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Eugene Domingo - Ang tanging comedienne

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Eugine DomingoBy Maridol Rañoa-Bismark
December 24, 2008 12:00 AM 

Eugene Domingo refuses to say she’s Ai Ai delas Alas’ heir apparent. Yes, just like Ai Ai, Eugene has awards (Best Supporting Actress from the Metro Filmfest, Cinemalaya and Gawad Tanglaw).

But Eugene says she can’t – and won’t – steal the throne from the country’s Comedy Queen. The title “Comedy Empress” is fine with Eugene, but never ever Comedy Queen. The latter title already belongs to Ai Ai.

Eugene is content acting as foil to Ai Ai in Volta, Ang Cute ng Ina Mo, Ang Tanging Ina and now, the Metro Filmfest entry Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat.

“I don’t want to compare our team-up to Dolphy and Panchito because Panchito is gone,” protests Eugene. Vic (Sotto) and Joey (de Leon) is much better, she concedes.

Like Vic and Joey’s, Ai Ai and Eugene’s chemistry hinges on friendship. As most deep relationships go, this one didn’t come as suddenly as a lightning bolt. It took a couple of movies and TV shows to make it happen.

The results are all over the place. When Ai Ai is hyper, Eugene lies low and vice-versa.

What you see is give-and-take, a push and pull that translates into witty punchlines, rip-roaring scenes.

And the best part is, the chemistry is not just for reel. It’s for real, as real as the ties that bind Ai Ai and Eugene, on and off-cam.

“The glitter and glamor of showbiz will fade,” Eugene observes. “But our friendship will stay.”

But even the closest friends manage to hide secrets from each other. Eugene got the shock of her life when Ai Ai admitted to the press that yes, she got married in Las Vegas in 2002.

They may be birds of the same feather, but her friend’s move is not Eugene’s cup of tea, at least for now.

“I’m too busy to have a love life,” she says.

Eugene has two Channel 5 shows and is brimming with stories about Busan, South Korea, where the Philippine entry, 100, won the KNN Audience Choice Award.

“I wasn’t there just for 100, but for our country,” Eugene proudly says. “You can see that compared to other countries, we are not short on talent.”

What we sorely lack are resources can give any film that Bollywood sheen and look, observes Eugene.

Even so, Eugene has caught the international filmfest bug.

Among her goals is to attend an international filmfest at least once a year. Another is to sustain what she has started: a mainstream film here, an indie project there and TV shows to keep her busy the whole year round.

She harbors no regrets about passing up the role that landed on Ogie Alcasid’s lap for Regal’s filmfest entry, Desperadas 2.

“If it’s not meant to be, that’s okay,” muses Eugene. And I’m glad Ogie got the role. He’s so funny!”

Besides, Eugene wants to prove she can be flexible. She wants to play more non-comedy roles. So she let the Desperadas role pass without regrets.

And because 2008 is a banner year, Eugene is rewarding herself with a well-earned vacation in New York. “I want to get away from it all,” she admits. “I’ve booked a flight before Christmas.”

Eugene is looking forward to working with Star Cinema and director Wenn Deramas of Ang Tanging Ina N'yong Lahat next year.

Director and actress have grown so close Eugene now also regards direk Wenn as a mentor. He’s the latest name on her impressive list of mentors that include Aureaus Solito, Brillante Mendoza, Tony Mabesa, Gloria Romero, Maricel Soriano and Cherry Pie Picache.

Eugene is looking forward to adding more respected names to her list as she dreams of working harder in 2009.

“Having no love life gives me all the time to focus on my career,” she reasons out.

Sure, she gets slight distractions along the way, thanks to the usual intrigues. But Eugene doesn’t let them faze her.

For instance, she shrugs off talks that Pokwang might give Eugene a run for her money.

“I’m happy for Pokwang,” says Eugene. “As a single mom, she deserves all the breaks she’s getting.”

Eugene would rather focus on bigger things, like good roles and proving she can be as good in noncomedy projects as she is in funny girl assignments.

Eugene is not resting on her laurels. 2008 is just a sneak preview of what 2009 will be.And we expect her to give her best not just in making as laugh, but in making us weep as well.

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