Huh? Vilma Santos as an 'Ekstra'?

Marian Rivera and Piolo Pascual review a scene on their rare movie project together. See Vilma Santos, in the background! (Photo courtesy of Atty. Joji Alonso)

Imagine Vilma Santos, the Philippine cinema’s star for all seasons, portraying an ordinary movie worker in a film or TV series. It’s a little bit hard to imagine, right?

But the Cinemalaya movie “Ekstra” does the work for you.

Gov. Vi, who plays a bit player in her first independent film,  never experienced being an "extra" in real life.

“In my first movie, ‘Trudis Liit,’ I was already cast as the lead. I’ve always wondered what’s it like to be an ordinary movie worker,” she said in an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“It’s a drama-comedy which follows  a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan as she embarks on yet another shooting day of a soap opera as a bit player,” producer Joji Alonso told Yahoo! Philippines OMG!

Subtle punch

But the movie is more than just about the life of an extra. It also has a subtle punch against the system that sometimes "looks down" on them.

“As the shoot goes on, we get a glimpse of the truth in the ruling system of the production as well as the exploitation on the marginalized laborers like her,” Alonso adds.

Gov. Vi  is taking her Cinemalaya debut seriously. The 59-year-old actress allowed the  production to deglamorize her, and even waived her talent fee for the film.

Based on the trailer, festival-goers are in for stargazing as the movie also features Piolo Pascual, Marian Rivera, Richard Yap, Tom Rodriguez, Cherry Pie Picache, Cherie Gil and Pilar Pilapil.