Jodi Sta. Maria has been an A-lister for as long as we can remember, but throughout her long and storied showbiz career, she’s never faced a challenge quite like her role in the upcoming Black Sheep-produced horror movie “Clarita.”
It marks Jodi’s first foray into the demonic as she takes on Clarita Villanueva, a woman whose alleged possession became the subject of a media circus in the 50s. A period piece that’s also a supernatural horror movie, there’s been a lot of excitement around this project since it was announced in January.
But who is Clarita Villanueva? Director Derick Cabrido studied records of her case in preparation for the film — records with gaps they had to take creative liberties with in order to fill.
“Hindi clear ‘yung records niya eh, pero galing siya ng province. It was [the summer of] 1953 tapos pumunta siya ng Manila and tumira siya sa may Malate area...hinahanap niya ‘yung father niya. Hindi clear kung prostitute ba siya or napagbintangan siyang prostitute o nabagansya siya. Hindi clear sa records,” the director explained to members of the press at the "Clarita" Media Haunt early this month.
"And then noong nakulong siya, doon na nagsimula ‘yung posession. Actually even before that nagsimula na, pero mas naging clear noong nasa loob na siya ng kulungan.”
He continued, “Noong press conference ni [Mr. Arsenio Lacson], lumabas ‘yung mga bite marks sa kanya [from the] demon. Noong time na nagsho-shoot kami ‘yung isang location na kinuha namin, ang may ari mismo is the apo ng judge na naghawak ng case ni Clarita Villanueva. And siya mismo, kinikwento niya na noong time na ‘yun na habang tina-try ‘yung kaso, in the middle of the case, sinaniban si [Clarita]. Sa history pa ni Clarita, napalayas sa kanya ‘yung demon and doon na naputol ang storya niya.”
He pressed, “For cinematic and creative purposes, may dinagdag din kami. Pero we asked for original transcripts ng mga exorcists talaga, kung ano ‘yung nae-experience nila at based sa records nila na nangyayari sa isang possession.”
(Read related article: 5 creepy details you missed in the new ‘Clarita’ trailer!)
The role required Jodi to be in top shape. She had no stunt double and had to take on most of the physically challenging scenes herself. According to her co-star Ricky Davao, who praised Jodi’s dedication, she also had to learn lines in German, French, and Latin for her character’s most harrowing moments in the film.
“Mahirap lahat. Pwede na nga ako maging stuntwoman pagkatapos nito. ‘Pag napanood niyo, as in, sabit dito, balibag diyan,” Jodi said.
“Hindi talaga siya naging madali, umuuwi ako every shooting day ng dugyot. Hindi naging madali ‘yung proseso, pero doon sa [finished product] na nakita namin, very rewarding naman.”
“Clarita” is slated for release this June 12. Catch it in cinemas nationwide!
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