By Alwin M. Ignacio

 Because of Everything About Her, the latest film of Bb. Joyce Bernal that starred Vilma Santos and Angel Locsin, good-looking Xian was thrusted into the spotlight once more, and the scrutiny of the general public.


To most showbiz onlookers, Xian Lim is the ultimate eye candy. He is one  Star Magic’s leading men perennially paired with Kim Chiu. He’s like a modern day incarnation of Prince Charming. Tall, dashing. hunky, with a strong jawline screaming like a super model, fashion forward, obviously well educated, cultured and can speak the King’s language with a distinct cosmopolitan timbre.

Oftentimes, Xian is dismissed as just another Star Magic pretty boy. A beefcake even, objectified as mere “mighty flesh” because he seemed to offer nothing, only his live mannequin looks. And when push came to shove, especially in the acting department, people can only see his lackluster performance, devoid of depth and conviction.

Then, he played the character Albert Mitra, the real estate doyenne Vivian’s only begotten son. And moviegoers came in unison, proclaiming that finally, Xian hit the mark. He was not only given the blood and soul to his Mitra character, but a lot of confidence and passion.

In this intimate interview, Xian admitted, “I just can’t believe that people loved my performance. And kahit ako, parang totoo ba ito? I wish it was always like this, it was not excruciating to be Albert, but if this is what I gain, then I won’t mind being challenged all over again.”

“Overwhelmed,” Lim’s only description with regard to the praises he received. “Prior to this, sobra ang criticisms sa akin, there was so much persecution. The reactions were violent na, bakit siya? When we were shooting, ang lagi lang sinasabi sa akin ni direk Joyce, na I have nothing to prove. You know the very core of Albert, we have talked about him. Gawin mo lang yung trabaho mo.”

He added, “What I like about the film was how helpful direk Joyce is to me. We had a meeting and to my surprise, she went ballistic and she said, ‘Bakit ka ganyan? Ano ka ba? Sino ka ba? Ano ba ipinapakita mo sa akin? Parang may wall ka? Pakita mo sa akin ang masama mong ugali mo! Ang layo mo? Pwede ba ipakita mo kung sino ka, eventually maiintindihan ka? Hindi kita maintindihan?’

“That bull session with her was very precious to me because that helped me go to the very core of Albert, that I must play him with a lot of heart. You know, I was coming from a place where nag-se-set ako ng expectations na masyadong mataas.”

“I was always conscious of how people see me, or how should I behave. I over think too much, na-co-conscious tuloy ako, so what happens, I become stiff and too guarded. I am trying to present myself the best way possible, and because of it, I alienate people pala. Na I seem cold and distant. Direk Joyce, sina Ms.Vilma and Angel, taught me to relax, to be always truthful especially in dealing with people and in the roles I do. I feel really happy, yung all the pagod was worth it. Finally, I did something right,” he revealed.

His best scenes in the movie where he received the Roman numeral X (ten): the first time he saw mom Vivian in her office, the telephone talk with his dad inside the car and the hospital scene with Santos.

Xian related, “In all these scenes, always, direk Joyce told me na ‘huwag kang magsisunungaling sa akin, huwag mo akong bu-bull shitin sa eksena kasi gusto ko, totoo lang ang makikita ko. And believed me, when you perform scenes with that kind of level of truth, that you are so emotionally committed to it, nakakapagod, nakaka-drain. I felt so afraid pero kapit lang talaga kay direk Joyce at sa gusto niyang mangyari.

“The scene were I was driving, talking to my dad, totoong vodka yun, talagang pinalagok sa akin, ang init sa lalamunan, I felt so vulnerable. What direk Joyce wanted to see, yung how do I deal with the truth that I just reconciled with my mom and then she is leaving me again because she is afflicted with cancer. She made me feel the pain.”

How about the hospital, how was that experience for you? Xian quickly replied, “When we did the hospital scene, walang rehearsal yun, Hindi na yun pinag-usapan. Direk Joyce just said prior to the take, ‘We have been talking about Albert. You already know him by heart. Ang gusto ko lang yung totoo, I want to see here if we are on the same map.’ Si Ms. Vilma, when she entered the scene, she was in character, diretso siya agad sa bed niya. So when we did the take, grabe yung feeling! Halukay na halukay ang kalooban ko.”

Xian even divulged that after the take, he went straight to a room and locked himself for almost an hour, “Hirap na hirap akong tanggalin si Albert sa sistema ko after that scene. I needed some time to be alone kasi baka magwala ako,” he laughed.

He went on, “Ang dami kong natutunan sa Everything About Her. There is more to it than the script, what the people don’t see, the subtexts, the nuances, the nonverbal communication, all of these are important, and most of all, you play for truth, dapat buong puso talaga.”

“And being part of this film, it’s a career high for me, ” Lim averred. “More than anything, the whole learning process, my co-actors who are so giving, hindi sila selfish, talagang tulong-tulong kami to make everything right. They listen to me, I can ask questions and vice versa, kaya ang sarap-sarap sa pakiramdam.”

“One of the best things I loved about Ms. Vilma is the importnace she gave to the so-called unsung heroes of the film team,” the actor claimed. “She always talk of equality. Lagi niyang sinasabi na oo, we are the actors, na kami yung pinanood at nasa harap ng camera pero yung mga taong nag-aayos sa set, the ones who carries the equipment, the lights, the cameras, they are equally important. She says we should never neglect them and make them feel how important they are.”

After this film, Lim revealed what he wanted to do next. “I’ll pick an action movie, I haven’t done it. I like to do things na hindi pa nakikita ng tao. Gusto ko yung parang Bourne Identity ni Matt Damon.”

How about doing sexy? In the beach scene of All You Need Is Pag-Big, he was so damn hot, half-naked and in board shorts.

“Ninerbiyos ako dun,” Xian guffawed after his statement. “They made me run so the board shorts, bumaba up to my pelvis, it was so low (laugh)! I don’t mind doing sexy, for as long as the material is something na quality talaga. HIndi lang yung basta makapagpa-sexy lang.”

He ended the interview with a sweetest smile and said, “To all the people who believed in me ever since and to those who appreciate what I did in Everything About Her, thank you. I forever grateful. I promised you that I will do my best in my upcoming projects. Please stay happy and healthy. Thank you for all the love. I love all of you, as well.”

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