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Direk Yam Laranas on ‘Greed’ and how Nadine Lustre’s spartan lifestyle landed her a role in the upcoming thriller

By AYIE LICSI Published Mar 10, 2022 4:21 pm Updated Mar 10, 2022 9:19 pm

From what we've seen so far in the first trailer for Nadine Lustre's Viva Films comeback project Greed, we know that things are about to get intense, not to mention we're about to see the actress in a totally new light.

The teaser for the film has also left questions in fans' minds about the events that unfold. Who stole the lotto ticket? Does Epy Quizon play the bad guy? Why is Nadine laughing maniacally while covered in blood?

According to director Yam Laranas, however, there are more twists and turns in this thriller that you won't even guess the ending until you watch it.

"[The film] is sort of like a thesis about what greed is all about," he told PhilSTAR L!fe. "It's a question of who is greedy and what makes people greedy themselves."

Laranas wrote the film last year, drawing inspiration from the troubles many people experienced amid the pandemic, as well as how the poor would use their money on lotto tickets, hoping to win the cash prize.

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"It stems from the troubles faced during COVID, the lockdown, people losing their jobs, not having money, having difficulty finding food, and all," he said.

"We sometimes hear that even with their last cent, konting pera nalang, pinambibli pa [ng tao] ng lotto ticket, baka lang swertehin," the director added.

He was also inspired by articles he read on how people who win big amounts of cash tend to mismanage it and end up poor again. "That's the boon and the bane, the curse and the price paid."

Finding the right cast

In the thriller, Lustre and Diego Loyzaga play a couple living in a sleepy town who find out they won the biggest jackpot in the lottery. Laranas was sure he wanted Loyzaga in the film but couldn't find the right person to play opposite him.

While many other actresses crossed his mind, the director was particularly interested in the Ulan star.

"I think I saw her—remember how there’s always a buzz about her and what she does—and then I thought this girl is perfect for the role." the filmmaker said.

"I remembered she’s living a spartan life in Siargao, she had a change almost 180° from a high profile glamorous life in Manila to now—we know she’s not living poorly in Siargao, but it’s kind of like a 180° for her, and I really appreciate that 'island life.' Naisip ko parang bagay siya for the role," Laranas continued.

The director didn't know that Lustre had a legal dispute with Viva Films following her "termination" of her Viva Artists Agency contract. He contacted the actress through a common friend and learned that Lustre was excited to work with him.

"Everything just fell into place quickly and rightfully. I had to rewrite the entire script just to tailor it to match her character with Diego's," Laranas shared.

Directing Nadine and Diego

In her previous roles, Lustre mostly starred as a wide-eyed female lead in romance movies, but Greed will put the actress in a new light.

"[The film has] a darker tone. It's something you've never seen Nadine play before, it's something different," Laranas said. "I don't know a lot about her past, what she's done. All I know is that this is a very dark and intense Nadine and a very dramatic performance of hers supported by Diego."

"I think I could say from experience and what I've seen in the final edit that fans and everyone else who are not fans of hers will appreciate her acting in Greed."

Laranas also talked about how he directed the actress in the thriller. "The motivation I gave her is to read the lines and see how you feel about it and really think about the character. If I like it, we’ll do one take, and if I don’t, we’ll do another. Mostly I just did one take with them, especially Nadine."

Meanwhile, Loyzaga and the director have already worked with each other in the 2021 film Death of a Girlfriend. The filmmaker described the young actor as "serious" and eager to learn.

"I think people see him as a pedigree of Cesar Montano since he’s the son. Maybe nasa dugo or maybe he can act because his father’s an actor, but Diego is his own person."

Laranas also called him a "chameleon" for his ability to act opposite anyone.

"Nobody thought that he would have chemistry with Nadine," he said. Greed is the first time the two actors are paired together. "Diego has this talent of exuding chemistry that will work with any actor that he's partnered with."

Greed is set to premiere on March 16 on VivaMax Plus.