Actress Liza Soberano, who has been Manila-based for three months now, admitted that her bid for a Hollywood career had been stalled by the ongoing actors’ strike there, especially since she is also a member of the SAG-Aftra.
The strike organized by the Screen Actor’s Guild and American Federation of Radio and TV Artists began on July 14. The group is calling for increased pay and a rethinking of residuals, which union members claimed has diminished in spite of the rise in streaming services. Residuals are paid out to actors whenever their TV shows or movies are replayed.
“I just want to make that clear. I don’t want my fans to think I’m not going to act anymore. I can’t take on any projects legally until the strike is over. Technically, I can act in indie films, but to show unity and solidarity with the rest of the SAG members, it’s just best not to do anything until then. That’s kind of why I’m so quiet about my acting career,” Liza told Inquirer Entertainment in a virtual chat on Tuesday morning.
“I think that what the actors and writers are fighting for is something that they genuinely deserve. I can’t say that I’m very knowledgeable about it. I haven’t been acting in Hollywood for that long so I don’t have a complete grasp of the situation. As far as I know, they just want to be compensated fairly and I’m all for that,” said Liza, who is a cast member of the upcoming American horror comedy film by Zelda Williams, titled “Lisa Frankenstein.”
“What makes me sad is that a lot of people, including those who I have been working with, have not had work in months. It feels like the pandemic all over again where everybody is just hungry to start working again. Some are literally hungry because they need to put food on their tables, but they don’t have jobs. It’s affecting not just the actors and production people, but even other industries connected to entertainment,” she pointed out.
Own production company
“I just wish it gets resolved sooner than later because if they don’t do anything about it now, we’re not going to see a lot of new TV shows and movies next year. Everything is going to be a bunch of reruns,” said Liza, who has a couple of pending Hollywood projects. “The film was supposed to come out this year, but the producers put that on pause. There were two projects I auditioned for that I was supposed to get a call back for but then the strike happened, and so that was also put on hold.”
This is why Liza has since turned her attention to putting up her own production company. Also, she has been going to South Korea to “explore opportunities” there. In fact, she was there for some business meetings when she did this interview with Inquirer Entertainment.
“I personally see Korea as next to Hollywood. I’m starting to create my own production company and my coproducer is based in Korea. That’s why I come back here often. It’s just a little bit limiting that I can’t speak Korean yet.
“I’ve met with a lot of production companies and agencies here, and they said, ‘You want to work here? Please learn a little of the language so we can get you a proper job.’ I can’t say that I’m seriously doing it because I haven’t hired a teacher yet, but I try to do Duolingo (a language-learning app) almost everyday. And also, just being here and immersing myself in the culture really helps me pick up the language.”
The interview was held to promote “Liza in Korea,” a 15-episode series produced by JJ Global Group that the actress filmed from March to April for 18 days. The series offers viewers a 10-minute immersive experience into the different facets of Korean culture from Liza’s perspective. It premiered on YouTube on Sept. 13, at 8 p.m., with new episodes uploaded every Wednesday.
“The series is really just about me going on a fun adventure here in Korea and getting to explore Korean culture and entertainment through a local’s perspective. However, I get to tell that story through a Filipino’s perspective,” she pointed out.
Liza said she has returned to Korea a number of times after filming the series, “because the company also started looking for endorsements for me here. I’ve been meeting with a lot of people, particularly for this one fashion brand, Lacimier, that launched me as their endorser, too,” said Liza, who was in Korea the week before to do the pictorial for the ad campaign.
Top 3 highlights
Asked to share what she thought were the top 3 highlights of the YouTube series, Liza said: “There were so many fun moments, but a pinch-me moment was when I went to the YG KPlus office. I’m a huge fan of the company in general. A lot of K-pop artists and actors came from them.”
Second was her trip to the popular theme park Lotte World. “I’m such a fanatic of amusement parks. I got the full experience because I was dressed up in a school uniform. It felt a little awkward at first because I felt too old to be wearing a school uniform, but people said they found it very cute and endearing. I’m so game to do these things.”
“Our last filming day was also a highlight,” said Liza. “We were at a restaurant when the team asked me to say some closing remarks. I started bawling my eyes out because they treated me so well throughout the series, and because the series was created with the intention of giving my fans a chance to see me in my most natural form—just me being me, having fun and exploring Korea. I was really grateful to them. I’ve learned to love every one of them.”
Follow Liza’s journey through Korea, episode by episode, as she becomes an integral part of its vibrant culture, media landscape and entrepreneurial spirit. “Liza in Korea” can be viewed on PHH TV’s YouTube Channel: @super_stars9 and Lacimier Instagram: @lacimier.official. INQ