Fresh from the success of her concert tour in the US, Pop Queen Sarah Geronimo is back on the big screen via Viva Films' latest offering, which also coincides with the singer-actress’ celebration of her 15th anniversary in show business.
Co-starring with James Reid and Xian Lim under the able direction of certified hit maker Joyce Bernal, the film Miss Granny is Sarah’s biggest film without the aid of an onscreen partner or a love team.
In an interview with Manila Standard, the multiplatinum singer said that as much as possible she tried to get involved in the creative process of Miss Granny – from the music, which is a big component of the film, to how the already familiar tale would unfold on the big screen.
“The movie is a collaborative project,” she starts, “I tried to discuss a few things with our director before we started filming and every time we do a scene.”
The film, which enjoyed considerable popularity upon release in its native South Korea earning more than $60 million, centers on a 70-year-old widow who lives with her son and his family. Foul-mouthed, stubborn, controlling and shameless, she has a difficult relationship with her depressed daughter-in-law but is very proud of her son who became a university professor.
The movie, originally top-billed by Eun Kyung Shim and Moon He Na, bagged several prestigious awards and has had similarly successful adaptations in China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Germany and other countries. Currently in the works are the English and Spanish language versions from Hollywood.
In its Philippine adaptation, the story follows the magical tale of a pensioner Fely (played by senior actress, Nova Villa), who magically transforms back to her 20-year-old self as Audrey (portrayed by Sarah) after having her picture taken in a mysterious photo studio.
Before the whole mysterious incident happens, Fely is a cranky and a control freak septuagenarian. Living together with her son’s family leads to the hospitalization of her daughter-in-law and her son wanting to throw her out of his place.
But she is a loving grandmother as well who gives all-out support to her grandson Jeboy’s (James) dream of becoming a musician.
“We wanted to be as faithful as possible to the original version. Before I agreed to do the film I spoke to our director, Joyce Bernal, and Boss Vic del Rosario that I wouldn’t want to change the story. I don’t want them to tweak or adjust the story just because it’s me who’s going to star in it,” Sarah recounted.
But what makes Miss Granny different from the Korean version of the film is how Filipino values are embedded in the story.
“The local version, I guess, has more heart. We Filipinos, we value the elderly so much. In our culture, it’s not accepted to take them for granted,” the 30-year-old said in vernacular.
Understanding her character, including the emotional requirements to play Audrey, Sarah had an acting coach. She wanted to portray Audrey who’s actually Fely as truthful as possible.
“It’s one of the biggest challenges I encountered doing the film. Of course, a woman is her 70s has different nuances compared to a 20-year-old. And since, I’ve been out of the acting scene for quite some time I needed some help to make me fit for the role,” Sarah shared.
More than playing a challenging role, Sarah said that she wanted to send a specific message that she hopes viewers would see upon seeing the film. She said that it’s a lesson about the love of family, which is the main core of Miss Granny.
“Miss Granny had an unfulfilled dream. She’s a frustrated singer. Her life revolved around her family being a single parent. And now, she’s given another chance to pursue her dream but she still feels so empty. The film wants to convey that fame doesn’t define success, and fame doesn’t always make you happy. Love and family do,” she ended.
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