Triangle of Sorrow Power Player: Dolly de Leon (2023)


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The Palme d'Or-winning class satire revolves around her signature character, but the veteran Filipino actress never thought she'd get the chance to land the role.

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Triangle of Sorrow Power Player: Dolly de Leon (1)

VonCarlos Aguilar

(Video) Triangle of Sadness | Philippine Trailer | Woody Harrelson | Dolly De Leon

This interview contains plot spoilers for "Triangle of Sadness".

LOS ANGELES — With humility but no self-deprecation, actress Dolly de Leon talks about her flawed judgment with a casual lack of passion that belies her sincerity. "I'm really bad at auditions," she admitted.

Despite her judgment, she clearly did well in one of them: At 53, the Filipino veteran of stage, television and film attracted international attention in her native country for her role in the trope-defying class satire.triangle of sadness' in theaters on Friday.

De Leon plays Abigail, a crew member on a luxury liner who has models and legitimate oligarchs on board. After things go wrong, her practical skills are far more valuable than wealth or beauty on what appears to be a deserted island.

The multinational play starring Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson and the late Charlbi Dean,won the grand prize, the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in June. There, Indiewire described De Leon's performance as "brave and sad', while Screen Daily praised her for 'playingcunning and ruthless.“

But when the film's writer-director Ruben Ostlund traveled to the Philippines in 2019 to cast the lead, De Leon couldn't imagine getting the job, in part because of his difficult relationship with auditions. However, Ostlund recalled being impressed by his banter in a romantic scene they tried. His lack of expectations probably played in his favor.


(Video) Dolly De Leon Q&A for ‘Triangle of Sadness’ | SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations

"I'm just an actor who needs the work," de León said. "Whatever the role was, it was just another job for me. But of course I knew I had prestige because it was Ruben", and she had seen his satire of the art world, "The square', which received the Palme d'Or in 2017.

Interested in reversing the power dynamic between the super-rich and those underpaid to serve them, Ostlund found Leon's transformation from sailor to licensed land captain extremely appealing. “In very few scenes you have to believe that she is taking over this group,” he said via video call.

De Leon explained, "I admire Abigail because she took responsibility for making the decisions without asking anyone's approval. If I were in her shoes, I would probably follow people."

Sitting in the conference room of a West Hollywood hotel during a recent interview, De Leon exuded a laid-back energy in a white blouse, sneakers and pale blue jeans while occasionally inhaling a little steam.

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Originally from Manila, she attributed her breakthrough as an actress to an elementary school skit. A teacher asked students to pretend that their mother had died. In this tragic setting, he found a therapeutic outlet for his genuine and long-repressed emotions.

"It was so nice because we weren't allowed to cry at home," she explained. "It was liberating. And after that I was hooked."

As a drama student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, De Leon performed as an extra on television until roles with dramatic substance gradually appeared. "I wasn't picky. I would take any role I was offered," he said. However, the stage, his first love, offered him greater artistic challenges.


(Video) TRIANGLE OF SADNESS - Official Trailer - In Theaters October 7

Over time, cinema became an option as well, as she gained a following as a character actress in projects with top local talent. A director, acclaimed Filipino author Lav Diaz, cast her in his 2019 film,the parade' based solely on its reputation. I hadn't seen any of his performances at that time.

"Here in the Philippines, she's already earned that wave, that status, that level of respect," Díaz said via email about her blind faith in De León. The two would work together again on "his story' (2021), a historical drama about a famous puppeteer.

Unlike Ostlund, which requires between 30 and 70 shots per shot, Díaz only takes one shot per edit, tacitly asking his artists to hyperfocus.

“When I say that I trust an actor, the basic transcripts of that act are responsibility and commitment,” explained Díaz. “A confirmation of this would be the eventual representation of an actor. All I can say is that Dolly is great in 'Ha' and great in 'Triangle of Sadness'."

In Ostlund's scathing comedy, De Leon took it upon himself to honor a character who essentially represents the millions of Filipinos who work abroad to support their families at home.

"For many Filipinos, they are heroes because they bring dollars to our country and boost the economy," he added.

For de Leon, "Triangle of Sadness" is not just about financial inequality, but also about physical attractiveness as currency, illustrated by Abigail's transactional affair with a model (Dickinson). Their trysts were De Leon's first on-screen love scenes.

With Abigail's fishing and fire-making skills making her a leader in this microcosm, De Leon proves that authority can take many forms.

"We often feel so powerless in this world because we are surrounded by beauty, fame and money," she explained. "We forget that no matter how less privileged they are, they still have some power in the world that we can use to our advantage."

However, by placing someone unexpected in a position of power, Ostlund wanted to see if abuse would occur. "There's a chance it could really corrupt her," he said of Abigail.


(Video) The secret of the ending "Triangle of Sadness"

In the film's open ending, Abigail is faced with the dilemma of protecting her status. Ostlund focused on De Leon's face for dozens of takes.

"I could feel that this was the scene Dolly had been charging for throughout production," Ostlund said. “Dolly has a fox behind her ear, as we say in Sweden. That means she's not who you expect."

