“You’re nothing but a second rate, trying hard, copycat!”
Sans the drama and the splashing of wine scene, actress Cherie Gil virtually uttered the famous line as she demanded that the producers of the musical adaptation of the 1985 film “Bituing Walang Ningning” stop using the line that she insists is her intellectual property.
The “Bituing Walang Ningning: The Musical” stars Mark Bautista, Cris Villonco and Monica Cuenco as Dorina Pineda. The musical opened last Wednesday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila.
According to a report posted on the entertainment website Pep.ph, the actress’ lawyer had sent a “cease and desist” letter to Viva Films and Resorts World Manila demanding that they stop using the line which Gil’s character in the film–Lavinia Arguelles–delivered in a confrontation scene with Dorina Pineda, portrayed by then rising star Sharon Cuneta.
“Bituing Walang Ningning” was a story credited to writer Nerissa Cabral that had a strong following among Filipino comics readers in the mid-1980s. Viva Films later adapted the story into film, which bannered Cuneta and Christopher de Leon as lead characters with Gil as the villainess.
The film was r-produced as a television series with the same title with singer Sarah Geronimo portraying Dorina while actress Angelica Panganiban portrayed Lavinia’s role.
Cuneta, now 49 years old, was pregnant with KC Concepcion, her first born with actor Gabby Concepcion when the film was produced.
The movie was released on Valentine’s Day of 1985, and became a box-office success. It paved the way for Cuneta to be crowned as the year’s “Queen of Philippine Movies.”
The moniker “Megastar” was also given to her by the entertainment press during that year because of her continuous success in the box office, according to entertainment writer Baby Gil in a 2006 article in The Philippine Star.
Gil’s lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, told a group of entertainment writers that Gil was insisting that the famous line was her intellectual property. The actress claimed that the line was not in the script handed to her and she delivered the line impromptu.
The Pep.ph report, however, said the film’s director, Emmanuel Borlaza, disputed Gil’s version, saying it was he who came up with the line.
“Kahit ilibing nila ako nang buhay, iyon ang katotohanan [Even if they bury me alive, that is the truth]” Borlaza reportedly said.
According to the 80-year-old Borlaza, he might be old but his memory is still sharp.
The late award-winning scriptwriter Orlando Nadres wrote the screenplay but Borlaza insists that the classic line was originally his.