Dionne Monsanto says working with Brillante Mendoza ‘a dream come true’

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Dionne Monsanto in a screenshot from the trailer of 'Kadaugan.' Right, director Brillante Mendoza poses during the press conference for 'Kadaugan' held at the Director’s Club of SM Mega Fashion Hall. (Mendoza photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

Dionne Monsanto is thrilled to play the lead role in “Kadaugan,” the latest made-for-television movie for TV5’s “Brillante Mendoza Presents.”

“It always gives me so much joy to play a Cebuana. To say my lines in my mother tongue makes it even more organic for me to portray my character. This episode is so special to me since it highlights one of our festivals in Cebu. I fully support shows like this so we get to showcase what makes each of our provinces unique,” the actress told InterAksyon in a recent interview.

In “Kadaugan,” Dionne plays the lead role of Tere, a single mother who is raising her son by her lonesome after failed relationships with two foreign boyfriends. The story is set in the backdrop of Cebu’s annual Kadaugan festival, which celebrates the Battle of Mactan won by Lapu-Lapu’s native forces over the conquering Spanish troops of Ferdinand Magellan.

During the recent press conference to promote “Kadaugan” held at the Director’s Club of SM Mega Fashion Hall, Direk Brillante said the goal of his made-for-TV movies “is to tell the Filipino story.”

“Like in my films, I will show reality and capture life the way it is this time on television, with productions like this set in various locations around the country.”

For Dionne’s part, the actress said she was just happy that her home province was represented well in the ongoing series.

“I love how educational ‘Kadaugan’ is, since this particular festival tells the story of our first national hero,” Dionne said.

Working in “Kadaugan” with no less than internationally acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza is “a dream come true” for Dionne.

“I’m so glad to finally experience his genius. I love how raw his approach is. And more so the respect and trust he gave me when interpreting my character.”

It has been 10 years since Dionne first gained prominence as a housemate in the reality series “Pinoy Big Brother.” Since then, the actress has tackled a wide variety of roles and last year became a household name with her memorable portrayal of antagonist Lucy Villadolid in the daytime soap “Tubig at Langis” where she was dubbed as “Bida ng Sampalan.”

Her portrayal of a more sympathetic character in “Kadaugan” is a testament to her versatility and refusal to be typecast. It also helps that she’s acting alongside an ensemble cast that includes Filipino-Irish actor Daniel Marsh of Juan Direction as well as fellow Cebu natives Gloria Sevilla, Matt Daclan, Keanna Reeves, Suzette Ranillo and Albert Chan Paran.

“My journey has been a long and challenging one. I’ve played so many characters, but there are more roles I want to own and conquer. I’m hoping for extreme roles—a nun, a mercenary, another villain,” she declared.

From the looks of it, Dionne Monsanto will continue to surprise audiences in the coming months. She is currently in Japan to play a manga character for an upcoming Filipino-Japanese production.

And next month, she will play Lovi Poe’s nemesis in the comedy “Woke Up Like This,” which is directed by Joel Ferrer (“Forever Sucks”) and is also headlined by Vhong Navarro.

“It’s my first time to do comedy. And I’m really hoping and praying for everyone’s support,” she appealed.

Written by Eero Francisco, TV5’s “Brillante Mendoza Presents: Kadaugan” airs on Sunday, July 30, after “Turning Point.”

Watch the trailer of ‘Kadaugan’ here: