There’s a tense scene in “On the Job: The Missing 8” involving mayor Pedring Eusebio (Dante Rivero) and journalist Weng (Lotlot De Leon). Weng, fed up with all the winding non-answers that the mayor was giving during the press con, decides to ask the hard questions that were on everybody’s minds: Will the government really find her missing colleagues? How come the missing persons cases in their town never seem to be solved? Is the government really interested in solving this case? In that scene, Weng is our fierce stand-in, trying to squeeze out the truths — or at least the real intentions — about this grisly crime.
De Leon has been a high caliber actress since her child actor days, acting alongside greats such as Dolphy and her adoptive parents Nora Aunor and Christopher De Leon. But even though director Erik Matti praised her performance in the film (or series, if you’re watching the six-episode HBO Originals series on HBO GO), De Leon says the experience was something she wasn’t used to.
“I don’t think sanay ako na makarinig ng magandang feedback when it comes to my acting,” she says, laughing. “‘Yung parang mapuri ka, ano?” says De Leon through a video interview with CNN Philippines Life. “Hindi ako masyadong sanay. So when he wrote something like that para akong natameme, I suddenly became quiet but my heart was really really happy to know that he also appreciates the work that I do.”
Previously, De Leon won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Manila Film Festival in 2014 in her first film with Matti, “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2.” When she was offered the part in “On the Job: The Missing 8,” she immediately said yes.
“I was told that I was going to play a journalist who would be fighting for justice,” she says. “Weng’s road is really straight. She’s not the type to say yes if she feels that she needs to question why she has to do a certain thing. I have to watch the news over again and how the journalists would ask questions, how courageous they would be, not being scared and just wanting to know the truth and impart the truth to everyone who needs to hear it.”
Here, she talks more about her role in the acclaimed film, and why it doesn’t matter whether her character is prominent in the film she’s starring in.
Interview and video by SAMANTHA LEE