Prepare to see a whole new Maine Mendoza as she headlines “Prinsesa,” one of the six episodes for this year’s Eat Bulaga Lenten special.
In “Prinsesa,” Mendoza plays Mayang, a professional pickpocket who fosters an unlikely friendship with a child who will teach her the value of family and forgiveness.
Joining her in “Prinsesa” are Wally Bayola, Ryzza Mae Dizon, Anjo Yllana, and Trops stars Tommy Peñaflor and Joel Palencia.
“Snatcher ako. Prinsesa ng lansangan ba kung tawagin. Tapos, hindi ko kasi nakasama yung pamilya ko dito kaya lumaki ako na ganun yung ginagawa kong trabaho,” Mendoza said of her role.
The role is both a challenge and a privilege for the young actress. Renowned for her comedic timing, the Eat Bulaga co-host usually plays cheerful and optimistic roles — in short, characters not far from the real-life Maine Mendoza.
But for the Eat Bulaga Lenten special, her role requires her to dig deep, acting-wise.
“Isa ito sa mga kakaibang characters na nagawa ko, ever. Si Mayang kasi, very serious. Seryoso siyang tao. Medyo siga. So nahirapan din ako na mag-adjust sa ganung character,” she said.
Nevertheless, Mendoza is no stranger to acting. Despite making her mark in show business as an Eat Bulaga mainstay, the 22-year-old TV host has displayed her acting chops in projects such as the 2016 hit movie Imagine You and Me, and the 2015 blockbuster hit My Bebe Love. She is also used to doing dramatic scenes thanks to her ongoing GMA primetime soap opera Destined To Be Yours.
But Mendoza said her role as Mayang is perhaps her most difficult — and most interesting — yet.
“Yung persona ko as Maine Mendoza, malayo sa character ko. Kasi si Mayang, galit lagi sa mundo. Meron din naman siyang sympathy sa tao, kailangan lang kunin yung kiliti sa puso. Doon lang kami nagkakapareho ni Mayang,” she said.
Mendoza continued, “Most of my roles are happy lang na babae na optimist. Alam naman ng mga tao na most of my roles ay medyo happy-happy lang. Pabebe. Pero dito, iba ako. Parang mas kailangan dito ng acting since hindi naman ako ganun talaga as a person.”
Indeed, Mendoza is really making her mark in show business as a versatile actress. But she is not letting the praise and the laurels [she has won a Best Supporting Actress award in the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival]get to her head.
“Admittedly, hindi pa ako talaga adjusted sa acting life,” she said. “Nahihirapan pa rin ako, kailangan ko pa rin ng tulong ng acting coach and directors. May adjustments pa rin, naiilang pa rin ako kapag umaarte. But I just let it flow. Ang ginagawa ko talaga is I focus sa work ko and sa script. I really take it seriously para maka-deliver ako ng maayos in terms of acting.”
“Prinsesa,” directed by Mike Tuviera will air on Tuesday, April 11. It is among the stories to be featured in this year’s Eat Bulaga Lenten special. This yearly Eat Bulaga tradition has been airing during Holy Week since 1981. Many year’s special is perhaps its most star-studded edition yet.
Alden Richards and Ryan Agoncillo, meanwhile, star in “Kapatid,” a tale of two brothers who learn to look after each other despite their differences. Also starring in the episode are Ruby Rodriguez, Pia Guanio, and Jerald Napoles. It is directed by Joyce Bernal.
In Jose Javier Reyes’ “Inay,” Paolo Ballesteros and Ai-Ai delas Alas play a mother and son who “raise” each other by recognizing their sacrifices and accepting their differences.
Lorna Tolentino headlines “Pagpapatawad,” a story of a broken family’s newfound chance to reconcile and start anew by learning from the mistakes of the past to help them face the future. Gina Alajar directs the episode, which also stars Kenneth Medrano and Taki of the teen-oriented show Trops, child sensation Baste, and Patricia Tumulak.
Jake Ejercito returns to Eat Bulaga via “Mansyon,” starring Jose Manalo, Tito Sotto, Barbie Forteza, Trops’ Kim Last, Miggy Tolentino, and Jon Timmons. “Mansyon,” directed by Linnet Zurbano, revolves around a family who finds a home in each other as they build on their dreams and try to overcome obstacles that threaten to drift them apart.
Finally, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon star in “Kaibigan,” a heart-warming tale of two friends who face circumstances that elevate their bond from friendship to family. Directed by Joel Lamangan, the episode also stars Bianca Umali and Kim Rodriguez.
“Siyempre 1980s pa sinimulan ng Eat Bulaga ito, kumbaga naging tradisyon na ng mga Pilipino na kapag Holy Week, bukod sa panata, mapapanuod mo Eat Bulaga yung mga host na makukulit na nagda-drama. Nakakatuwa na pinapagpatuloy namin yung tradisyon ng mga Pinoy,” Paolo Ballesteros said.
Eat Bulaga’s Lenten special 2017 will air on GMA Network beginning today until Holy Wednesday on April 12.