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Nora, Vilma hope to act together again in a film

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JUST A THOUGHT: ‘The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.’ –Lucille Ball

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NORA AND VILMA TOGETHER AT LAST: Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos smiling together on the same stage, holding hands, caught in a warm embrace, in the same frame, provided the most striking image in local entertainment last weekend. The two film veterans were jointly presented the Ginintuang Bituin Ng Pelikulang Pilipino award by the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

Nora Aunor (left) and Vilma Santos (Photo by Erickson dela Cruz)

Nora Aunor (left) and Vilma Santos (Photo by Erickson dela Cruz)

Nora and Vilma also tied as Best Actress of 2016 for their work in “Kabisera” and “Everything About Her,” respectively.

It took the PMPC, handmaiden of the Star Awards, to put together in a rare casting coup, the two film icons, the fiercest rivals in the 1970s. Nora and Vilma were the movie queens of the era, adored by troops of loyal fans, who never left them to this day.

At the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila where the 33rd Star Awards was held, the fans of the two great actresses wasted no time cheering their idols. Happily, it was a far cry from the once near-violent competition that marred previous encounters between Noranians and Vilmanians.

Like their idols, they, too have grown up and matured. Nora is 64. Vilma is turning 64 on Nov. 3.

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INCENDIARY, LEGENDARY STARS: Through the years, Nora and Vilma have remained major stars in an industry that welcomes newcomers every day.

Their twin careers have seen the passing of seasons, changing of guards, coming and going of film trends, stars and starlets. Yet, they have remained incendiary, illustrious, and legendary through it all. Despite occasional absences from the movies, they have never ceased becoming newsmakers, providing an irresistible magnet to media.

How did they do it? The twin careers of the two universal stars offer some lessons in longevity unmatched by other stars.

While it may be said their professional rivalry helped propel their careers to unprecedented heights, greater premium must be placed on how Nora and Vilma sharpened their skills, honed their craft to perfection. As they stepped out of their teen years, they shed the bubble gum status of so-called “young stars” and immersed themselves in mature roles that defined their personas and challenged their range.

The rivalry between them fueled further the interest of their fans, which was good for the box office.

These days, rivalries between actors and actresses are no longer spoken in the same breath. Perhaps, in this age of TV and the Internet, the idea has gone out of fashion. Stars are a dime a dozen nowadays.

It wasn’t so in the ’70s and ’80s when movies and movie stars were lords of the ring. Rivalries between actresses like Nora and Vilma (and before them between Susan Roces and Amalia Fuentes, Gloria Romero, and Nida Blanca) were gauged by the success of their films at the box office.

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DIRECTOR NORA: Now comes news that Nora is directing not one but two films. One tackles an LGBT theme, another is about a major disaster that strikes a community.

The superstar tried directing a film called “The Greatest Performance Of My Life” in 1989. The film never got completed.

Aside from herself, the musical drama had scenes featuring Tirso Cruz III, Julio Diaz and Michael de Mesa. It might be a good idea to retrieve some footage of that film as a run-up to Nora’s directorial comeback.

Nora has been re-nominated as National Artist, an award deprived her by the Aquino administration. The local artistic community believes the veteran actress, who this year celebrates her 50th anniversary in show business, has long been deserving of such recognition.

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PRODUCER VILMA: Vilma herself is a worthy National Artist material. She has an entire body of work that spans more than 50 years as an actress.

In our last interview, Vilma, who is now a congresswoman (Lipa), stated that she intends to continue working as an actress when she retires from public service. She repeatedly said she isn’t interested in any higher office, such as the vice-presidency which was once offered to her.

“I want to produce good films,” she said. She ruled out directing movies. Too stressful, she said. Vilma has gone on to improve her record as an actress by transforming into an exemplary mayor, governor and now lawmaker.

One genre she hasn’t tried is the teleserye. She’s interested in that one, too, when the right time comes.

Vilma and Nora offered an exciting sound bite at the Star Awards. They both said they’d love to act in a film together again should a good material come their way. Bright-minded filmmakers, take note.

The two superstars co-starred in film classics as “Ikaw Ay Akin,” “T-Bird At Ako” and “Young Love.”

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