If you’re a fan of indie films, you probably already know this woman:
Annicka Dolonius is known for movies like Pisay, Ninja Party, and Ang Nawawala. Popular for her list of eccentric roles (see: hipster chick, smart student, rebellious teenager), the character actress has an innate edgy persona both on and off the screen—a far cry from the usual sweet celebrities you usually see on TV. And she’s more than just a pretty face, because this woman has got some mad acting skills that work oh so well with her razor-sharp good looks.
In case you haven’t seen any of her films, now is your chance to witness Annicka on the big screen. Premiering in theaters nationwide today is QCinema Film Festival’s 2015 Best Picture, Apocalypse Child.
Here's a sneak peek:
We caught up with the former FHM babe at the press conference of the movie to talk about her latest role, catching waves, and doing topless handstands.
Tells us about your role in Apocalypse Child.
I play the role of Fiona, who is a young woman. She’s just about to turn into an adult and she’s in Baler because her grandmother is dying, so she’s sort of dealing with that. And to pass the time she’s taking surfing lessons from Ford (Sid Lucero). They sort of have this relationship, but it’s not anything serious, it’s not something that they talk about. She gets so caught up in the family’s situation and it’s all about them dealing with that.
How did you prepare for the role?
First I had to learn how to surf because Fiona is supposed to be a really good beginner surfer. So I had to take lessons from the Philippine Surfing Academy. I had to get fit. And I had to be able to surf and stand on the board. That’s most of the preparation; the rest of it is in the script. And I had to cut my hair, because they wanted me to have that pixie haircut.
What’s the hardest thing you did for the movie?
Topless handstand? Ha ha! Just kidding. I would say the hardest thing was to surf and not look like a complete idiot, which I hopefully managed to do. But besides that, the script was emotionally demanding. That was difficult. It wasn’t easy—what made the movie easier to get through was how comfortable we all were with each other. We were all so ready to work.
What can you say about the positive reviews for Apocalypse Child?
We get a lot of tweets, we get a lot of great reviews. People have been really supportive. We got to go to New York. We got to go to Italy for the film. It’s been really good.
And you were invited to attend the New York Asian Film Festival! How was your experience over there?
It was awesome! Our time in New York was incredible. The buildings were so tall! It was amazing! They used the shot of Apocalypse Child—the one with me and Sid—as the poster for the theme of the festival, so that meant we had a big ass billboard outside the Lincoln Center. Our face was there, our shot! Sid was like “Oh can we please take a shot for my Instagram?” We ended up being on a giant billboard, which was incredible. It was an amazing experience.
Speaking of Sid, you have this bed scene with him, where your directors gave the freedom to explore. How was that like?
That was really funny because we shot that scene on the first day of shooting. So we had to pretend like we were very, very comfortable with each other. The idea was that these are two people being completely comfortable with each other, comfortable being completely naked—and that was just the first day. We gave it all we had, and didn’t have to think about it anymore right after, which was nice.
Do you appreciate it when directors give you artistic freedom for a role?
Definitely. You kind of want to give some help when it comes to what their vision is, or what they want portrayed for the camera. So you want their direction, you want their guidance. The fact that we were able to work like that was very liberating. There were a lot of collaborations in this movie so it was awesome.
Was it your first time working with Gwen Zamora and RK Bagatsing?
Yes. It was my first time working with everybody actually, which was surprising because it didn’t feel that way at all. We worked together pretty damn well I think.
How have you changed since your roles in Pisay, Ninja Party, and Ang Nawawala?
Oh, I’ve changed a lot! I’d like to think I grow with each role. I grow with each passing year. I’m definitely a different person. Baler, particularly the Apocalypse Child experience, brought big change to me especially as an actress. We had so much collaboration, and we were able to give so much input. It made me feel a lot stronger as an actress, a lot more confident with what I’m doing mostly.
Do you have any personal criteria when it comes to accepting a role?
I have to be comfortable doing it. Even if I don’t completely understand it at first, I want to be able to understand the character, the character’s path. I’m not that picky, to be honest. I’m game for everything. It’s not that my criteria is low, it’s just that, I like to keep an open mind.
So what's next for Annicka Dolonius?
I don’t know. It’s a secret, even from me. Ha ha!
Why should FHM readers watch Apocalypse Child?
I assume that if you’re buying FHM, you’re looking for some skin, and our film has got a lot of skin. It’s a drama but again, there's a lot of skin. There are raunchy scenes, a bunch of people on the beach wearing bikinis, plus a good story. Watch it!