Jul 21, 2007

Iza is Hollywood material

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Funfare Update the other day reported that Iza Calzado is finally going to Hollywood to reprise her role in Yam Laranas’ Sigaw, which is being remade abroad as Echo. In an interview with Nelson Canlas of 24 Oras that night, Iza confirmed the Funfare Update report, but wanted to make sure first “that she had the papers.”

No one in the showbiz profession today is more deserving of such good fortune than Iza. Aside from the fact that she is extremely talented, she also has a good and kind heart.

Iza actually burst into the

scene a few years ago via the Pantene shampoo commercial. She didn’t hit it big immediately. After a guest stint on Click, she waited long before she got a regular TV show — on GMA 7’s Kung Mawawala Ka.

I will never forget her because we always got her as presenter in the Gawad Urian and she was always assigned to the first category because we could rely on her to come early.

In Startalk’s Tigbakan portion, she was always in the list of the fabulously dressed and I still recall how our director Floy Quintos once exclaimed after looking at Iza’s close-up: “What great cheekbones!”

It was only that time I was told she was Lito Calzado’s daughter and that she was the chubby (I would never have guessed it was her) 11-year-old kid who used to hang around with her Dad in our parties back in the mid-’90s.

While waiting to have regular TV assignments, Iza went on to do movies and did a small role as Piolo Pascual’s runaway wife in Milan. It was really just one scene and the part could have been insignificant, except that Iza worked wonders with it. Looking wasted and puffing on a cigarette nervously, she was able to convey what a wreck she had become in that foreign land. Milan is an excellent movie and Claudine Barretto and Piolo turned in exceptional performances there, but that scene with Iza still stands out in the moviegoer’s mind.

And then came Sigaw, which was entered in 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival. As a battered wife (to cop Jomari Yllana), who later becomes the building’s resident ghost, Iza gave a quiet, but very effective performance that won her the Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actress award. That was one tough competition because also in the running that time were Ara Mina (Minsan Pa) and Juliana Palermo (Panaghoy sa Suba), who also delivered brilliant performances in their respective films.

Recently, Iza gave another noteworthy performance in the Robin Padilla film Blackout as a young mother with a screw loose. She is such a chameleon. You give her any role and she’d fit into it so snugly.

Of course, she was at her most beautiful in her period films — Moments of Love and Eternity — and looked divine in her costumes.

It is on TV, however, where Iza is most visible — first in Te Amo, then Encantadia and now she and Sunshine Dizon are earning raves for their performances in Impostora.

A month or so ago on Magpakailanman, she also appeared on The Rosa Rosal Story, where she played the part of the great actress and humanitarian. I actually forgot to tell Iza this — and I’m telling her now. After the airing of that Magpakailanman episode, the Rosa Rosal called me up and told me how pleased she was with Iza’s portrayal of her life in that program. Coming from one of the greatest — if not the greatest — actresses of Philippine cinema, that’s all the affirmation Iza needs to convince her that she had, indeed, given a fantastic acting job on Magpakailanman.

Working in Hollywood surely is a dream come true for any Filipino artist. (Iza leaves mid-August to do the film with Yam in Toronto.) But nobody knows what’s going to happen after Echo. Would she be the first Filipino to make it big in Hollywood? Such prospects are exciting, but scary because it’s a tough world out there.

At the moment, we can only pray for her success.
STARBYTES By Butch Francisco
Philippine Star

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