First, De Leon addressed this moment with a version of Abigail determined to use violence. But ambiguity and doubt finally psychologically enriched the scene.

"We tried a different approach where she's at a crossroads and divided," he said, adding, "It ended up being the best choice as it brought out Abigail's humanity."

As De Leon explores the possibility of collaborating with American and European storytellers, he remembers Dean, who died in August. It was her boyfriend Dean who encouraged her to find a manager to broaden her professional horizons.

"I'm so sorry for her loss while I'm in Los Angeles because she used to live here," said de Leon. "I imagine if she was still with us, she would be sitting next to me for this interview."

The Cannes reception for his performance still surprises De Leon. But even as her children mock her new profile in the West, she maintains a humble demeanor.

"What an amazing feeling to experience something like this so late in life," she said. "I'm not 20 anymore, so this was the perfect time because my head isn't in the clouds. I'm more grounded as a person and as an actor. If I was younger, I'd pretend I'm better than everyone else," he said, with a modest laugh.


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(Video) Triangle of Sadness interview with Ruben Östlund & Dolly De Leon I Talking Film


Where was Carl running at the end of Triangle of Sadness? ›

Abigail knows that as soon as they all get off this island and back to the real world, she's back to being marginalized and mistreated. Just before Abigail can strike, the shot cuts to black. We briefly see Carl running through the jungle, and then the movie ends.

Who is the Filipina actress in Triangle of Sadness? ›

With Oscar buzz around her performance in Ruben Östlund's film, De Leon is already the first Filipina actress to be nominated for a Golden Globe.

Why was Carl running at the end of the Triangle of Sadness? ›

Why Is Carl Running at the End of Triangle of Sadness? The final shot of Triangle of Sadness sees Carl frantically running through the jungle. The most straightforward interpretation of this shot is that Carl desperately tries to reunite with Yaya, whom he has grown apart from during his affair with Abigail.

What is the message in Triangle of Sadness? ›

The message behind Triangle of Sadness is the gaps between the social elite and the hierarchy, and questions a society that puts so much money and power in beauty and morally questionable ways to make a living.

Is Nelson a pirate in Triangle of Sadness? ›

A small group of survivors consisting of Carl, Yaya, Dimitry, Therese, Paula, Jarmo, ship mechanic Nelson (whom Dimitry accuses of being one of the pirates), and cleaning woman Abigail manage to escape to an island.

Is Triangle of Sadness Rated R? ›

Rated R for language and some sexual content.

Who is the first Filipino actress? ›

Today, January 11, marks the birth anniversary of Honorata “Atang” de la Rama, the first Filipina film actress. Born in Pandacan, Manila, Honorata started her acting career as early as 7 years old. At 15, she starred in the sarsuela “Dalagang Bukid”, where she became known for singing the song, “Nabasag na Banga”.

Who is the famous Filipina actress? ›

Kathryn Bernardo

Kathryn is also an award-winning actress. In fact, The only Filipina actress to cross the $800 million milestone for two films, Hello, Love, Goodbye and The Hows of Us (2018). The latter broke all box office records and now holds the title of highest-grossing Filipino film ever.

Who is the beautiful actress in the Philippines? ›

Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Marian Rivera, and Heart Evangelista are just some of the most beautiful Filipino actresses.

What is the German phrase in Triangle of Sadness? ›

There is a German woman who has suffered a stroke, cannot move unaided and can say nothing but the phrase “in der Wolken” – “in the clouds” – which towards the film's end looks as if it might facilitate a nifty plot twist, but doesn't.

What is the theme of triangle movie? ›

TRIANGLE is a story about regret, remorse, and second chances. Jess (Melissa George) is on a sailing trip with friends when they encounter a freak storm that overturns their yacht. Jess and company happen upon what appears to be a derelict ship, adrift in the ocean.

What happens at the end of the movie Triangle of Sadness? ›

Although it is not directly shown, Abigail most probably kills Yaya with the rock and returns to the other survivors. “Triangle of Sadness” ends with a shot of Carl rushing through the forest on the island, and this might suggest that he has gone in search of the two women who have still not returned.

What ship killed Nelson? ›

Nelson was shot by a French sniper during the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. He was struck while pacing the quarterdeck of his ship HMS Victory with Captain Thomas Hardy, at about 1.15pm.

Why does Nelson only have one arm? ›

During the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797, which saw the Royal Navy attempt a failed assault on the Spanish port city in the Canary Islands, Nelson was wounded in the arm. Shot in the right elbow by a musket ball, his humerus bone was shattered in multiple places.

Did Nelson lose an eye? ›

From 1793 until his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 he was involved in battle after battle. He suffered serious injury during these years, losing the sight in his right eye at the Battle of Calvi in Corsica and his right arm at Santa Cruz in Tenerife.

What is the highest rated R? ›

As of February 2022, "The Passion of the Christ" (2004) ranked as the all-time highest-grossing R-rated movie in the United States and Canada.

