Iza Calzado takes on daring role in ‘Bliss’

Jerrold Tarog with “Bliss” lead actress Iza Calzado during  the film’s private screening at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu last April 20.

Jerrold Tarog with “Bliss” lead actress Iza Calzado during the film’s private screening at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu last April 20.

ACTRESS Iza Calzado is a lot of ways similar to Jane Ciego, the character she plays in the psychosexual thriller film, “Bliss,” in the same way that they are different.

They are similar because both of them want to try new things and projects, hone their craft as actors and win awards. The last one Iza already did. She
received her first international acting award at the world premiere of “Bliss” at the Osaka Asian Film Festival last March, winning the Yakushi Pearl Award for Best Performer.

“Nanginginig ako sa sobrang gulat, wala kasing nominees. Unlike any other award giving body, you weren’t told that you are nominated so you don’t know,” shared Iza as she recalled her win in a sit-down interview with the Cebu press during the private screening of “Bliss” at Robinsons Galleria Cebu last Thursday.

She recalled that her reaction when she was announced as the winner could be summed up in one word: Paano? “Deep in your heart, you know you would love to win. I won’t deny it, I really prayed for it. I wanted to win an international award, kaya lang I am never really secured about my work. I just give my best on set. So when I won, sobrang nginig ko talaga, sobrang tuwa ko lang,” she recalled.

Like Iza, Jane’s character grew up in the showbiz industry, an actress who is tired of doing the usual projects, and decided to produce her own film so she could try new things.

But unlike Iza, Jane could not even brag about her own film, since an accident on set left her temporarily crippled and trapped inside her house, with her unfeeling husband and a strange nurse, along with several bizarre happenings.

With the escalating horror and madness she encounters each day, Jane finds herself waking up to the same scenario every morning, and struggling to figure out how to escape from what seems like an endless nightmare.

Not everyone knows that the “A Love To Last” star actually had to audition for the lead role.

Being a psycho thriller genre fan, Iza wanted to do the project. So, when director-writer Jerrold Tarog pitched the role to her via a text message, she replied with an immediate and excited yes, met with him for the first time, and auditioned.

“It’s rare lang (receiving roles like this). I would love to do out of the box (roles). The more challenging it is, the better. Mahirap makakuha ng kakaiba,” said Iza.

According to Jerrold, he wrote the film with Anne Curtis in mind, after a producer asked him to do a project for the actress.

He also revealed that he was unsure what really happened and why Anne did not push through with the project. But the setback opened the opportunity to audition other actors. Several tried it out but it was eventually Iza who was chosen to play the role of Jane.


Unlike other stars, Iza—who joined showbiz at the age of 19—shines best on her own, without the usual love team partner. What she is known for her is her versatility as an actress—doing romance and heavy drama to psycho thriller—and that has always been enough.

“I never really had love teams. We tried with Dingdong (Dantes) for the movie ‘Moments of Love.’ But even then, we weren’t really together because we had separate scenes and it (having a love team partner) really never took off for me. I don’t know why. I would have loved to milk it for everything and every peso it could have given me pero wala talaga. Di talaga siya para sa akin,” she said.

In “Bliss,” she gets two partners: TJ Trinidad (who plays as her husband) and Ian Veneracion (who is her love interest in the movie project). But the focus is not on romance.

“Ang maganda dito, di siya love story. The whole time working with Adrienne (Vergara, who portrays the nurse), it feels like working with a fellow actor that’s really good. And she’s also kalog and makulit, parehas kami sa set,” Iza said. She also complimented another co-star, Stephanie Sol who plays her personal assistant in the film.

Working with a lot of intimate scenes in the movie, Iza admitted that the scene she had with her fellow actress Adrienne, who play as the nurse, was the most uncomfortable.

“Because, I was in my underwear and I was being fondled by a woman, in front of men,” said Iza, sharing how she felt doing an intimate scene with a woman for the first time.

However, she assured that there wasn’t any traumatic experience on set.

The hardest scenes to do were the ones where she is filmed lying on the bed, she added.

“(That particular scene) being on the bed and waking up to that smoke alarm thing. We did that in one day, over and over again. So when I went home, already on my own bed to rest, I was confused if I was still at work. And I’ve never felt that in my life kasi pag bed, it means rest but that felt like work. It’s really hard to shake it off, pinagod din nila kasi ako,” Iza said smiling, while looking at Jerrold.

With its mature content, “Bliss” originally earned an X rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), but it was re-classified to R-18 after a second review. It will be shown in cinemas nationwide starting May 10.

After such a challenging role, Iza wants to do something totally different in an unfamiliar territory: comedy.

“Di pa ako nag comedy. I would love to do comedy. I have done comedic films but I was not involved in making the people laugh. I don’t know why. It’s a bit of an insecurity kasi gustong-gusto kong magpatawa ng tao, off cam. So parang for me, ba’t ganun? Di ako nabibigyan ng chance magpatawa?,” she said.

TAGS: Robinsons, role, takes
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