Sharon Cuneta, who's currently in the U.S., is in higher spirits again after a period which she says left her "depressed" and "heartbroken."
On May 29, Saturday, the actress made some big revelations while going live on Instagram with her husband, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.
Sharon was actually supposed to be a part of the very first all-Filipino Hollywood production backed by no less than Steven Spielberg himself. The movie, which would be about the life of Filipino-American stand-up comedian Jo Koy, would be produced by American film producer Dan Lin, who worked on the 2019 musical fantasy remake of Aladdin.
"My big surprise was that I was coming to Hollywood to do my first Hollywood film."
Sharon said it was Jo Koy who personally chose her to play the role of his Tita Theresa, one of the only two lead female roles in the film.
"Now, Jo Koy was the one who handpicked me to be in his movie. He suggested to the producers that this—pinag-usapan ako, kuwinento niya 'ko, and then I had several Zoom meetings already with the casting directors, the director, our director Jay, later on with Joe (Jo Koy)."
Sharon was supposed to fly out to L.A. on May 18, Tuesday, and travel to Canada for the filming of the movie. In accordance with strict health protocols, Sharon needed to test negative for COVID-19 before flying. The production was working on a fixed schedule since Jo Koy would apparently need to go on a "very long and very big tour" to promote the film.
"Kailangan matapos yung movie in time which was supposed to be [by the] end of June. Ang nangyari po sa akin is they swabbed me—dapat kasi kung sasakay ka ng eroplano before leaving the Philippines—and I could leave, kasi I am a U.S. immigrant, I am a legal resident here."
Right after a Zoom meeting with the movie's travel coordinator on May 17, Monday, Sharon received a call from her assistant, telling her she had tested *positive* for COVID.
"I was so happy, naka-pack na kami, we were ready to leave the next day, and I was going to announce to you the very next day."
"Natural, nasabi ko agad sa manager ko. It was a big problem because everyone was ready. They couldn't afford any delays, so naturally, it was heartwrenching and heartbreaking for me. I literally—nanlambot ako na para akong natunaw."
What made matters even more gut-wrenching was that Sharon immediately got tested a total of seven more times after the initial "positive" test result, and she tested negative for all of these. She says she still cannot find it in her heart to forgive that first testing laboratory up to this day.
"Hindi ba naman heartbreaking 'yon? That's why I was depressed."
"So when I am depressed over something, or nawalan ako ng kaibigan or nawalan ako ng napakalaking oportunidad na hindi na maibabalik sa akin, kahit gusto nila Jo Koy at ng direktor ko na nandoon pa rin ako, wala silang choice kundi ituloy yung movie."
Sharon said her role was given to Filipina-American actress Tia Carrere, who was the voice behind Lilo's older sister in the Disney animated movie Lilo & Stitch. Tia is also best known for being a regular on the U.S. daytime soap General Hospital and for her appearances in the feature film Wayne's World.
"It broke my heart, it really did. 'Cause it was such an honor to be In the very first All-Filipino production in Hollywood backed by a producer as big as Steven Spielberg. And up to now, when I think about it—ayan, medyo pinipigil ko yung luha ko—hindi lang para sa 'kin, I felt, dala-dala naming lahat yung bandila ng Pilipinas, na parang in the middle of this Asian hate in America and some parts of the world, we were so proud that there was a—Mr. Spielberg was backing this movie of Filipinos. And it breaks my heart because I love Jo Koy."
Sharon says she left for the U.S. because she needed to recover from the missed opportunity.
"Sabi ko talaga, I need to come, I need to go to America and just leave the country and also make myself productive here. So I licked my wounds here."
Thankfully, Sharon's been keeping herself by attending as many auditions as she can.
"The good news is my manager hasn't stopped. I have Zoom meetings left and right, auditions left and right. That's why I'm here because now people here know I am accessible and I am available. Don't worry because I still have commitments at home."
"There [are] so many other things I'm doing. I'm confused now. I'm happy that she's keeping me busy, my manager."