The well-loved Mexican telenovela heroine Maria Mercedes is set to captivate the hearts of Filipinos once more, this time with a homegrown talent in the lead.
Originally portrayed by Mexican superstar Thalia in the 1990s, the remake, which will air on ABS-CBN come Monday will star the network’s “newest primetime princess,” Jessy Mendiola. The two actresses had met via video chat in August on the current affairs program Tapatan ni Tunying as a surprise birthday gift to the senior soap opera star. Thalia was thrilled when Jessy told her she still has many fans in the Philippines over a decade after her telenovelas swept local television.
Jessy will portray the iconic role of Mercedes opposite leading men Jake Cuenca as Luis and Jason Abalos as Clavio.
“The Pinay Maria Mercedes will surely make Filipinos laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again with her colorful story,” said Jessy. “Viewers will get to relate to the story even more as we highlight true Filipino values especially our unconditional love for our family.”
At the series’ grand press launch at Plaza Ibarra in Quezon City, the svelte and graceful Jessy showed off her sizzling dance moves as Thalia had done in the past, with her buff leading men keeping up with her every step. She also proved that she is gifted with a singing voice with the translated theme song of Maria Mercedes, which famously ends with the words, “Si señor!”
From a simple life in the province, Mercedes, together with her father and siblings, will move to Manila to move on from the pain caused by her mother. But things will not go as planned when her father suddenly dies, leaving Mercedes with no choice but to take on the responsibility of raising her younger brother and sister at her very young age.
As time passes, Mercedes learns to cope with life in the city and provide for siblings Rosario (Devon Seron) and Andres (Yogo Singh) by juggling different but decent jobs alongside childhood friend Clavio (Jason Abalos).
But her world will take a different turn once her heart starts to beat for the handsome and rich businessman Luis Sancuevas (Jake Cuenca).
Also included in the cast of Maria Mercedes are Vina Morales, Dominic Ochoa, Nikki Gil, Vivian Velez, Nadia Montenegro, Atoy Co, Erika Padilla, Marx Topacio, Alex Castro and Isabelle De Leon.
The teleserye is directed by Chito Roño, and is one of ABS-CBN’s offerings in celebration of the 60th year of Philippine television (see related story).
The original Maria Mercedes aired on ABS-CBN in 1996 and it is considered to be one of the most successful telenovelas in Phillipine TV history. The soon-to-air remake is the only localized version endorsed by Thalia herself among other “Thalia-serye” adaptations previously aired locally.
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