Showbiz royalty Vilma Santos plays a financially challenged bit player named Loida. Strangely, but not surprisingly, the film veteran makes an excellent extra. She is snarky with friends but, ironically, is an awkward mess when put in front of the cameras. Santos is so natural that the lines between acting and reality are blurred. It was no shock that she won this year’s Cinemalaya award for best actress.
The film has a star-studded cast consisting of Piolo Pascual, Marian Rivera and Cherie Gil. For once, however, they’re the extras in this movie.
The fun part about Ekstra is that it’s witty and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The “actors” exchange lines oozing with cheese and villainy, complete with telenovela fanfare. The screenplay, a collaboration among Jeturian, Jadaone and Dulay, is smart but accessible.
“Crowd din ako dati,” Loida tells a young extra in a scene. “But look at me now: crowd pa rin.”
Ekstra is Philippine comedy done well. It also sheds a bright light on the difficulties of the “little people” on set. Who says bit players can’t be stars?