On Sunday afternoon we had drinks and a fascinating chat with our favorite cinematic supervillain Celia Rodriguez, the definitive Valentina, Darna’s snake-haired nemesis. We’d post the podcast right now, but we have to review the recording carefully lest we get sued by the people we talked about haha. Here’s an excerpt.
Us: How was Valentina’s snake hair done in the era before digital effects?
Celia Rodriguez: Those snakes are igat, water snakes, delicacies in Bulacan. Elwood said, “I don’t want anything artificial.” I said, “Fine, as long as they don’t bite me.” They’re slimy and smelly, and they don’t thrive anywhere except in water. They put prosthetics on me so that I would look kalbo. Cecile Baun was one of the greatest when it comes to mga ganyan.
Can you imagine going 24 hours without any air on your scalp? Kaya minumura ko yang si Elwood, “!@#$%^ ka! Ang sakit na ng ulo ko!” When you puncture (the prosthetic), it shrivels. Then they put artificial snakes. Pag long shot, puede. Pag close-up, yung igat, tinatali nila sa artificial snakes. Remember, the igat doesn’t like light. And especially ashes. When the light and ashes hit them, they start writhing.
I was playing a model from New Delhi, so nakakulot ang pilik-mata ko. Pag nagsasalita ako in Hindu, gumagalaw ang mga igat, napupunta sa pilik-mata ko, pumapasok sa tenga ko. Sabi ni Elwood, “Good, good, don’t say anything. Cut! Perfect!” “Ay *&^%$#@ niyo, alis! Alis!” Isang batya, puro igat.
Our podcast with Celia Rodriguez is coming up midweek.