What is the first R-rated cartoon? ›

The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat (1974)

This 1974 movie was the one that made history, being the first animated film to get an R-rating.

What is worse than R-rated? ›

Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. R: RESTRICTED. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. NC-17: NO ONE 17 AND UNDER ADMITTED.

What female celebrities start with F? ›

Female celebrities with "F" names include Farrah Fawcett, Florence Nightingale, Fergie, Frida Kahlo, Faith Hill, Fiona Apple and Florence Pugh.

Who is the oldest girl in Philippines? ›

THE Philippines has the world's supercentenarian. Her name is Francisca Susano.

Who is the oldest Filipino? ›

Susano, a native of the southern Negros city's Barangay Oringao, has been put in the spotlight in recent years for being the oldest living Filipino, and probably the world's oldest as well. Born in 1897, she turned 124 last Sept. 11, and had 14 children, including her now 101-year-old eldest daughter.

Who is the most famous celebrities in Philippines? ›

As of May 2022, Marian Rivera was the most followed Filipino celebrity on Facebook, with total number of followers at 26.6 million.

Who is the most beautiful girl in Philippines 2022? ›

Catriona Gray. Coming in at first on the list is the most beautiful woman in the Philippines 2022, Catriona Gray, the 2018 Miss Universe. Catriona takes over for South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who held the title in 2017, and she becomes the fourth Filipina to ever wear the pageant.

Who is the most beautiful faces in Philippine showbiz? ›

Filipina celebrities and personalities Ivana Alawi, Liza Soberano, Janine Gutierrez, and Bella Poarch are among “The 100 Most Beautiful Faces of 2021” according to the list published by TC Candler and The Independent Critics.

Who is most beautiful in the world? ›

Top 10 Updated List 2023
  • Jodie Comer. The British actress is ranked at the top in the Most Beautiful Women in the World list. ...
  • Zendaya. The face accuracy of our favorite actress and model is 94.37 percent. ...
  • Bella Hadid. ...
  • Ariana Grande. ...
  • Taylor Swift. ...
  • Jourdan Dunn. ...
  • Kim Kardashian. ...
  • Deepika Padukone.
Feb 4, 2023

Who is the most famous Filipino woman? ›

10 Iconic Filipinas in history to inspire you
  • Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang (March 19, 1731 – September 20, 1763) ...
  • Melchora Aquino (January 6, 1812 – March 2, 1919) ...
  • Pura Villanueva Kalaw (August 27, 1886 – March 21, 1953) ...
  • Francisca Tirona Benitez (June 4, 1886 – November 7, 1974) ...
  • Teresita Reyes (May 11, 1917 – 1998)
Mar 16, 2022

How do you say beautiful ladies in the Philippines? ›


Who is the Filipino mother in sad tropics? ›

Marian Rivera reportedly chosen by Korean Productions to act as Kim Seon Ho's Filipino Mother in the film "Sad Tropical" also, Yeong Jung Hoon will play as Kim Seon Ho's father who abandoned them.

How did Liza Soberano became an actress? ›

When she was 13, she was discovered by a talent scout and introduced to Ogie Diaz, her new talent manager. Her talent manager urged her to learn Filipino so she could land successful television and film projects because she couldn't speak the language at the time.

Where is sad tropics filming? ›

Fans who came to meet the celebrity shouted, “Stay healthy and happy,” while waving hands at their beloved star. Kim Seon Ho arrived in Thailand to shoot the movie – Sad Tropics.”

Who is known as the mother of Philippines? ›

Marcela Agoncillo
Doña Marcela Mariño Agoncillo
Other namesDoña Marcela, Lola Celay
EducationSanta Catalina College
Known forHer legacy as the Mother of the Philippine Flag and principal seamstress of the first and official Philippine flag
6 more rows

Where is sad tropics filmed? ›

After his recent appearance at Incheon International Airport, Kim Seon Ho finished filming Sad Tropics in Thailand.

Is Liza Soberano symmetrical? ›

There is no question to the fact that Liza Soberano is a goddess in the beauty department. Her face is one that a million women would kill for, what with angelic eyes, symmetrical features, a refined nose and lips, luscious locks of hair.

How would you describe Liza Soberano? ›

Hope Elizabeth Hanley Soberano, known professionally as Liza Soberano, is a Filipino-American actress-model-entrepreneur in the Philippines. Famous for her stunning natural beauty, she has been recognized as having The Most Beautiful Face among celebrities around the world.


1. Dolly de Leon on Playing Abigail in 'Triangle of Sadness' | The Awardist | Entertainment Weekly
(Entertainment Weekly)
2. Triangle of sadness #triangleofsadness
(Something Filmy)
3. Triangle of Sadness - Official Trailer
(Madman Films)
4. How ‘Triangle of Sadness’ Turns the Tables of Status | Anatomy of a Scene
(The New York Times)
5. Triangle of Sadness Ending Explained
(Movies Vibes)
6. Headstart: One-on-One with Dolly de Leon | ANC
(ANC 24/7)
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