MANILA, Philippines - Although nothing has been confirmed yet, international thespian Lea Salonga has already given her approval to "American Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez playing the lead character Kim in the long-rumored film adaptation of Broadway and West End hit, "Miss Saigon."
"If she's the one that they've chosen, or she's somebody in serious consideration, then that's a good thing. We all know she's talented, we all know she's actually quite beautiful," Salonga said in a taped interview aired on "24 Oras," July 2.
Salonga portrayed Kim in both the original West End (1989) and Broadway (1991) productions of the play, earning her numerous acting accolades including the prestigious Tony and Laurence Olivier awards. Penned by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, it tells the story of an American GI who abandoned his lover, a Vietnamese bar girl, during the Vietnam War in the '70s.
Sanchez's name is the latest one to crop up in the casting rumors for said role. Recall that last year, an online report raised the possibility of Charice "being groomed" to play the role of Kim. Separate reports have also brought up the names of other half-Pinays, namely "American Idol" Season 10 cast-off Thia Megia and Disney star Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, a granddaughter of "Reyna ng Kundiman" Sylvia La Torre.
Talks of a "Miss Saigon" movie have apparently been cropping up as early as 2009.
As of this writing, the "Miss Saigon" movie page on the New York Times lists the director as Lee Daniels. The website also listed Paula Wagner and the musical's original producer Cameron Mackintosh as the movie producers, and it will be produced by Chestnut Ridge Productions. More, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) listed the film as "in development" and its release year as 2012.
Sanchez's camp, as well as the other stars' respective camps, has yet to speak up about the matter.
In other news, Salonga, like a number of other personalities, believes that it's about time the Comedy King Dolphy gets the prestigious National Artist recognition.
"He's worked on stage, he's worked on film, he's worked on television. And it's not just comedy; he's done some stuff that's been quite serious. So, I mean, given what he's done and how he has contributed to the film industry in this country and everything he's done, certainly he's more than deserving of a National Artist Award," she told "24 Oras."