Movie Feature

Epy Quizon on 'Unlucky Plaza', family, discrimination

By Zaki JufriMovies - 17 April 2015 11:32 AM | Updated 05 May 2015

Epy Quizon on 'Unlucky Plaza', family, discrimination

Epy Quizon is homesick.

“I miss my daughter Eleana,” he told inSing Movies, “She keeps texting me the whole time I’m here and I just can’t wait to get home.” 

Somehow, the 42-year-old actor, born Jeffrey Quizon is similar to his on-screen persona, Onassis Hernandez, the frantic Lucky Plaza restaurant owner down on his luck in ‘Unlucky Plaza’.

And he agreed: “Both of us will do anything for our family.”

“But I won’t hold people hostage, of course.”

The 42-year-old actor looks visibly tired from touring around Singapore to promote his new movie. Fans at Lucky Plaza mobbed him when he made his rounds on 12 April and then some more when he performed with Singapore funk rock band Ugly In The Morning at Hood Bar.

“This is why I love my job,” he enthused.

Premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and the opening film of the 2014 Singapore International Film Festival, ‘Unlucky Plaza’ follows the exploits of a single dad who is driven to desperation. So hopeless is his situation that he eventually holds several people hostage.

The movie is an invigorating dark comedy that audaciously tackles some hot button “glocal” issues like xenophobia, greed, discrimination and it even mocks the hypocrisy of religious figures. 

As Onassis, Quizon flawlessly glides between laugh-out-loud moments and fervent drama.

“Epy is a very intense and talented actor. His acting comes from the gut and very instinctive,” said director Ken Kwek.

inSing Movies caught up with Epy to talk more about the film.

‘Unlucky Lucky’ has had overwhelming response since its premiere in 2014. Did you expect such a reaction when you took this project on?

I don’t expect anything when I do a film. But it’s always nice to be recognised for the things that you’ve done – whether its applause from the audience or fans coming up to congratulate me.

The Filipinos here loved the film even though they’re used to watching Filipino movies in Tagalog. Some told me that they identified with the story and characters.

Shane Mardjuki (left) and Epy Quizon | Photo: Kaya Toast Pictures

When you first read the script what was it about the movie that made you say this is something I really want to do?

I called Ken right after reading through the first five pages of the script. I told him that I’m sold and all in. Ken somehow perfectly summarised the plot and motivations of the lead characters through those pages.

MORE: Ken Kwek's 'Unlucky Plaza' a study in human weakness

I realise that the movie will be an actor’s playground as Ken has written the characters so impeccably that we have room to experiment and explore.

I told Ken that that I’m trying a different approach with Onassis and this movie. Using the script just as guide, I improvised and reacted spontaneously in the movie. I wanted my character to progress through the movie as truthfully and naturally as possible.

Where does Onassis come from in you? Is it something you reach for, is it something you've built from prior experience...

I know that playing this character will be a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I had a violent past; I used to carry a gun in the Philippines, but not anymore of course. And I’ve been in several fistfights as a young man. I brought that part of me back for the film.

The most challenging part of playing the character is finding the right balance between being funny and being angry.

What do you think makes this film about greed, desperation, xenophobia, identity, and moral transgression so fresh and compelling?

The things that happen in the film could happen to anyone. Yes, we might have exaggerated a bit but the themes and ideas are very real. 

What are your thoughts about some of themes discussed in the movie? 

These are issues that have been swept under the carpet. Xenophobia and discrimination are real issues that happens everyday and what better way to talk about it through the medium of film.

I hope that people will talk or reflect about these issues more after they leave the cinema.

‘Unlucky Plaza’ opens in cinemas 16 April

Movie Photos

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Unlucky Plaza
  • Unlucky Plaza

    (2015)
  • Rated
    M18 /
    Genre
    Action, Drama
  • Language
    Mand
  • (1 Review)