MANILA — Award-winning actor Albert Martinez can be understandably choosy with his film projects at this stellar stage in his acting career. He can turn down offers he doesn’t feel like doing. However, Martinez readily welcomes films that challenge him.
The 60-year-old actor is proud to have worked on director Roman Perez, Jr.’s latest erotic thriller, “The Housemaid,” with beauty queen-turned-actress, Kylie Verzosa, in the title role.
“It’s my first time to do a project amid the lockdown,” Martinez told ABS-CBN News. “We have no association with each character. Kanya-kanyang rehearsal kami because of the protocols. Every single character, ang kagandahan, wala kang itatapon.
“Lahat kami nag-jive into our respective characters. Nagkaroon ng persona na klaro. I believe it will not work kung hindi ganoon klase ang cooperation at atake ng bawat isa. I’m very happy because they made it easy for me to portray my character.”
Martinez is pleased to have worked with Perez for the first time in “The Housemaid,” which starts streaming on Friday, September 10. The other cast members include Jaclyn Jose, Alma Moreno and Louise de los Reyes.
“Direct Roman has a certain style,” Martinez noted. “He really researched and prepared for this project. I play a very challenging role [William]. I’m glad that I worked with Direk Roman.”
“The Housemaid” is a project Martinez could not refuse. “With the strict protocol of Viva Films, this movie is a win-win situation for me,” he said. “I know it’s not easy to mount. This is not an affair movie. This is an adult drama.
“I have check boxes before I accept a project. Magaling ba ang director? What about the leading lady? If I like the material, I will consider doing another adult drama in the future.”
In 1996, Martinez worked with Miss Asia Pacific beauty queen Michelle Aldana in her baptism of fire in director Tikoy Aguiluz’s “Segurista.” Now, 25 years later, Martinez is working with another beauty queen, Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa.
Martinez was readily impressed that Verzosa performed all her scenes in “The Housemaid” without apprehensions. “She trusted me and the scenes turned out so well,” he said. “She turned out very convincing. She played the part so well.”
Doing a film at the height of the pandemic proved to be a real challenge for Martinez. “We needed to work properly and at the same time, do our scenes well,” he explained. “We needed to protect ourselves well because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
How to do the scenes realistically and yet, still be very careful, was foremost on every artist’s goal for their respective roles.
“I’ve been doing drama series on TV for the past nine years,” Martinez said. “That’s why I’ve been looking for a really good film project for my comeback. When ‘The Housemaid’ was presented to me and I saw the original film, I got so interested and excited about it.
“I really like the role and the character I play. It’s a very challenging character. Minimalist. He doesn’t talk much. Yet, his nuances, you need to feel him. You need to understand what he’s thinking. That made me interested about the project.”
Martinez was last seen on the big screen in Jerome Pobocan’s romance-drama, “Born To Love You” (2012), with Coco Martin and Angeline Quinto. He recently played a special role in director Darryl Yap’s “Revirginized,” starring Sharon Cuneta.
Although the role of William in “The Housemaid” is a bit on the sexy side, Martinez easily quashed away that fact. “As an actor, materials like this, they don’t come by that easily,” he reasoned out. “So, I grabbed the opportunity and it was the best vehicle to return to doing the movies.”
He believes trusting your co-actor brings out the best in every performer and that process works well when the artist is on the set. “I make it a point that they trust me and they believe in me,” Martinez said of his fellow actors in “The Housemaid.”
“When you do even a slightly sensitive scene together, it’s really hard when your co-actor doesn’t trust you. With our director, Kylie and I talked about the scenes well. We planned it well. We choreographed it well.
“We want to convince the public that what we’re doing is real. The pain is real. The happiness is real. Whatever we’re feeling on that particular moment was real. It was a good collaboration when it happens.
“It was a pleasurable time working with Kylie and even Louise in ‘The Housemaid.’ They are very focused on what they do. We had no problems on the set. Para kaming well-oiled machine when it comes to the actors. It’s an ensemble performance.”
Martinez disclosed he particularly took care of Verzosa while filming “The Housemaid” all throughout. “I was very, very careful with Kylie sa shoot. We did our rehearsals.
“We talked about the scenes. Ginawa naming precise. We choreographed every important scene. Totally orchestrated. Inalagaan ko talaga dito si Kylie.”
Looking fit and desirable even at 60, Martinez takes it as a compliment. “I’m officially a senior citizen [last April],” Martinez unabashedly admitted. “I’m 60 years old with real white hair. Through the years, even when I was younger, I’ve been working out and eating properly.
“I know for a fact, since I am in this industry, I guess our looks, that’s our investment. So, I make sure I stay fit and look good. I guess that’s about it. One thing is about genes, but then it’s all about discipline, too.”
No doubt, Martinez has kept himself in a really good shape after all these years. Preparing himself physically for “The Housemaid” is very demanding.
“The requirement of the physique, compared to the original South Korean actor, I’m playing a younger character, must be 50 years old,” he offered. “I’m 60 years old, so that’s totally demanding for me. Good thing, I was given enough time to prepare, so that’s work out and diet at the same time.”
Martinez also had to prepare himself mentally for the role, “Emotionally, it’s a challenging character for me. It’s not a loud character, but very minimalist.
“I had to convince the public of my nuances, so they would understand what I’m thinking, what I’m planning. I thank my director for giving me an opportunity to play the character.”