Rufa Mae reinvented in 'Henya'
MANILA, Philippines - Comedienne Rufa Mae Quinto sheds off her ditzy ‘Booba’ persona for action, espionage, and zombies in her newest movie, “Ang Huling Henya.”
From Marlon Rivera, director of “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank,” comes an action-dramedy about secret agent Miri Alvarez (Quinto), on a mission to protect scientists and inventors from technology-bandits with zombie slaves.
The film sees the secret agent battling demons from her past, when old secrets, her dead parents, and even zombies are unearthed from the grave.
“Ang role ko matapang, malakas, walang powers, pero magaling humawak ng baril, magaling sumuntok, sumipa, bugbog sarado lahat, pero mabait,” said Rufa Mae in a press conference on Thursday, August 15.
(My character is brave and strong, without super powers, but great with guns and fighting, punching, kicking, beating up her enemies, but she's nice.)
From ‘Booba’ to ‘Henya’
A bubbly Rufa Mae shared her thoughts on shifting from a kikay bubblehead to a kick-ass henya.
She admitted having difficulty with the change in wardrobe, but the bigger adjustment was channeling her inner drama queen.
“Naka-jeans, leather jacket lang. Mahirap tanggalin sa’kin na hindi ako glamorous. Naka heels, contact lens, etc." (I'm dressed in jeans and leather jacket. It's hard to separate from my personality the glamorous: heels, contact lens, etc.)
Feeling ko hindi ako maganda pag simple lang.” (I don't feel beautiful when I'm dressed simple.)
“[When it comes to the] drama part with tears, ugong and all, hindi ko kayang mag-drama talaga [I really don't feel I can do drama]."
"Ito, at least, na-feel ko yung mga eksena na seryoso ako [But here I felt the scenes where I had to be serious].” At least I have my own style of drama.”
Jesting with the media, she added, “Matalino ako. Yun yung pinaka the best na magkaiba." (I'm smart. That's the best difference.)
Rufa told Rappler that in the drama scenes, she channeled her emotions from a painful real-life experience.
“Yung meron nang namamatay sa tabi ko, nung namatay yung Daddy ko. Di ako basta basta puwedeng ma-sad kasi wala nang mas sasakit pa sa may katabi kang nalalagutan na ng hininga."
(When I had someone beside me dying, like when my father died. Not many things can make me sad because nothing is more painful than seeing someone breath his last.)
“So doon ko na-feel na, kasi may family-family din. So doon ko kinuha yung emosyon ko, dun sa experience ko ng heaviness na totoo.”
(So that's when I felt it. Because there's family there. So that's where I got that emotion, from that experience of heaviness because it's true.)
For the drama part, the comedienne attended a workshop by the Philippine Educational Theater Association.
She also shaped up to the physical demands of portraying a secret agent, training in boxing, Muay Thai, and firing.
Rufa Mae doesn't believe in the "Booba"-"Henya" dichotomy.
"Naniniwala akong walang bobong tao. I do believe na may iba't ibang level, merong kakayahan ang lahat na hindi kakayahan ng iba." (There's no such thing as an idiot. I believe people have different levels. There are capabilities some have and others don't.)
So dapat hanapin mo kung saan yung strength mo.” (You should find your strength.)
Rufa Mae is really being modest when she hastens to emphasize that she isn't bright. But she prides herself in being hard-working.
“Ang ginawa ko lang, naging masipag ako, so nagmukha akong magaling kaysa sa matalino.” (All I did was work hard, so it turns out I look better than smarter.)
Director Marlon Rivera says the film seeks to uphold a certain diligence or industry.
"'Yon talaga ang lesson ng movie," he said. (That's the movie's real lesson.)
"Hindi yung pinanganak kang matalino, kundi kung paano ka magiging maabilidad paglaki mo." (It's not about being born smart, but how you develop your ability as you grow.)
"Ang Huling Henya," branded as a zombie movie with heart, brings together a cast of comedians and drama actors alike.
Candy Pangilinan adds to the laughs as Rufa Mae's confidante. Thespian Ricci Chan serves as the main antagonist. Reliable kontrabida Cherie Gil is on the good side, this time, as Rufa Mae's boss, and Brazilian model Fabio Ide is a detective who becomes Rufa Mae's love interest.
Members of Rufa Mae's family of science geniuses include Edgar Allan Guzman as her smart but stubborn brother, DJ Durano as her father kept ageless by cryogenics, and Robert Seña as scientist Uncle Greg.
Catch the action in theaters starting August 21.
Watch the trailer here: