MANILA, Philippines – Five years after working with director Chito Roño in the 2012 film The Healing, Kim Chiu returns to horror and reunites with the renowned director with their latest project, The Ghost Bride.
In the film, Kim plays Mayen, a young woman who agrees to marry a dead person from a wealthy Chinese clan in exchange for financial favors that would benefit her family. More than being a spine-tingling film with supernatural elements, The Ghost Bride is also an exploration of Chinese culture, customs, and beliefs.
Kim, who comes from a Filipino-Chinese family, is proud of her Chinese heritage and continues to follow certain Chinese traditions to this day.
She still doesn’t wear red on other people’s birthday celebrations, red underwear on Mondays, or black during someone’s wake. She follows Feng Shui when arranging furniture at home.
For director Chito Roño, Kim was the natural choice for The Ghost Bride.
He recalls, “When we decided to do Ghost Bride, I decided that it had to be somebody within the Chinese [community]…the story involves the Chinese community, a Chinese family. Pangalan talaga ni Kim yung lumabas (Kim’s name was the one that really came up).”
“Not only will it be easier kasi marunog siya mag-Chinese, but also because involved yung heritage niya. Mas mafee-feel niya yung character na pino-portray niya, hindi masyadong malayo.”
(Not only will it be easier because she knows how to speak Chinese, but also because it involves her heritage. She will feel the character that she’s potraying because it’s not very far from reality.)
“It was very easy to associate her with it,” he said during a blog conference organized by Star Cinema.
However, Kim’s character, Mayen, is more complicated than what the movie’s trailer reveals.
The director explains, “Ang daming pagdadaanan ng character niya. Ang daming mga normal choices na may abnormal consequences. Ang daming supernatural elements. Very illogical kasi nga supernatural, so how do you deal with it?
(Her character will go trough so much in the movie. There are many normal choices that have abnormal consequences. There are so many supernatural elements. The supernatural is very illofical, so how do you deal with it?)
“Malakas ang character niya (Her character is very strong), but you are confronted with something that’s beyond you.”
“Sa TV kasi laging love story, kilig moments; dito kasi, ibang-ibang Kim Chiu ang makikita mo. Iba yung travel ng character niya, from hoping, to desperate, to angry, lahat ginawa niya. Ibang-ibang Kim talaga ang makikita mo. As in ang layo,” he said.
(In TV, it’s always a love story, kilig moments;; here it’s a very different Kim Chiu. Her character will travel different, from hoping , to desperate, to angry, she’ll do everything. It’s really a different Kim everyone will see. As in it’s very far from the past characters.)
One of the Chinese customs tackled in the film is fixed marriage. Coming from a family that still follows the tradition, the 27-year-old actress openly expressed her views on the subject.
“Arranged marriage, wala namang mali doon eh (there’s nothing wrong with it). And I’m proud na yung family namin is still doing that tradition. Dalawang cousins ko—first cousins—naka-arranged marriage sila. And they’re having a good life. Nagmamahalan sila. Hanggang ngayon, mag-aasawa pa rin sila. And then marami silang anak, so parang wala namang mali (And I’m proud that my family is still doing that tradition. Two cousins of mine – first cousins– are arranged marriages. And they’re having a good life. They love each other. Up to now, they’re still married to each other. And they have so many kids , so there’s nothing wrong with it).”
“Nasa atin naman yun, if i-li-live up natin. It’s a matter of choice kung mabubuhay ka sa ganun. Parang yung na yung destiny mo eh,” said Kim.
(It’s actually up to us if we will live up to it. It’s a matter of choice if you will be willing to live like that. It’s like your destiny actually.)
Apart from shedding light on both forgotten and still popular practices—and scaring the living daylights out of its audience —The Ghost Bride also highlights the importance of strong family ties and aims to impart important life lessons.
Kim summarizes these points in a simple yet straightforward statement regarding the film.
“This is also about anong kaya mong isakripisyo para sa pamilya mo. Anong kaya mong gawin para sa mga magulang mo na nagpalaki at nag-alaga sayo? Ano yung kaya mong ibalik sa kanya ngayong matanda ka na?”
(This is also about what you’re willing to sacrifice for your family. What can you do for your parents, who took care of you and raised you? What can you give back to them now that they’re older?)
“Along the way kaka-oo ko para mas mapadali yung buhay, may consequence pala. Kaya mas maganda talaga pag pinaghirapan mo ang isang bagay,” she said.
(Along the way saying yes to make your life easy, there’s already a consequence. That’s why it’s better if you worked hard for something you want or need.)
The Ghost Bride also stars Alice Dixson, Matteo Guidicelli, Christian Babbles, Beverly Salvejo, Cacai Bautista, Jerome Ponce, Robert Seña, Ina Raymundo, Luz Valdez, Mon Confiado, Victor Silayan, Isay Alvarez, and Nanding Josef. – Rappler.com