From Best Child Actress to Best Supporting Actress at the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival, Ella Cruz has blossomed in her craft.

The actress traded her usual lively and sweet character to the feisty Agnes in the coming-of-age movie “Edward.”

“’Edward’ is a story about a boy stuck in the hospital because his dad has been confined for a long time. He feels bored so he roams the hospital to do errands for a fee. Our characters meet. He doesn’t have an emotional attachment to his dad, while I don’t have my family anymore. So, I build a bond with him,” she said in an interview.

Her character is far different from her real personality.

“I easily get attached to people. I want everyone around me to be happy. Others aren’t showy of their emotions, but I am,” she said.

Set in a public hospital, the movie shows the poor state of the health care system and the struggles patients and their families go through. Ella didn’t have second thoughts accepting the role after reading the script and asked her parents for approval.

ella2 - Ella Cruz still on cloud nine over Cinemalaya win


“When it’s not okay with mom, the more it wouldn’t be okay with my dad. So, I always ask my mom first. When I read the ending of the script, I was crying. Sabi ko, ‘Ma, kailangan ko talaga itong tanggapin.’ Kasi grabe yung ending,” she said.

Ella finds her role as Agnes quite challenging because it is hard for her to curse in front of the camera.

“Of course, I don’t want my younger audiences to see me cursing because they might follow me. There were many people around and I wasn’t comfortable saying it. But, of course, it’s what the movie required and how the character is built ,” she said.

Agnes is a female patient, who became the love interest of Edward (played by Louise Abuel) . The two actors reunited in the movie after starring on ABS-CBN’s teleserye “Aryana” several years ago.

“Parang baby-baby pa siya noon sa ‘Aryana,’ so nung sa ‘Edward,’ parang awkward na kami. Lumaki na siya. So sa mga scenes na awkward kami, awkward talaga kami. Hindi ko na siya malambing katulad ng dati. Ever since he was a kid, he has always been a good actor. He also always acts alongside Coco Martin,” she said.

The 22-year-old actress had a kissing scene with Louise, who is seven years younger than her. As it was a first for Louise, Ella suggested to show the raw and real reaction of Louise.

“Sabi ko,’Direk, i-shoot natin yung raw reaction ni Louise kasi first kiss niya eh. Kuhaan natin ng tight shot para makita natin reaction talaga ni Louise.’ So, yung kiss, totoo talaga siya pero inalalayan ko naman siya,” she said.

Ella wasn’t able to attend the awards night. She just found out about her victory on social media after the opening of her milk tea shop in Bulacan that day.

“I have a habit of searching my name on Twitter then I saw ‘Ella Cruz Best Supporting Actress.’ I thought it was just a verdict until I saw a tweet of direk Thop Nazareno receiving the award. I’m just very grateful to them. Ang sarap sa feeling kasi I wasn’t really expecting it,” she said.

Following her win, Ella remains busy with her showbiz commitments, including a new movie under Viva. She stays grounded and is open for any acting projects.

“I also hear more career moves. I have also finished two series under Cignal Cable. I’m also still part of ‘Ang Probinsiyano.’ Ang dami po talagang viewers ng ‘Ang Probinsiyano.’ I’m okay to having a love team and I’m okay also being independent. Kung saan po meron, kung ano pong meron, go lang po ako,” Ella said.

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