The week that was in Philippine showbiz saw the rise of fresh pairings for television and the movies. They were welcomed positively by entertainment critics who have long frowned on “formula casting” for these two actor’s mediums. That is, basically throwing together two real life couples (current, former or in between) to supposedly guarantee a killing at the ratings or the box office.
As of late, with stiff competition from foreign series and films, and more importantly, the evolving maturity of the Filipino audience, the magic of formula casting seems to have vanished, opening the glittering gates of show business to a happy rigodon.
GMA Network’s ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’
It has been two teleseryes ago since GMA Network’s prized leading man Dingdong Dantes was paired with his lady love Marian Rivera for prime time (My Beloved, 2012). While his last two projects, Pahiram ng Sandali (2012) and Genesis (2013), merely drew in decent ratings, it seems Dingdong’s mother studio is still hoping that a whole new acting vehicle and leading lady, besides his real life girlfriend, will help him reclaim his former glory as “Prime Time King” across all networks.
Dingdong is in the thick of taking on a new acting challenge in GMA Network’s upcoming teleserye, Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real. Obviously the “bad guy” from the intriguing title, Dingdong plays the role of Anthony Real who marries two women in secret.
Admitting that the character is a huge jump from his usual “good guy/savior” roles for TV, the dramatic actor told The Manila Times that he very excited to tackle a bold and risqué theme at this point in his career.
“Medyo malayo siya sa previous roles ko but gusto ko siyang pasukin so that as an actor, I can level up my skills in terms of difficulty or complex acting,” Dingdong related. “Siguro, magugulat ang ibang fans kung sino ako dito but when they appreciate the entire story, they will hit that grey area where they would come to understand why my character did what he did.”
He also told The Manila Times that he is happy to be paired with Lovi Poe as one of the Mrs. Reals (the other being Diamond Star Maricel Soriano), whom he had worked with in the highly successful Titktik—The Aswang Chronicles (2012), as both co-actor and producer.
“We’ve worked together only once but we established a good relationship in that movie, and kahit paapano, may advantage na makasama mo ang isang artista na kampante ka nang makatrabhao, lalo na sa proyektong medyo controversial tulad nito.”
Lovi, for her part, also acknowledges a whole new acting challenge for her role as Sheila Real, an adventurous and strong-willed woman, who eventually realizes her vulnerability as a woman who is deeply hurt by love.
“My character here as Shiela has a strong personality and is a bit boyish. Kasi in my last teleserye (Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas), medyo weak yung character ko, at naging strong na lang siya towards the end.
“It’s also so different from who I am,” she added. “I’m never one to be vocal about my feelings for another person.”
Dingdong, in re-joining the conversation made it a point to note, “The show by the way is not just a typical story of infidelity or unfaithfulness; it’s really about the story of three people who love in different forms, in different intensity levels, and it is also a story about families and how they cope with mistakes and consequences.”
Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real begins airing on June 2 on GMA Network’s Telebabad block.
Star Cinema’s ‘Maybe This Time’
While Coco Martin’s every foray into prime time is a certified hit, his winning pull at the ratings does not seem to translate to box office returns. Even his last full length movie with erstwhile love interest Julia Montes, A Moment In Time (2013), did not meet expectations despite the huge following of the Coco-Julia tandem.
Come May 27, Star Cinema hopes their golden boy for TV will end his lukewarm streak in the movies, what with his fresh pairing with Box Office Queen Sarah Geronimo. The Pop Princess, who is very much blooming these days, in contrast, has raked in millions upon millions with every movie she makes for ABS-CBN’s movie-making outfit.
A co-production with Viva Films, Maybe This Time is touted to be “the biggest romantic film of the season.” With a fresh, bright and glossy trailer that shows Coco in his “boy next door” element, with a slightly more aggressive Sarah, maybe this time, as the title goes, Coco will finally win his blockbuster hit.
Directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and written by Anton Santamaria and Melai Monge, Maybe This Time is a love story centered on Steph (Sarah) and Tonio (Coco), polar opposites who fell in love with each other.
Circumstances beyond their control eventually lead to a breakup, until they meet again in after so many years to confront an unfinished business.
After leaving Steph, Tonio becomes involved with an unlikely girlfriend in the person of Monica (Ruffa Guttierez) who happens to be Steph’s boss. Monica instructs Steph to transform and reinvent Tonio to her kind of man, which opens an opportunity for them to fall in love again.
“Mukhang rom-com ulit ito but I hope makita ng mga tao ang pag-mature ko bilang artista sa role ni Steph, lalo na’t ang ka-eksena ko ay si Coco na alam naman nating lahat ay isang thinking actor,” Sarah said on Thursday night at the movie’s grand press conference at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater.
Coco, who has earned the respect of his fellow ABS-CBN talents for his critically acclaimed performances on prime time, guaranteed that Sarah will show a different side to her acting in the movie, especially in several confrontation scenes between the two of them.
“Napaka-saya ko po at napaka-suwerte na makatrabaho ang isang Sarah Geronimo,” he added. “And excited po ako sa pelikulang ito dahil dati, lagi po akong nag-pre-presenta ng idea sa Star Cinema for a movie, pero dito pinagkatiwala ko po ng buong-buo ang sarili ko sa kanila. Sana po magustuhan po siya ng mga tao.”
Coco will know soon enough.
Maybe This Time opens on May 27.