last year and continues to influence today’s sit-coms and even seryes like “Be Careful with My Heart.”

What does she say about New Comedy Queen Eugene Domingo?

“Love koyan si Uge. Happy ako for her kasi nakita ko ang pag-unlad niya sa trabahong ito.” (I love Uge. I’m happy for her because I’ve seen how she developed from her craft.)

Napapanood ko ang mga movies niya at sobra akong natatawa sa kanya. Effortless kasi. Kaya happy ako to work with her again in ‘Oh My Mamma Mia.'” (I’ve seen her movies and I enjoy her humor. Because it’s effortless. That’s why I’m happy to work with her again.)

“Huli kaming nagkasama sa [Our last appearance together was in the film] ‘Bahay Kubo’ in 2007. Hindi pa siya nagbibida noon. Ngayon, big star na siya.” (She wasn’t a star yet. Now, she’s a big star.)

And how’s it like working with Vice Ganda for the first time?

“Fan ako ni Vice Ganda. Sumasakit ang tiyan ko kapag pinapanood ko siya.” (I’m a fan of Vice. I get stomachache  laughing when I watch him.)

Sa movie namin [In our movie], I play his mother. Apat silang Vice Ganda na lalake, babae, bakla, at tomboy. Sobrang saya ang movie naming ito at tamang-tama para sa Christmas season.”

(Vice Ganda has 4 versions, man, woman, gay, lesbian. This is an enjoyable movie and it’s right for Christmas.)

Many of her fans await Maricel’s return to drama. In this genre, she has long established herself as a nuanced performer, a completely different personality from her comedic side.

Marya was supposed to return to television drama via ABS-CBN’s “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin.” But things didn’t work out on the set with young actor Gerald Anderson.

She dropped out of the project and was replaced by Dawn Zulueta.

“I guess the project was not meant for me.

Hindi maganda ang naging vibes ko sa project kaya siguro nagkaganun.” (I didn’t have a good vibe about that project so maybe it turned out that way.)

“Kaya sa movies muna tayo. Magpatawa muna ako bago ako bumalik sa drama.” (So I’ll stick it out with movies first. Make people laugh before I return to drama.) – Rappler.com

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