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Angelica Panganiban On Her *Flawed* Character In 'Hayop Ka:' 'Natuto siya sa mahirap na paraan'

Nimfa is Angelica's first role as a voice actor!
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Courtesy of Netflix, Instagram/iamangelicap
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It may be an animated film, but Netflix's Hayop Ka: The Nimfa Dimaano Story is *definitely* not for the younger audience! This ~adult~ movie tells the story of a saleslady named Nimfa Angelica Panganiban who is living with her macho janitor boyfriend Roger (Robin Padilla). Roger loves her, but life isn't exactly sunshine and rainbows for them, and Nimfa finds herself wanting something...more. When rich playboy Iñigo (Sam Milby) enters the picture and introduces her to a *better* life, Nimfa is faced with a tough decision.

ICYMI, the movie, which took more than three years to make, is the first Filipino animated film on Netflix! Cosmopolitan Philippines got to talk to leading lady Angelica Panganiban and Hayop Ka director Avid Liongoren (who also created Saving Sally, BTW) about how Hayop Ka started, their favorite celebrity cameos in the film, and the future of animation in the Philippines. 

hayop ka movie on netflix
Nimfa Dimaano, the film's leading lady Courtesy Of Netflix
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On the inspiration for the Hayop Ka world: 

Direk Avid: Simple lang siya, kasi noong genesis ng film, stuck lang kami sa traffic and we got bored listening to music, so we tuned in to this radio drama. Tawa lang kami nang tawa doon sa tropes ng radio drama at saka alam mo kung paano mag-boses yung mga tao sa radio drama...iba yung language niya, iba ang teleserye and radio drama language sa gamit natin normally. By the time narinig namin sa radio drama yung ubiquitous line "Hayop ka," parang [naisip namin] paano kaya kung mga hayop talaga sila, ano? So doon nagsimula yung concept ng pelikula

Aside from the radio dramas, next na inspirasyon ng pelikula ay yung midnight DJ [shows] na tatawag ka na may [love] problem ka. Usually, may babae or lalaki na tatawag na magku-kuwento ng problema niya tapos papagalitan siya ng DJ. Pero habang pinapagalitan siya, mayroon namang legitimate advice, may real talk. At kung medyo lumang tao ka, noong '90s kasi uso yung ganyan na title: The Flor Contemplacion Story, The Delia Maga Story, it's an inside joke, yung very Carlo J. Caparas 'yon na klase ng title. 

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hayop ka movie on netflix
Nimfa makes a call to her family in 'Hayop Ka' Courtesy Of Netflix

On the challenges of voice acting: 

Angelica: With acting, ever since iyon na talaga yung ginagawa ko. So parang kumpleto 'di ba, 'pag nasa harap ka ng camera, package deal, lahat gagana. Sa voice [acting], boses mo lang yung naririnig, parang 'yon lang yung chance mo para ma-express kung ano talaga yung nararamdaman ng character, walang mata. So parang doble yung trabahong ginagawa ko and pag-uwi ko talaga ng bahay parang may realization na: "Sh*t ang hirap noon ha!" Yung parang kung hindi aircon yung lugar siguro pawis na pawis ako doon sa hard work na pinasok ko. Pero siyempre fun, masayang experience. Siguro kung drama na animation baka 'yon yung sobrang draining, pero dahil masaya naman yung project talaga, medyo comedy siya, in a way, puwede mo pang paglaruan. Naging maganda yung balance habang tinatrabaho namin, hindi naman lahat binuhos nila na mabibigat na eksena in one day. Hati-hati naman siyaMay hinga moments naman

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Nimfa and Iñigo in 'Hayop Ka' Courtesy Of Netflix
hayop ka movie on netflix
Nimfa and Roger in 'Hayop Ka' Courtesy Of Netflix
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On their favorite cameos from the film: 

Direk Avid: Ako, si Yeng Constantino, kasi I've done many Yeng videos. I did her very first video and parang sa akin niya unang sinabi na "gusto ko mag-pelikula." But I never got to direct her sa narrative, so it was nice to work with her under these conditions. I did a lot of Yeng videos, then hindi na kami nakapagkita after a long period of time, then we worked on this. It was nice to see an old friend. 

Angelica: Ako, yung kay Direk Joyce Bernal. Yung sa ospital siguro, yung doktor. Kahit noong ginagawa namin 'yon, medyo natagalan kami kasi tawa lang kami nang tawang dalawa. At saka pag nagsalita siya, alam na alam mo talaga na si Direk Joyce, kuhang-kuha mo agad yung boses

On why Nimfa could never remember Jerry's name in the movie: 

Angelica: Siguro kasi yung character niya, hindi niya papansinin kasi parang ka-level lang niya or baka nga mas mababa sa level niya [si Jerry]. And yung goal niya kasi talagang yumaman, ma-achieve niya yung character ni Sam Milby. Kaya rin siguro ganoon, mapag-mata siya, and at the end, sinong mag-aakala na [si Jerry] pa pala yung magiging nandoon para sa kanya. Yung mga taong hindi natin pinapansin, usually sila pa yung nagsi-stick with us hanggang sa dulo

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On Direk Avid's hope for Philippine animation:  

Avid: That more animated films are created, na ma-encourage ang ibang studios to get into this. Lalo na it's the pandemic, so parang mas mahirap ngayon mag-mount ng live-action, and animation is something that could actually move forward in this setting. I just hope na more people get into this so that there's more work for our local animators. 

On what viewers can learn from Hayop Ka

Angelica: Maging sincere ka sa nararamdaman mo, kasi may mga taong nawawala sa atin dahil iba yung focus natin. Iba yung mga goals natin sa goals nila. Why not grow together 'di ba? I-push mo rin yung partner mo na maghangad rin ng medyo mas maayos naman na buhay. Pero hindi mo rin naman masisisi kasi nga may kanya-kanya tayong desires. So 'pag naramdaman mo naman na baka nga hindi talaga para sa'yo e hindi talaga para sa'yo

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Nimfa *thinking about life* in 'Hayop Ka' Courtesy Of Netflix

Yung maganda rin naman sa movie, hindi siya [Nimfa] perpekto, maraming flaws yung character niya. Pero at the end natuto siya sa mahirap na paraan at sana doon pa lang, kabahan na yung mga may planong mangloko ng mga tao. Na-enjoy ko siya gawin at panoorin kasi 'yon nga hindi siya perpekto. May mga nakakapanghinayang [na moments], maiinis ka sa kanya, yung "ikaw kasi, bakit hindi mo inayos, bakit ito yung ginawa mo?"

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Be ready, na alam mo may karma 'yan, may kapalit lahat ng ginagawa nating mali sa mundo'yon siguro yung magandang message doon.

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Hayop Ka is currently available for streaming on Netflix. 

*Answers have been edited for clarity. 

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