Actress Ina Raymundo said that unlike in the ‘90s, when “sexy movies border on the exploitative,” these days, films with provocative lead characters have “just the right amount of sensuality” in them.
Ina said that she had been playing the role of the “unappreciated mother” to lead characters in movies for the past five years; so she found the character of Eva Cruz, in the romantic-comedy “Me and Mrs. Cruz,” to be “very refreshing and fun.”
“Also, after all those bombshell roles in the ‘90s, I’m excited to be able to play a sexy character, this time, with depth, and with a layer of pain and maturity,” Ina told reporters during a virtual media conference for “Me and Mrs. Cruz,” the last of a three-part series in iWant TFC’s “Ampalaya Chronicles.”
Of course, now that she’s much older—and with four kids—Ina said she has to consider several things before accepting projects. “I need to think about how my children would react to what they will see on screen. But you see, back in the ‘90s, let’s admit, a lot of super sexy movies have been produced—some of them were really exploitative. Things are different now.”
She further said: “There’s sexiness [in films these days], but in just the right amount. Female actors don’t get pressured to do things in front of the camera that they’re not comfortable doing. That, to me, is very good. And also, at this point, I’m already able to say no. I now have the wisdom to say, ‘I can’t do that.’ Thank goodness, over-the-top sexy is no longer the ‘in’ thing anymore.”
But what really made Ina finally do the project was that she would only get to work on it inside a lock-in set for three days. “It’s hard for me to be away from my family for a longer period,” she explained. “You see, this has been offered to me even before the pandemic. After the delay caused by the quarantine, we were supposed to shoot this in November (2020), but I still wasn’t ready at that time. I didn’t want to be away from my family because it was almost Christmastime. So when they gave me the dates for shooting in February (2021) I finally said yes. I’m thankful because Firestarters (producer) waited for me. It actually came to a point when they were already looking for a replacement. I guess this project is really mine.”
“Me & Mrs. Cruz” follows the story of Eva and Caloy (Paulo Angeles), two individuals who develop a deep connection despite their 23-year age gap. Caloy, a carefree and witty flower shop delivery boy from the province crosses paths with Eva, a sophisticated woman who loves to party as her way of coping with the loss of her husband. Intrigued by Eva’s mysteriousness, Caloy makes it his mission to help Eva get past her grief. The question is will he be able to heal his broken heart and move forward, as well?
When asked whether she thought age really mattered when it came to love, Ina replied with: “Personally, don’t think so. While relationships between two people with a huge age gap normally doesn’t work, a few manage to do so, especially if they both feel they’ve found their soul mates.”
She added: “You see, a young-spirited woman is a good match to a younger guy. On the other hand, there really are younger men who like older women. These days, more people have become open to May-December relationships. It used to be a taboo, now, it’s no longer a big deal. There are also a lot of movies that carry this theme. This means people like it; they enjoy watching it. Some even relate to it.”
However, Ina said she has never been attracted to younger guys herself. In fact, her husband, Brian Poturnak, is seven years older.
“When I see myself with Paulo, I cringe! And since Paulo is almost half my age, I was always worried that I’d end up looking like his mother more than his love interest,” she said. “When I saw the trailer, I said, ‘OK naman.’ I guess it’s also because it’s a good story, and I was just being hard on myself.”
“Me and Mrs. Cruz” also features Kat Galang, Kristof Garcia, Mark Wei, JM Mendoza, Sophie Reyes, Nicki Morena and Frances Makil-Ignacio. It is directed by Real Florido, written by Bridgette Ann Rebuca, and produced by Firestarters Production. It is based on Mark Ghosn’s bestselling book and stage performances of curated spoken word poems “Ampalaya Monologues.” Along with the first two series “Adik’’ and “Labyu Hehe,”’ this will be available for free worldwide starting March 26 on the iWantTFC app.
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